Frequently asked questions on the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry

Linking with the European registry

Detailed information on linking the Swiss-EU emissions trading systems can be found at Swiss-EU ETS Linking.

Account number format in the EU emissions trading registry

To submit a transaction from a Swiss Emissions Trading Registry account to an destination account with the EU prefix, it is important to omit the last two digits.
Example: Instead of EU-100-XXXXXXX-0-YY only enter the following part of the account number EU-100-XXXXXXX-0 (in green characters).

How does the transaction delay work?

Every transaction originating from an account is carried out at least 24 hours after the transaction has been initiated by the customer (only exception: transactions on a Swiss government account). Transactions subject to the transaction delay will be executed from Monday to Friday (working days) at 12 noon as follows:

  • upon confirmation by a transaction validator before 12 noon on a working day: execution of the transaction on the next working day
  • upon confirmation by a transaction validator after 12 noon on a working day: execution of the transaction on the working day following the next working day

Under these rules, transactions that are executed on an official holiday or on a working day on which the EHR helpdesk is closed for other reasons will be executed on the first working day thereafter. Official holidays and planned closures will be announced at least 5 working days in advance on the home page of the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry.

Registered account holders and users of affected accounts can notify the FOEN by 10 a.m. on the day of the expected execution of a deferred transaction that the transaction should be aborted. The notification must be sent by email to the EHR helpdesk (emissionsregistry@bafu.admin.ch). The transaction will only be aborted if the following are provided:

  • Exact transaction number (example: CH-00000)
  • Justification for aborting the transaction

Central European time (CET/CEST) applies to all the times mentioned above.

Calendar for the execution of transfers between the registries

From 21 September 2020 onwards, transactions of allowances between Swiss and EU registries can be initiated. The transactions will then be executed on the next date indicated in the calendar below in accordance with the rules applicable in the registry where the request is launched, e.g. only after the transaction delay of the respective registry. Transfers will generally take place twice a month. Before surrendering deadlines for allowances on 30 April and delivery dates of the December EUA futures contracts in mid-December, transfers will be executed twice a week.

Generally, the calendars should cover a period of 12 months, starting from January and ending in December. Transfer dates will be published at least one month in advance as well as any changes to the calendar notwithstanding short-term notices on changes due to unforeseen temporary closures of the registry link (e.g. force majeure, technical or security issues).

Information on auctions

In accordance with Article 48 paragraph 2 letter b of the CO2 Ordinance, the FOEN may cancel an auction without making an award if the clearing price during the auction period differs significantly from the applicable price on the secondary market in the EU. Additional information is available at Auction of emissions allowances.

How and when must companies participating in the ETS surrender units?

All installation owners (i.e. all ETS companies that have been exempted from the CO2 tax) must transfer enough units from their operator holding account to the surrendering account before 30 April of the following year (e.g. by 30 April 2015 for emissions from 2014). The units surrendered must correspond to the effectively verified emissions from the preceding year.

Who can hold an account in the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry?

Any natural or legal person can apply for an account in the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry. A distinction is made between companies that are exempt from the CO2 tax and therefore open an account in the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry, and all other natural and legal persons who wish to trade emission units.

How do you open an account in the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry?

Companies and natural persons that want to open a holding account can apply online in the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry. Click on the menu item Request Account for more information. A copy of the application must be signed and sent by registered mail along with the required documents to:

Federal Office of the Environment FOEN, Climate Division, Swiss Emissions Trading Registr , 3003 Bern.

Once the fully completed request and the required documents have been received, each authorised person will receive a unique user name directly by e-mail and a password by registered mail.

Which emission reduction certificates can be traded and counted toward the emission reduction objective?

In general, all types of emission reduction certificates under the Kyoto Protocol can be traded nationally and internationally. However, some projects or units can be blocked for certain transactions by the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry. From 1 May 2015, national transfers, surrendering transactions, and international entries of CERs and ERUs with applicable commitment period 2008-2012 will be blocked.

Companies in Switzerland can use certificates for specific emission reductions achieved abroad. However, the quantity of certificates that they can use is limited. Their certificates must be issued according to the rules of the Kyoto Protocol and meet the quality criteria set out in the CO2 Ordinance. You find a list of accountable projects on the following link Whitelist/Projects. More Information on Emission reduction projects and certificates.

What are transactions?

The term "transaction" covers all movements (domestic and foreign) between two different accounts. This includes the surrendering and cancellation of units.

Are the transactions carried out in the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry secure?

All data is transferred using a 256-bit encryption in accordance with the recognised standard for Internet banking and online credit card payments. SSL will be used for the connection between the user and the registry and between the registry and the ITL. All data in the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry is automatically backed up on the server.

Technical requirements

The following are the minimum technical requirements for accessing the EHR:

  • Internet browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer version 11 or higher, Firefox, Safari, or Chrome in their most up-to-date versions. The browser must provide a Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption with at least a 256-bit key length for secure access to the EHR website. Please note that you should not use your browser’s 'Back' button when browsing in the EHR.
  • Current version of a PDF-Viewer

Peripheral devices: mobile telephone for 2-stage authentication using the smsTAN procedure (transaction numbers are received by SMS)

Value Added Tax (VAT) on emission allowances, emission reduction certificates and attestations

As of 1 January 2021, the Federal Tax Administration FTA, Main Division Value Added Tax, has changed its enforcement practice with regard to emission allowances, emission reduction certificates and attestations as a result of a court ruling (Federal Supreme Court ruling 2C_488/2017 of 9 April 2019).
The sale of emission allowances, emission reduction certificates and attestations in Switzerland has been taxable at the standard rate since 1 January 2021. This does not affect the transfer of auctioned emission allowances by the FOEN. Further information can be found in the VAT Info 04 Tax object (in German, French or Italian only). If you have any questions on this topic, please contact the (legal department) of the FTA directly.

Electronic signatures

Based on administrative procedural law (APA and VeÜ-VwV (in German, French or Italian only)), electronic submissions must be provided with electronic signatures in accordance with ZertES (in German, French or Italian only). The electronic transmission of the signed documents must take place via a recognised delivery platform (in German, French or Italian only). Detailed information on electronic signatures can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Communications OFCOM. Please note that due to the lack of international agreements, no foreign electronic signatures are currently accepted.

Who can request a Letter of Authorisation (LoA) for CDM/JI projects?

Procedure, criteria and documents to obtain a Letter of Approval (LoA) to participate in a CDM project: Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Switzerland does not host any JI projects. Therefore, it does not issue ERUs.