Timber Trade Regulation in Switzerland

From 1 January 2022, placing illegally harvested tiFrom 1 January 2022, placing illegally harvested timber and the products made from it on the market in Switzerland is banned. The new Timber Trade Ordinance (TTO) comes into force simultaneously with the amended Environmental Protection Act (EPA). It requires all market players to comply with their due diligence obligation and to minimise the risk of illegal timber.

Illegal timber harvesting is a global problem with negative environmental, economic and social consequences. To combat it, many governments have enacted regulations on the trade in timber and wood products. Illegal timber is banned in the USA by the Lacey Act, in Australia by the Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill and in the EU by the European Timber Regulation (EUTR). All the regulations require products to be checked with the necessary diligence before they come on the market.

Combatting illegal timber harvesting and trading

The Federal Council has brought the amended Environmental Protection Act (EPA) into force, banning the trade in illegally harvested timber and the products made from it with effect from 1 January 2022. The amended legislation was approved by Parliament in 2019 and forms the legal basis for the new Timber Trade Ordinance (TTO), which came into force on the same date. With the TTO, the Federal Council, as instructed by Parliament, has enacted legislation equivalent to that of the European Union (EU; EUTR 995/2010). The purpose is primarily to stop illegally harvested or traded timber and wood products from being placed on the market in Switzerland. Stopping illegal timber harvesting and trading will curtail deforestation and biodiversity loss, which will help to combat climate change. In addition, trade barriers between Switzerland and the EU should be removed.

What due diligence involves

Anyone placing timber and wood products on the market in Switzerland for the first time is responsible for ensuring that the products have been legally harvested and traded. As proof of this, market players should ideally set up a due diligence system with immediate effect. Read on to find out what is needed.

Enforcement and checks

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does the new legislation involve and who is affected? Answers to the most important questions can be found here.

Newsletter «Legal Swiss timber trade»

The FOEN informs initial operators, traders and other interested parties about important developments, publications and events on the subject of timber trade regulation (in German, French and Italian).


Declaration requirement for timber and wood products in Switzerland

Since 2010, a duty to declare timber and wood products has applied in Switzerland. The related ordinance (SR 944.021) requires sellers of timber and wood products to give consumers transparent information on the timber type and origin (timber harvesting country).


Further information

Contact
Last modification 06.05.2022

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