Organisations of compulsory stocks


Switzerland has few natural resources, which leads to a reliance on imports. Foresight and planning have been among its major concerns for several centuries. Switzerland has developed a compulsory stockpiling system in order to ensure a certain degree of independence. Compulsory stocks are maintained for selected foodstuffs, therapeutic products and energy sources.

Like all aspects of national economic supply (NES), compulsory stockpiling is based on cooperation between the state and the private sector. The federal government determines which essential goods are subject to compulsory stockpiling as well as the quantities to be stockpiled, while the companies themselves own the reserves.

To make administrative tasks easier, they have joined together to form mutual assistance groups under private law, with articles of association approved by the federal government. The federal government can order the release of stocks in cases where a shortage prevents the economy from meeting the demand for essential goods. This mechanism is one of the main instruments of NES.

The organisations responsible for compulsory stocks have set up guarantee funds to finance compulsory stockpiling. These funds are intended to compensate owners of compulsory stocks for their storage costs, and to offset fluctuations in the price of stored goods. Owners of compulsory reserves pass on storage costs to consumers in the form of higher selling prices.

If a sector has a guarantee fund, the federal government requires all compulsory stockholders to join the relevant organisation and pay into the guarantee fund.

The Federal Office for National Economic Supply (FONES) monitors the owners of compulsory stocks and the compulsory stock organisations, ensuring that the monies in the guarantee funds are used appropriately and that the fund contributions demanded are reasonable.

Five organisations

Additional information

Last modification 19.07.2023

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