Federal government and cantons are responsible for enforcement

Enforcement is mainly within the remit of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). The FOEN primarily focuses on businesses that import large quantities of timber from high risk countries, while the cantons deal with timber harvested in Swiss forests.

The new Timber Trade Ordinance (TTO) came into force in Switzerland on 1 January 2022. The FOEN has responsibility for businesses importing timber for the first time and for traders. The FOEN also has the task of officially recognising inspection bodies and checking them at regular intervals.

If timber is harvested in Swiss forests, the cantons are responsible for checks on the forest owners.

Enforcement of the Timber Trade Ordinance (TTO)


Enforcement aid and notice from the FOEN for the cantons, market actors and inspection bodies. 2023

Risk-based checking of businesses

The FOEN mainly carries out risk-based checks on compliance with the provisions of the Ordinance. This means that businesses importing very large quantities of timber from high risk countries and placing them on the market are checked as a priority. The form and use of the due diligence system and its updating are checked. Is the required information available? Is there an up-to-date risk assessment? The risk mitigation at product and component level and its documentation are also checked. Samples are taken during checks so that the type of timber and where possible its origin can be established. Companies should be able to demonstrate that they have the required information available and how they have evaluated the products. They must also be able to document their risk assessment principles, the measures they have taken to reduce risks and how they have evaluated the effectiveness of these measures.

On-site checks including follow-up checks may be carried out with or without advance notice. The FOEN must be given all required information as well as access to documents and facilities. It may take samples during these checks in order to determine the origin of the wood species as clearly as possible.

Traceability checks on traders

In the case of traders, the checks cover whether they have documented the suppliers from which they have obtained timber or wood products and the users to whom they have been passed on. Traceability checks can also be used to determine the initial operator for certain products. Traders must keep records of invoices and delivery documents for five years, in order that they can present them in the event of a check. The required information and documents must be submitted via the service for submitting information and documents on the DETEC eGovernment portal.

Recognised inspection bodies

Businesses can appoint inspection bodies to evaluate the conformity of their due diligence system and its use. The FOEN recognises and monitors the inspection bodies. In a specification it records:

  • what expertise the inspection bodies have,
  • what items must be checked during an inspection and
  • recorded in a report.

For inspection bodies, accreditation by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS) is a requirement for recognition by the FOEN as a conformity assessment body that carries out inspections (Standard SN EN ISO/IEC 17020:2012, Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection, Type C).

Detailed information on the requirements for inspection bodies is available in the enforcement notice.

Enforcement by the cantons

Forest owners are also initial operators under the TTO. The cantons are responsible for the checks. In Switzerland timber harvesting requires a forestry permit which is comprehensively checked on a regional basis by the cantons. Here the enforcement tasks under forestry legislation and the TTO are combined.

Electronic services for checks and recognition

Electronic services are available on the DETEC eGovernment portal for the random checks of companies and traders and for recognition as a TTO inspection body. Companies or traders who are selected to undergo an inspection must first submit the necessary information and documents via this portal. The entire inspection process and related communication are handled via this platform. The inspection bodies also submit their applications for recognition via this electronic platform.

Laboratories and assessors commissioned by the FOEN can submit their results to the FOEN using an electronic service (services not available in English).

Further information


Last modification 21.08.2023

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