Commodities Trading: Book Examines Discreet and Booming Swiss Industry

Davos, September 2011. The NGO “Bern Declaration” launched their new book “Rohstoff – Das gefährlichste Geschäft der Schweiz“ (“Commodities: Switzerland’s Most Dangerous Business”) during a WRF workshop on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011.

The book shows why resource-rich developing countries remain poor while Switzerland-based commodity companies rake in profits in the billions. And it illustrates the gray areas of a business model whose risks are becoming increasingly apparent.

Unnoticed by the public and politicians, Switzerland has become the world’s most important commodities hub. Trade in oil, gas, coal, metals and agricultural products – particularly via deals made in Geneva and Zug – has grown by an incredible 1,500 percent since 1998, according to Bern Declaration investigations. The result: Seven of the twelve corporations with the highest turnover in Switzerland trade in, and/or mine, commodities.Switzerland has become a global commodity hub thanks to its mix of tax privileges, a strong financial sector, weak regulation and lax embargopolicy.

The extensive misery of entire countries and the fairytale wealth of a few Swiss top traders are causally related. The richly-illustrated reference work offers a portrait of the key firms and people behind the discreet deals, provides insight into the social and ecological consequences for the producing countries, analyzes the practices and repercussions of tax avoidance and speculation, and offers proposals for achieving more justice in a multi-billion – dollar business that affects everyone.

For more information (incl. free English book sample, full translation in planning) see or contact Urs Rybi, BD Commodities Expert, +41 44 277 70 17,

The German book version is available at, more information about the French version can be found at