The Federal Department of Economics, Education and Research (DEFR) has opened proceedings against Ikea for a possible false declaration of wood. Swedish furniture dealer rejects the charges.
The case was triggered by a complaint filed on August 31 by the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) with the DEFR and the Federal Office of Consumer Affairs (BFC). DEFR spokeswoman Evelyn Kobelt confirmed to Keystone-ATS information from SRF radio on Thursday.
After checks carried out by the BFC in the five Ikea branches concerned, the DEFR opened administrative criminal proceedings for two cases of suspected repeated false declarations. According to Ms Kobelt, this is the first time the company has been the subject of proceedings for misrepresentation. The presumption of innocence applies until the end of the proceedings.
The BFC had indicated that it had observed reporting gaps in the Aubonne (VD), Lyssach (BE), Pratteln (BL) Spreitenbach (AG) and Vernier (GE) branches.
In Switzerland, wood and wood-based products must be declared in accordance with the corresponding federal ordinance. The type of wood and its origin must be indicated. The BFC monitors compliance with these rules in companies.
Ikea Switzerland rejects the charges. Management member Aurel Hosennen told SRF that it regularly happens that labels are missing in stores. These are indeed affixed by hand at Ikea. At each branch, 80 to 100 tags are replaced every day after being lost.
Evelyn Kobelt has confirmed the “special case” that is Ikea. The risk of an incorrect declaration is higher there, because the information must be added manually, which is the source of errors. Other foreign companies have automated reporting information in their systems.
Aurel Hosennen specifies that Ikea Switzerland has this information. “We know each product, each supplier, the wood they use and where it comes from.” The statements have been available on the website for years. Ikea has no reason to hide anything or show nothing, he points out.
The group was accused in May by a British NGO of incorporating illegally felled timber in Romania and Ukraine into its supply chain. In a statement released in early October, the Swedish furniture giant assured that the wood used comes only from legally felled trees. The company based this on two surveys, one internal, the other external.