The Swiss Federal Department of Economics, Education and Research (DEFR) has opened proceedings against Ikea for false declaration of wood, a charge dismissed by the Swedish furniture giant, according to local media.
The case was triggered by a complaint filed on August 31 by the Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF) with the DEFR and the Federal Office of Consumer Affairs (BFC), information confirmed by the spokesperson for the DEFR, Evelyn Kobelt, to the Keystone-ATS News Agency.
After checks carried out in the five Ikea branches concerned, the DEFR opened administrative criminal proceedings in two cases of suspected repeated false statements, according to the same source. According to Evelyn Kobelt, this is the first time the company has been the subject of criminal proceedings for misrepresentation.
The BFC had indicated that it had found reporting gaps in the Aubonne, Lyssach, Pratteln, Spreitenbach and Vernier 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 radio that labels are regularly missing from furniture stores. These are indeed affixed by hand at Ikea. At each branch, 80 to 100 labels are replaced every day after being lost, he says.
Evelyn Kobelt confirmed the “special case” that is Ikea. The risk of an incorrect declaration is higher there, as the information has to be added manually, which is prone to errors, she says, noting that other foreign companies have automated the information regarding the declaration in their system.
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 something or not to show anything ”, he emphasizes.
The Swedish group was accused in May by a British NGO of integrating timber illegally felled 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.