IKEA faces investigation for breaching Swiss timber declaration laws

Failure to comply with Swiss consumer laws indicates furniture giant's problem with its supply chains in Eastern Europe

The Swiss Federal Department of Economics, Education and Research (WBF) has launched an investigation against IKEA for suspected violations of the Swiss timber declaration laws in more than 80 cases.

The investigation relates to a complaint filed last week by the Bruno Manser Fonds, a Swiss NGO, against IKEA and its management for violation of the Consumer Information Act and the Ordinance on the Declaration of Timber and Timber Products ("Timber Declaration Ordinance").

Research conducted by the Bruno Manser Fonds in five Swiss IKEA branches had shown that the multinational furniture group fails to declare the type and country of origin of the wood as required by Swiss laws.

Instead of indicating the country of origin, as required by law, IKEA systematically declares the origin of pine wood as "North and South America, Europe, India, Oceania". The origin of birch wood is systematically declared as "China, Europe, Turkey" and the origin of beech wood as "Europe, Turkey".

"It is shocking to see that Switzerland's largest furniture retailer disregards the Swiss timber declaration laws in such a blatant way", said Lukas Straumann, Director of the Bruno Manser Fonds. "We expect a maximum of transparency regarding origin and production of all IKEA products sold in Switzerland."

IKEA hit the headlines last June because of the involvement of its suppliers in illegal logging in Eastern Europe. An investigation by the British NGO Earthsight had revealed that illegal beech timber from Ukraine entered into some of its best-sold products, inlcuding the iconic "Terje" chair.

The multinational furniture giant commissioned an internal investigation and blames the coronavirus pandemic for their failure to produce timely results.

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