New Label: «Textiles washed in Switzerland»

Despite formal insufficiency at customs daily are transported more than 30 tonnes of  laundry passes the Swiss border. Insufficient control measures are opening the doors for the foreign competition.

With the label “Textiles washed in Switzerland”, VTS, the association of textile care Switzerland wants to influence the awareness for hygienically processed laundry in Switzerland and tries also to strengthen the Swiss textile care market.

Foreign laundries are transporting dirty and cleaned laundry pieces across the border. Problematic is that there are differences between the exported and reimported figures and values to which the Swiss custom authorities do not pay attention. Swiss laundries cannot compete with foreign prices for laundry, because of differing salary and production cost. With the launch of the label “«Textiles washed in Switzerland» VTS wants to strengthen the Swiss production site. The label stand for hygienically in Switzerland produced laundry, short transportation and secure working places.

Swissness as advantage

In the gastronomy it is most important for guests and customers to know where the meat is produced or where the eggs are coming from, states Melanie Saner, the managing director of VTS. “We aim tot he fact that guest are also thinking about the fact where their textiles were washed.  Also the subject of sustainability plays an important role. Switzerland is known for strong protection of waters and environmental policies, those are strictly regulated, expains Saner. With the launch of the label, VTS would like to make known to people the importance of environmental friendly textile care

Regionally cleaned textiles are freeing road traffic, and also the climate, by reducing truck trips through Switzerland. “Swiss customers have high quality requirements and want in many cases also an individualisation of their textiles, explains Saner. Swiss textile service firms know these facts and have their processes adjusted to these requirements. Production costs are driven to a high extent by personnel cost – this influences also greatly the prices. It is evident that Swiss laundry services cannot compete with the price levels of German and French textile care services. “The Swiss textile care sector has over 7000 persons employed, and around 5000 work in laundry firms, adds Saner, “and this should remain like that. Therefore a affirmative answer for the manufacturing site of Switzerland is of importance”.

The label “Textiles washed in Switzerland” is issued by VTS. Members of the association can dedicate the label by license to their customers to allow them in turn to initiate advertisement. “The label is not only interesting to restaurants or hotels”, said Melanie Saner, “but also manufacturing enterprises or firms standing for “Swissness” can profit by the effect of the label.

Effective contribution

The label will be used by the Turicum Hotel Management AG, operating the Hotels Holday Inn Zurich Messe, the Holiday Inn in Bern-Westside, as well as the B2Boutic Hotel in Zurich (all in Switzerland). Elisabeth Emch from Turicum Hotel Management AG underlines “We are endeavour that our operations are careful with their resources, thus short road access roads, the controlled implication of laundry chemicals and energy efficient processes are an important contribution.” But also social aspects are decisive to opt for a Swiss laundry. “The working conditions are important,” so Emch, “the collaborators in Switzerland enjoy good working conditions and are balanced salaried”. She is sure that the label will find a positive reception by the guests.

The differences at the border

VTS estimates that daily around 30 tonnes of laundry (flat laundry and working clothes) are transported over the Swiss border. Dirty laundry is loaded in Switzerland and transported across the border, there it is washed and reimported into Switzerland. The dirty pieces are neither sorted nor weighted. Therefore it is not possible to declare at the exportation how many pieces of laundry according to the group sector is transported. However a formal declaration is required. A correlation to the reimported clean laundry cannot be proven. VTS has had different meetings with the custom authorities to talk about this unsatisfactory situation, but without reaching basic changes. Now with the launch of the label another area is touched to create attention to the unsatisfactory situation.