Exemption from the CO2 levy subject to a reduction commitment: information for exempted installation operators

Installation operators with reduction commitments undertake to the Confederation to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. They must submit a report annually regarding their emissions, the measures implemented as well as any deviations from their targets.

1. Monitoring and goods accounting

An operator with a reduction commitment submits a report annually regarding its greenhouse gas emissions, the implemented measures as well as any deviations from the emissions or measures target. This information, as well as the development of the production volumes, serves as control parameters for reaching targets and for any adjustment of the target values as a result of changes.

The installation operator also conducts a goods accounting of the quantity of thermal fuels purchased and used.

The data is to be depicted in a summary table with the data of the previous year. For installation operators that develop a proposed target with the EnAW or a third party, the EnAW makes the tool for annual monitoring available for a fee. Installation operators that provide advice for the development of emissions targets by act can use act's tool for annual monitoring. The goods accounting is integrated into the monitoring tools of EnAW and act and need no longer be submitted to the FOEN with a separate form.

The deadline for submitting the monitoring report is in each case 31 May of the following year.

Information zum Umgang mit Biogas (PDF, 130 kB, 17.01.2024)Anrechnung Biogas in der 2. Verpflichtungsperiode (2013-2024) (available in German, French or Italian)

2. Refund of the CO2 levy

The CO2 levy is paid when purchasing standard fossil thermal fuels notwithstanding an exemption. An operator with a reduction commitment can reclaim the levy paid. The refund application must be submitted with the appropriate fuel bills to the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security (FOCBS).

3. Changes and adjustment of the target values

If changes of emission-relevant installations and/or legal structures have an impact on the reduction commitment, the FOEN must be promptly informed.

For changes in production volumes or product mix that cause the development of emissions to deviate permanently and significantly from the emissions or measures target, the target values will be adapted to the new conditions.

If an operator with a reduction commitment discontinues an operation, compliance with the emissions or measures target can be settled pro rata temporis.

4. Increased efficiencies in meeting the emissions targets

An installation operator that has committed to an emissions target and has exceeded its reduction course as the result of additional emission reductions by more than 5% in the years 2013-2020 and 10% in 2021 can have the increased efficiency certified. The quantity of attestations issued at a maximum corresponds to the difference between the reduction course minus 5% and the actual greenhouse gas emissions in the relevant year. In 2021 the margin is increased from 5% to 10%.

Attestations can be sold, but cannot be counted towards the operator's own reduction commitment.
Emission reductions for which attestations have been issued are deemed greenhouse gas emissions emitted by the installation.

In addition, an installation operator to which attestations have been issued cannot have foreign emission reduction certificates or emission allowances credited towards its emissions target.

The application must be signed by the applicant and submitted by registered mail to the FOEN (Bundesamt für Umwelt, Sektion CO2-Abgabe und Emissionshandel, Gesuch um Ausstellung von Bescheinigungen, 3003 Bern). The application may be submitted annually or for several years at a time. It must be submitted by 31 December 2023 at the latest.

5. Increased efficiencies from the first commitment period

An installation operator that was already exempted from the CO2 levy in the first commitment period has received credits for emission allowances on 30 June 2014 which have not been used during the 2008-2012 period.

These credits can be counted towards the reduction commitment or converted into attestations upon request until 31st of December 2022. Attestations can be sold, but cannot be counted towards the operator's own reduction commitment.

6. Fulfilment of the commitment

The reduction commitment is deemed fulfilled if the installation operator has met its emissions or measures target. It is not the individual year that is relevant for the assessment, but rather the entire period for which the exemption from the levy is claimed. This fact sheet describes the various scenarios which may occur at the end of the commitment period.

If an operator with a reduction commitment cannot meet its emissions or measures target, it may have credits or a limited quantity of foreign emission reduction certificates and emission allowances counted to cover the target shortfall. An installation operator that has had increased efficiencies certified in accordance with Art. 12 of the CO2 Ordinance does not have the latter possibility.


Installation operators with an existing reduction commitment for 2013-2021 have the option of extension until the end of 2024. The targets are continued using a standardised calculation and must be adhered to over the entire commitment period from the start year to the end of 2024. The operator must submit an application to the FOEN by 31 July 2022 at the latest.

Quality requirements for certificates: In Switzerland only certificates issued according to the international procedures of the UN Framework Convention on Climate can be counted, i.e.

  • "Certified Emission Reductions" (CERs) resulting from Clean Development Mechanism (CDM, Art. 12 Kyoto Protocol) projects and
  • "Emission Reduction Units" (ERUs) resulting from Joint Implementation (JI, Art. 6 Kyoto Protocol) projects.

These certificates must meet the quality requirements referred to in Annex 2 of the CO2 Ordinance.

A list of projects that meet these requirements is available at:

Certificates can be acquired from organisations commissioned by the federal government (EnAW / act).

7. Failure to fulfil the commitment

The fulfilment of the reduction commitment is conclusively assessed at the end of the commitment period.

If, during the commitment period, the FOEN determines on the basis of the greenhouse gas emissions shown in the monitoring that an installation operator is no longer on target and lacks corrective measures, the expected sanction can be guaranteed. The guarantee is lifted as soon as the installation operator can prove that it is back on track.

If an operator with a reduction commitment fails to fulfil its emissions or measures target even though it has had credits or the maximum permitted quantity of foreign emission reduction certificates and emission allowances counted, then a sanction of CHF 125 for each excess tonne of CO2eq emitted is to be paid in addition to the levy due on emission allowances. The installation operator will be informed of the decision on the amount of the sanction and the quantity of the emission allowances to be counted.

Certificates and emission allowances can be acquired from organisations commissioned by the federal government (EnAW / act).

CO2-Abgabebefreiung ohne Emissionshandel


This publication does not exist in English. It is available in other languages. 2019

Further information

Last modification 25.04.2024

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