ASPA, GS1 India sign MoU to strengthen anti-counterfeiting ecosystems

Realising the magnitude of damage counterfeiting causes to the Indian economy, brands and consumers, Authentication Solutions Providers’ Association (ASPA) and GS1 India have joined hands to take the fight against counterfeiting to the next level.

01 Jul 2020 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

ASPA (Authentication Solutions Providers’ Association) is a self-regulated non-profit organisation that represents the entire physical and digital authentication solutions industry. GS1 India, a standards body, is responsible for administering the use of global supply chain standards in India that enable businesses to implement counterfeit detection and product authentication solutions to safeguard their supply chains.

The two organisations have signed a MoU to jointly work towards mainstreaming and nurturing the anti-counterfeiting ecosystem by promoting the use of standards based solutions for the betterment of industry and consumers, at large.

Counterfeit products across various sectors in India are causing losses of over Rs 1-trillion every year to the government and the number of counterfeit cases has increased by nearly 24% in 2019 as compared to 2018. This causes business to lose brand equity and revenues, besides putting consumer safety at risk.

According to ASPA Counterfeit Repository findings alcohol, FMCG, pharma, tobacco, agriculture and automotive are among the top sectors with the highest number of counterfeits in 2018 and 2019. During the Covid-19 pandemic period (between January and March 2020), more than 150+ cases of counterfeit incidents were reported in the media. In March and April 2020, more than one case per day was reported related to fake PPE kits, sanitisers and masks.

Jointly, the organisations will be sensitising stakeholders in this respect and will spread awareness and motivate brands and customers to use ‘smart consumer’, an app launched to empower consumers with digital product information and is powered by the national repository of information on retailed products — DataKart — that is populated directly by brand owners.

Speaking about the partnership, Nakul Pasricha, president, Authentication Solution Providers’ Association (ASPA), said, “We are committed to build the authentication eco-systems in the country and enhance our relationship with other bodies working in the same space. The authentication environment will support government’s Make in India initiative and its image at global level, where trust is becoming an especially important factor. We need to ensure that the Make in India products are genuine, safe, and secure until they are delivered to the end consumer across the globe.

He added that involvement and active participation of all stakeholders is extremely crucial in this, as a lot of awareness is required at industry, consumer, and government level. “We are sure that by combining resources of GS1 India and ASPA, we will add more momentum to our endeavours in fighting the menace of counterfeiting and develop the anti-counterfeiting ecosystem,” he said.

S Swaminathan, COO, GS1 India, said, “At GS1 India, we are constantly working towards overcoming the blocks in the global supply chain that prevent visibility and transparency. With this partnership with ASPA, we aim to further strengthen our endeavour to address the ever growing threats presented by counterfeit products in existing supply chains. The use of GS1 standards and solutions like traceability, Smart Consumer app, DataKart, etc, will help Indian businesses gain trust of their consumers and trading partners by seamless sharing of product information. This would also act as a foundational step in our journey and empower consumers to authenticate products using the Smart Consumer mobile app.”

Together ASPA and GS1 India will jointly work together to create awareness about the counterfeiting problems and build knowledge through various tools, including trainings, publishing of articles, enriching websites, etc, to drive adoption of global standards for detecting and controlling counterfeits.