Meeting The Biofuel Compliance Challenge


By: Jeff Conroy, Chief Technology Officer, Authentix

Authentix is pleased to be included in the June/July edition of Tank Storage Magazine, a leading industry publication delivering the latest news and developments to the bulk liquid storage and terminal sector.

In our feature article, Jeff Conroy, PhD, Chief Technology Officer for Authentix, discusses the challenges and possible solutions for the quality assurance and source integrity of renewable biofuels which are increasingly relied upon to meet mandates greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions.

However, the production of biofuels from non-sustainable sources or energy intensive processes can lead to reduced environmental benefits or even an overall increase in emissions, so the pedigree of otherwise chemically identical biofuels becomes very important.


The Future of Brand Protection


Part 6 of the ABC’s of Brand Protection series by Authentix focusing on the global scope of the counterfeiting epidemic and how to take action against it to protect your brand, your customers and your revenue.

The ubiquity of publicly available digital, manufacturing, and printing technology has enabled criminal enterprises to produce convincing but dangerously inferior counterfeit products.  Not only do these nefarious organizations damage the brand value of your legitimate products, they can create consumer mistrust, physically injure or even cause death. Those behind many counterfeit operations make millions in profit without regard to the investment you have made or the adverse effects on consumers.

To protect your company and your investment in high value products, brand owners must create a culture of risk assessment and leverage a security solution partner to monitor supply chains to detect, measure, act, and constantly refine the brand protection policy. This means not only developing the program and assigning responsibility to certain stakeholders in your organization but also selecting and working with a trusted security solution partner for risk assessment and deploying innovative technologies and overall program management.  An experienced solution provider will not push a single technology platform, but instead offer a suite of technologies that include a digital cloud platform for data collection and insights to help build trend analysis, track ongoing targeting, and leverage resources for a more effective outcome.  Creating this umbrella of protection that feeds digital insights that initiate action and remediation must be a part of the future for effective brand protection.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

While still in the early days of adoption, artificial intelligence (AI) is already being applied in some areas of brand protection. Using machine learning, for instance, computers can analyze and learn from large, complex datasets, recognizing patterns that reveal potential fraud or diversion. Packaging can be analyzed along with data compiled from sensors. Anomalies the human eye cannot see can be detected and exceptions can be flagged.

Data and Digital Platforms

It has been said that data is the oil in the engine of many business enterprises today. Despite this, only a few organizations effectively apply this to brand security. Over the next few years, this will change as many experienced security solution providers like Authentix, change the way data is collected and managed for the purpose of product and supply chain security.

Many companies have invested in supply chain and inventory management systems to collect data and optimize inventory management and manufacturing. However, the integration of brand security into this process is often overlooked.  Thus, many brand owners use bespoke physical security mechanisms such as holograms, license keys, and UV inks to manually detect problems in the post manufactured distribution channels. Moreover, as data collection technology improves and is more available to consumers via the ever-present smartphone, more brands may be able to actually integrate the reciprocal interaction with consumers via smartphones and products to begin the awesome scope of data collection towards the point of sale.  These days, more smartphones are capable of image and code collection at high resolution with native and downloaded applications for digital interaction with products and manufacturers.

Engaging with consumers via product interaction is not new. Certainly, many consumers have been scanning QR codes for years to gain more detailed product information, see other products in the lineup, and to take advantage of rewards and discounts. However, with many manufacturers, using this consumer interaction to authenticate legitimate from counterfeit or diverted products is tricky to say the least.  Therefore, using multiple layers of digital collection capabilities and correlating the data over time is the best approach. This may include a digital collection increment by inside inspectors who are querying for a graphic security feature using a proprietary mobile application.  This will immediately attest to UID level authentication and traceability or provenance. Alternatively, consumers may inquire directly via a QR or NFC basis. This would require no special mobile application but provide important geography, distribution, duplicate code, and transactional data that can help regarding distribution and transactional point of sale feedback, thereby securing the supply chain.


Right Data, Right Time

Having the right data at the right time will speed reaction times, enable faster diagnosis of issues, and deliver a more complete understanding of what specific corrective actions are needed and when. For instance, the DigiTrax™ digital platform is a cohesive data repository and dashboard interface that enables the collection, storage, and analysis of secure transactions to help companies make informed decisions on brand protection issues. DigiTrax™ is a secure, comprehensive, cloud-based, end-to-end platform designed to deliver a complete picture of your authentication and consumer interactive transactions and correlated results. It also is configurable to be customized to each client’s needs for detection, measurement, and targeting for unauthorized product placement and helps to form policy on corrective actions and investigations.

