Bridor Bakery: When environmental campaigners threaten jobs

by Élodie Messéant

The following article was originally published at Young Voices Europe.

Since 2017, the Bridor company, which specialises in the production of bread and pastries, has been planning to build a new ultra-modern factory to meet the increasing demand of its customers. The company has already purchased a plot of land in Liffré, Brittany, France. However, the construction site is blocked by appeals launched by environmental associations. 

Bretagne Vivante, a nature protection association, and Eau et Rivières de Bretagne are opposed to the project. The latter reproaches the project for its disastrous carbon footprint, in addition to “excessive consumption of drinking water” in an area – the Rennes basin – that is among the driest in France.

Faced with this opposition and the delays it has caused, Bridor CEO Louis Le Duff has broken his silence: “Despite the fact that the project was due to start in 2017, it will not open until 2027 at the earliest! We can’t afford to wait 10 years for our industrial projects to come to fruition!” Disillusioned, the industrialist is now betting on other countries like Germany, where a factory can be set up in just two years. 

An acceleration of the deindustrialisation process

Of course, the various environmental associations put forward the defence of the “public interest“, which gives little weight to the 500 new permanent jobs that this installation would create. However, as the mayor of Liffré points out, “these jobs represent a total of 10% additional jobs to the 5,000 already here, and are intended to solve the mobility problems of which a significant proportion of the unemployed are victims.”

The consequences of this opposition are simple: the company is relocating and strengthening its projects abroad. Last July, it bought a factory in Connecticut in the United States, doubled its capacity in Montreal, and acquired a bread and pastry factory in Portugal, creating a total of 3,000 jobs abroad to make up for the delay in Liffré and meet European demand. This decision accelerates the process of de-industrialisation in France and is reminiscent of the two warehouses that Amazon was planning to build near Belfort and Rouen, which were challenged in court by the Stop Amazon association, before the company gave up with an estimated loss of nearly 2,000 jobs.

Environmental campaigning: a threat to the working classes

There are more and more examples of environmental activism that threatens the working classes. Not only does this lobbying destroy jobs, but it also leads to ever heavier taxation and regulatory constraints. We need only mention the carbon tax, low emission zones (LEZs) for private vehicles, the ban on the sale of internal combustion vehicles from 2035, or the ban on oil-fired boilers. These are all initiatives with serious social consequences.

The main interested parties are not fooled. If EELV (Europe Ecologie Les Verts) was eliminated in the first round of the last presidential elections, and if the ecologists have a very weak foothold electorally in rural areas, it is because their vision of the public interest is not shared by the voters.

This mistrust is all the greater because activists persist even when their motives are highly questionable. The reasons why they reject projects such as the Seine-Nord canal, the Tropicalia greenhouse or, more recently, the Vulcania park, are not clearly explained. Even innovations likely to meet growing food demand – water reservoirs for crop irrigation, pesticides, GMOs, etc. – do not find favour with these people.

A desire to destroy industrial civilisation

These actions seem to confirm what has already been said over and over again: the roots of this type of ecology, which have developed since the Second World War, lie in a fundamental hostility towards technology and the scientific spirit, the growth model and industrial society. The Marxist struggle has been transformed, and is now based on the terrain of a fantasised nature confronted by a destructive humanity. 

It is a strange way of facing the challenges of our modern world to destroy the tools that would enable us to overcome them – such as nuclear energy – or to block job-creating industrial projects on spurious grounds.

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