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The Coalition Against Illicit Trade (CAIT)

In May 2016, a new Coalition entered the Anti-Illicit Trade scene, the Coalition Against Illicit Trade (CAIT). The coalition is consist of various providers of security features, authentication solutions, as well as track and trace systems, including Scan Trust, nano4U, Domino, Essentra, Arjo Solutions, Atos, FATA logistics Systems, Fracturecode, Aegate and ViDiTrust. The Coalition has set its sight broadly on a plethora of industries, including pharmaceuticals, automotive parts, luxury goods, alcohol, tobacco, chemicals, cosmetics, toys, gemstones, watches and clothing.

A mission focused on collaboration and open standards According to their website, the CAIT is trying to shift the paradigm of how anti-counterfeit solutions are developed and implemented. Because of the complex and interwoven problems today’s counterfeit and illicit trade markets create, CAIT is calling “to foster enhanced co-operation among stakeholders, share best practice, and discuss practical solutions”.

Among its principles, the CAIT believes that “industry involvement is vital, given its hard-won insights into markets, supply chains and effective control processes.” The Coalition claims to want to create a forum to advance common technological standards. Many of the companies involved in CAIT have a long track record and experience track and trace systems and authentication solutions, such as track and trace solutions for Pharmaceutical companies and their experiences in interoperability and open platforms appears to have guided their thinking.

The CAIT on their website set out various principles to help them guide their fight against illicit trade globally:

  • Foster open standards: Open standards offer significant advantages, driving down costs, increasing adoption rates and fostering international cooperation

  • Build on what works: Basing track & trace and authentication systems on existing business processes is likely to promote more rapid, robust implementation

  • Encourage competition: Competition amongst track, trace and security feature providers should be encouraged

  • Work together: Effective track & trace and authentication solutions require collaboration between industry, regulators, governments, and NGOs

To achieve this, the CAIT has set an ambitious agenda to promote open standards, competition and collaboration by focusing on five key initiatives:

  • Encourage the development of advanced technologies for track & trace and authentication across global supply chains

  • Promote systems that offer interoperability across the entire supply chain

  • Develop and promote internationally recognised open technical standards that establish clear rules for capturing and sharing data

  • Make the case for stakeholders to be able to choose the authentication features most appropriate to their needs, according to agreed common standards

The CAIT on their website offers a series of research and whitepapers examining Tracking, Tracing and Authentication Systems, the role of new technologies, taggant technologies and solution provider presentations. The website also provides a trove of Government and NGO reports on Illicit Trade and IPR infringements by a variety of agencies including Europol, the OECD and GS1.

CAIT shows a new and refreshing approach to combatting illicit trade. The organization clearly focuses on and appears to favor coding and serialization solutions, but also includes various companies with expertise in authentication technologies, such as molded holograms, microtext, UV inks and specialized printing such as Guiloche.

Since CAIT does not promote a singular technology, but rather provides a voice for a wide variety of stakeholders, there are a plethora of implementation examples and cases studies available through the founding member websites.


Sven Bergmann is a Managing Partner at Venture Global and advises brand owners, technology providers and governments on anti-counterfeit strategies, programmes and technologies.

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