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Are you winning the counterfeit war?

Across every part of your supply chain your product security could be in jeopardy without a robust authentication and traceability solution in place. Jerome Pichot, head of product marketing, authentication and traceability at De La Rue explains how to win the counterfeit war by finding the right solution for you.

Illicit trade is a huge global problem - currently valued at US $1.7 trillion, it is the fastest growth area in organised crime, equivalent to the GDP of the tenth largest economy in the world.

Clearly there’s no time to waste in the war against determined and sophisticated criminals operating globally. No sector or country is immune and action must be taken across the board from governments to those in emerging markets, such as the legal cannabis sector.

This rapid growth has been fuelled by the explosion of e-commerce and the ease of global shipping. It has many guises and operates across legitimate and illegal markets in the form of counterfeiting, forgery, tampering, smuggling and grey (diversion) trading.

It’s damaging for us all; illicit trade impacts socio-economic growth, tax revenues, citizens’ health as well as business growth and reputation. We all have a duty to protect the integrity of our products from source to consumption. But how do we do that while guaranteeing compliance with legislation, achieving full revenue flow from the sale of our products, as well as protecting our brand integrity and consumer safety?

In De La Rue’s experience as a global provider of both physical security tokens and end-to-end software systems protecting brands and goods, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Every customer, be they government or a company, faces a unique set of challenges.

Working with our global customers and stakeholders, we assess the supply chain risks to recommend the best solution, be that a mixture of physical and digital security features or a purely digital approach. Full engagement and collaboration with stakeholders in every step of the programme is also imperative to success.

De La Rue’s long history of in-house design, technology and print innovation, and our in-depth knowledge and insight into counterfeiting tactics, has helped customers make the right product authentication and traceability decisions for over 40 years, helping to protect over US $50 billion of commercial revenue each year.

How are authorities and businesses fighting the counterfeiting war?

Authorities around the world are increasingly looking at new ways to tackle illicit trade so that tax revenues aren’t lost and international legislation is complied with, such as the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention for Tobacco Control.

As a result, we’re seeing a growing trend towards the adoption of fully integrated, end-to-end solutions, which provide a combination of highly secure labels, unique IDs, and systems that can track, trace and authenticate products throughout the supply chain.

Through De La Rue’s work with the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) we’ve deployed a Digital Tax Stamp solution run on our DLR Certify™ system to track and trace tobacco products. Since May this year, this has enabled the authorities to enforce that only cigarettes carrying both a physical tax stamp and digital code on their packaging can be legally imported into the UAE.

Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) aim to track and trace approximately 1.7 billion cigarettes and rolling tobacco packs sold in the UK each year by focusing on a digital only solution. This is through a unique identifier applied at source and recognised throughout the supply chain from tobacco manufacturers, importers to relevant economic operators serving the UK tobacco products sector.

Commercial businesses are also proactively deploying innovative integrated anti-counterfeiting solutions, as seen in the CBD (cannabis) market in the US, a growing opportunity for counterfeiters.

KushCo Holdings, Inc. a premier producer of ancillary products and services to the cannabis and hemp industries in the US is working with us on a solution that will provide unique IDs to support product serialisation and a digital verification system to help authentication throughout the cannabis and CBD supply chain.

Brands such as Nike use De La Rue’s IZON® innovation to protect their sportswear products which are often targeted by counterfeiters. IZON® can be embedded into labels or packaging to enable quick and easy visual verification through multiple layers of security features and, when paired with 3D imaging, is one of the most secure authentication technologies currently available in the world.

Brother Industries uses a combination of our IZON® and Traceology™ technology for a comprehensive anti-counterfeiting solution for its laser and inkjet supplies which delivers complete end-to-end security across its distribution chain.

As these examples show, taking a bespoke approach matched to your own set of circumstances and objectives is the best way to win your own battle with counterfeiters.

What’s next in the fight against counterfeiters?

At De La Rue we’re always looking at what’s next to stay one step ahead of the criminals.

We’re already helping clients engage their own customers in the brand protection fight. Technology is enabling this, with smartphones and other handheld devices equipped with apps now allowing customers to authenticate products they’ve just bought. As final verifier in the supply chain this gives them peace of mind before they use the product, especially important when consumer health and safety could be compromised. Getting your customers on board requires investment in education and engagement as well as incentives to encourage them and we have been helping our customers with this.

With so much more to be done, our investment and focus on helping to tackle global illicit trade is going to intensify and at De La Rue we’re doubling the size of our product authentication traceability business in the next three years. We hope to partner with you to help you win the counterfeit war in a way that’s right for you.

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