On World Anti-Counterfeiting Day, June 8, 2021, Underwriters Laboratories presented at a webinar on “Consumer Protection in the COVID Age” hosted by the Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE), an initiative by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). This day enables national and international organizations involved in the fight against counterfeit products to increase consumer awareness of the risks and costs associated with buying fakes, and to encourage them to better understand the seriousness of the problem.

This virtual discussion revolved around how, amid the COVID emergency, counterfeiting has changed in the last few months. The conversation also focused on the anti-illicit efforts that are needed in the coming days. The panel had representation from the FICCI CASCADE leadership team, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India, Delhi Police and industry partners including Johnson and Johnson, Amazon and Underwriters Laboratories. It was an open event and saw 80 attendees present. The participants ranged from policy makers and government officials to think tanks, bureaucrats and industry leaders.

At the session, Lakshmi Nair, program manager at Underwriters Laboratories, presented Underwriters Laboratories’ perspective on this issue and spoke about the global campaign – Be Safe Buy Real which is designed to raise awareness among the general public, industries, governments and societies about the health and safety risks associated with the consequences of such illicit activities.

Industry panelists agreed that the ultimate goal should be to identify and sever illicit products and their sellers before they have a chance to create a negative experience for our consumers. It was also discussed that while consumer awareness has become an important part of the anti-counterfeiting strategy in developed economies, it is still a major challenge in developing countries. Moreover, it was agreed that a coordinated action is urgently needed as no single company or sector can fight counterfeiting alone.

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