Switzerland is a country with few natural resources and a high dependence on imports, so stockpiling has been important for centuries. In order to achieve a degree of independence, NES has developed a system of compulsory stockpiling.
Compulsory stockpiling is based, like all aspects of NES, on cooperation between the state and the private sector. The Confederation determines which essential goods need to be kept in stock and in what amounts. But it is private companies that own the stocks, rather than the Confederation. If there are shortages and the private sector can no longer meet the demand for essential goods, the government can order the stocks to be released. Compulsory stocks are a key element in NES.
The companies required to keep compulsory stocks can join together to form compulsory stock organisations.
Currently the following compulsory stock organisations exist:
- réservesuisse genossenschaft (Foodstuffs and feed)
- Helvecura (Therapeutic products)
- Agricura (Fertilisers)
- CARBURA (Oil)
- Provisiogas (Natural gas)
The compulsory stock organisations are private-sector organisations that provide their members with services such as support in organising imports or funding stockpiling costs. They also represent their members’ interests towards the Confederation and form a link between the state and the private sector.
The organisations have set up guarantee funds from which the costs of holding compulsory stocks are met, e.g. payments to warehouse owners and compensation for price fluctuations in the stockpiled goods. The companies pass the costs on to consumers via the sales price of the goods.
If a sector has a guarantee fund, all compulsory stockholders are required by the state to become a member of the compulsory stock organisation and to pay into the guarantee fund.
The FONES concludes stockholding agreements with the companies concerned. It monitors the 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.
Last modification 20.11.2020