Today’s supply chains are global, complex and involve many parties.

Securing them and preventing illicit trade requires a coordinated, international response underpinned by proven, cost-effective technology solutions that work across national borders.

The Digital Coding & Tracking Association advocates for the use of open technical standards and digital solutions designed to secure supply chains in the tobacco industry.

We aim to provide all stakeholders – from finance ministries and customs to the trade and consumers – with the tools, information and capacity needed to really tackle illicit trade.

What does it take to really tackle illicit trade?

Illicit trade takes different forms from country to country. There is no ‘silver bullet’ or one technology system alone that can completely tackle smuggling, counterfeiting and tax evasion.

Preventing genuine tobacco products from being copied, for example, requires a different response to that required to prevent smuggling of genuine products from one country to another.

A range of systems, mostly based on paper tax stamps, have traditionally been used in an attempt to secure the supply and integrity of products. However, their success has been marginal for a number of reasons: they can be quickly counterfeited; are relatively high cost; and require propriety scanning devices to verify their authenticity which, in reality, only ever confirm the authenticity of the stamp, rather than the product onto which it’s glued. The result: law enforcement, the trade and consumers are left with a false sense of security.

Only a combination of measures, including greater international cooperation, enforcement of existing laws and supply chain security technologies based on internationally recognised technical standards, can really tackle illicit trade.

Using technology to secure supply chains

The Digital Coding & Tracking Association brings together extensive expertise in technical solutions for securing legitimate supply chains in the tobacco industry.

This includes product tracking and tracing, authentication and digital volume verification technologies.

Those technologies are based on internationally recognised technical standards and offer:

  1. Tracking and tracing – enabling electronic monitoring of products as they move forwards through the supply chain and the tracing backwards of their journey history to identify potential points of diversion;
  2. Product authentication – enabling anyone, anytime, anywhere to immediately verify the authenticity of a product using widely available technologies such as a mobile phone or the internet;
  3. Digital volume verification – enabling governments to verify and control online the volume of products manufactured in order to ensure a proper and efficient tax collection.

We aim to provide all stakeholders with the tools, information and capacity needed to really tackle illicit trade