SWITZERLAND - Switzerland's government has opened criminal proceedings against Ikea for alleged false declarations regarding where it sources its timber.
The case started with forest protection non-profit Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF), who claimed the furniture giant deliberately violated Swiss wood declaration laws and misled customers. Under Swiss law, companies are forced to declare to consumers the country of origin of all wood used in their products. BMF says Ikea failed to do this on 80 items across five different branches.
Switzerland's Federal Department of Economy, Education and Research (DEFR) then inspected the five Ikea branches, before opening criminal proceedings in two cases of possible repeated false timber violations. DEFR says this is the first time Ikea has been subject to criminal proceedings for a false declaration.
Ikea Switzerland has rejected all charges. Aurel Hosennen, Ikea Switzerland management team member, told Swiss media that Ikea has all wood origin information available.
“We know from every supplier which wood they are working with and where it comes from. We have been showing this on our website for years. There is no reason for Ikea to hide or not reveal anything."
Hosennen also said that the labels, which are hand-printed by Ikea, occasionally are missing on furniture as it is a manual process. Up to 100 labels are lost each day, having to be replaced.
The BMF launched the case after U.K-based environmental watchdog Earthsight accused Ikea of sourcing illegally logged wood from Ukraine.
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