Political Commitment on Behalf of Consumers

In 2011 Migros successfully campaigned on various fronts to implement the interests of consumers.

Success against Switzerland as an island of high prices

The fact that Switzerland is an island of high prices has been a subject for some time now, and it came to a head in 2011 due to the strong franc. Consumers are increasingly shopping across the border. Although Switzerland objectively has a higher price level than neighbouring countries, many of these prices are legally intended, such as for agriculture and pharmacy protection. International consumer goods manufacturers, in turn, benefit from the higher Swiss purchasing power by occasionally charging far more for identical products than in Germany for instance. Despite the legal possibility of parallel imports, the Swiss retail industry is often not permitted to procure branded goods at cheaper terms abroad, because manufacturers control the sales channels. Migros is therefore campaigning for an amendment to antitrust law, so that the competition committee can address excessive price differences. Against the will of the Federal Council, the National Council passed a corresponding petition with a significant majority. Another reason for the high prices is – in particular as regards meat – down to the still strongly protected Swiss agriculture market. Migros therefore advocates an opening of the markets.

Fight against fixed book prices

Migros is campaigning not only for open markets, but also actively lobbying against new market foreclosure. In spring 2011 the Swiss parliament voted for a reintroduction of fixed book prices with a narrow majority. Foreign publishing houses, which dominate the Swiss market, are the main beneficiaries of fixed book prices. The junior FDP and SVP parties have therefore called a referendum against the act with the support of Migros and Ex Libris. The national vote will take place on 11 March 2012. Migros supports the No campaign, which has limited funds, financially.

Swissness petition

The Federal Council wants to clearly govern the use of the Swiss cross and the Made in Switzerland label with its Swissness petition. At the end of 2011, the National Council advisory committee defined the corner points for the most strongly contested area of foods. Migros also participated as part of a group of experts, which it initiated, to find a practical solution that considers both the concerns of producers and processors as well as those of consumers.

Consumer conference UN year of cooperatives

The 4th consumer conference of the Economic Policy Directorate and Europe Institute of the University of Zurich was dedicated to the subject of cooperatives in 2011. 2012 is the UN's International Year of Cooperatives. The conference managed to win Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga as a speaker at the public event. She agreed with the other speakers, who were not uncritical of Migros: being a cooperative, Migros proves that commercial success in the market and in competition can be achieved in a responsible manner. With this event, Migros shows that it attaches great importance to an open dialogue with stakeholders.

Campaigning in associations

Migros campaigns in the Swiss retail stakeholder group IG DHS, which is chaired by Herbert Bolliger. Subjects: excessive credit card fees, price-driving state regulations, value-added tax, shop opening times, food law, recycling topics. Migros is also active in Switzerland as part of the Agricultural Location stakeholder group IGAS, which is accompanying the negotiations on an agricultural treaty between Switzerland and the EU. Finally, Migros is a founding member of the Swiss Alpine Agriculture interest group. They bestowed this year's award for innovative alpine agriculture on a Toggenburg cheese maker, which produces «luck» cheese.