French-speaking Switzerland: The letter sent by the cities to Santa Claus

A petition launched by trustees, mayors and town presidents wants to educate people to buy local, rather than doing their end-of-year purchases online.

Several mayors and trustees are calling for buying local for end-of-year gifts.


French-speaking towns are launching a campaign to support local commerce in the face of multinational online sales. Their petition, launched by the City of Lausanne, has already been signed by around thirty trustees or mayors. Entitled “Christmas in the city rather than online”, this approach was inspired by the operation in France “Christmas without Amazon”, explains Thursday Grégoire Junod, trustee of Lausanne.

The Socialist appears in a list which mainly includes Vaudois trustees, but also mayors or presidents of municipalities from other cantons such as Sami Kanaan for Geneva, Philippe Varone for Sion or Erich Fehr for Bienne. “This call responds to major challenges: defending local commerce and its jobs as well as maintaining the vitality of city centers”, notes Grégoire Junod. The petition comes in the wake of other operations aimed at the same goal, such as vouchers given to the population in certain cities to buy local, continues the trustee of Lausanne.

Written in the form of a letter to Santa Claus, the petition also mentions the ecological impact of purchases at Amazon and other Zalando. “The model of the giants of the web and e-commerce is social and ecological nonsense, destroying our jobs and our planet,” it is written.

No other means than to educate people

Grégoire Junod hopes that the petition launched on Thursday will be signed by the greatest possible number of citizens and that it will allow “awareness” among the population. He recognizes that cities have no other means than raising awareness to fight against web giants.

“The fiscal measures against these actors or in terms of data protection go far beyond the competences of the municipalities”, he notes.

Asked about another practice that preterites small businesses, Black Friday, Grégoire Junod recognizes that this operation especially favors “big players”. However, he warns against a possible “stigmatization” of certain consumers who, thanks to the discounts offered during Black Friday, can afford products to which they do not normally have access.


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