If the past is a prologue to the future, a tsunami of counterfeit goods continues to make its way into the global marketplace – from products such as luxury items, medicines, food, spirits, auto parts, and many more. The damage from illicit and fake products can cause nearly incalculable damages, including loss of human life, lack of consumer trust and the overall devaluation of your large brand investment.

So whether you choose to invest in the latest emerging single technology as a “one off” approach or you choose to select a fully integrated solution provider with a full technology suite – it is important to remember that ultimately, it is how you take action on the information retrieved from the security solution that ultimately determines how effective your product protection effort is. Risk will continue to grow as the arsenal of tools that criminals gain access to continues to expand. Stay ahead of the game and consult with a security solution provider who has the experience handling rapid deployment to help you migrate your organization to a digital platform as an ultimate component for brand enforcement strategy.

For more brand protection basics – why it is necessary, how it works, who is vulnerable, how to implement an effective program, what to look for in a technology partner, and which emerging technologies will make a difference in the future – download the eBook, The ABC’s of Brand Protection.

READ PART 1     |      READ PART 2    |    READ PART 3    |    READ PART 4     |     READ PART 5

9 Qualities to Look For in a Brand Protection Partner


Part 5 of the ABC’s of Brand Protection series by Authentix focusing on the global scope of the counterfeiting epidemic and how to take action against it to protect your brand, your customers and your revenue.

The current counterfeit landscape is a “not if, but when” environment. At some point, brand owners will experience an unauthorized product in their supply chain.  Given this inevitability, your product security strategy should be thorough, with a strong emphasis on implementation planning to enable detection of problems and action to mitigate and manage accordingly. One of the most effective deterrents to risk is teaming with a partner with the requisite skills, experience and talent to assist you in all facets of brand protection.

Qualified brand protection partners understand what you’re up against and can work with you to develop, implement, and manage a proactive strategy to help insulate your company against illicit trading of diverted or fake products. What should you look for in a partner? The following are key considerations when you are vetting an authentication solution provider:

  1. Your business is their business

Choose a company that understands your business and offers consultative services—not just a technology.  It’s critical that they have experience relating to your industry and are quick to understand the challenges you face.  Experienced solution partners ask the right questions to help you articulate your exact concerns, assess risk, and work with you to set realistic goals for your program.

  1. Thorough risk assessment plan

Determining the appropriate level of security required for a given product requires a thorough risk assessment strategy. The strategy provides insight into the risks in the market, the nature of product distribution, complexity of the supply chain and the goals for the brand. The appropriate security level depends on the exposure to counterfeiting and the value of the product to the brand owner. Determining the appropriate scope of protection, budget, and level of security necessary to mitigate the perceived risk is not a “one size fits all” approach and may differ from product lines and geographies.

  1. Customized solutions

Qualifying a security solution provider also means finding one with the ability to customize tools and implementation plans to fit the unique challenges of your industry and company. For instance, your partner should have expertise in the types of product packaging, printing, manufacturing, and existing supply chain attributes to know what existing substrates, inks, adhesives, varnishes, and enclosures used already would be the best vehicle to roll out a covert security feature quickly.  Ask them if they offer:

  • State-of-the-art covert and overt inks or marking systems
  • Multilayered security features
  • Monitoring and enforcement plans
  • Ability to financial support the inventory and other requirements
  • Implementation services, trial printing programs, evaluation of existing processes
  • Data capabilities – dashboards, cloud platforms
  1. Multilayered approach

Decades of experience have proven that there is not a simple “silver bullet” technology that can be applied in all situations for a perfect brand protection strategy. A multilayered approach in which overt, covert and forensic features are applied in various ways is often the most effective long-term solution against counterfeiting. How much experience does the security solution provider have in this area?

  1. Supply chain integration

More than likely, your current supply chain is complicated and lacks visibility at various points. An effective security solution provider should be able to integrate within that chain without causing disruption to the existing processes. In addition, the partner should be agnostic without any prejudice towards a given technology and be willing to use a suite of options to consider. The best partner will be able to objectively analyze the situation, identify and help you determine risk, and recommend multiple scenarios for your consideration.  Each situation is different – beware of single technology solutions offering only one type of choice to solve.

  1. Print trials and authentication support

An experienced security solution partner should be able to certify and ensure security mandates for your vendors. All manufacturing and handling of security materials should be completed in a secure facility under full chain-of-custody and auditing.  A security audit is often the best way to determine this. The brand owner should understand that appropriate physical security and auditing procedures are maintained for the benefit of all parties. It is important to only work with a partner with quality accreditation appropriate for the subject matter and technologies involved.

  1. Talent and reach

Your security solution partner should have technical and commercial teams to provide the appropriate level of expertise required to authoritatively advise on the features of their technology and implementation. In the case of a global brand, your partner should have a global footprint and reach. This includes delivery, logistics, servicing, technical support, customs handling, and regulatory knowledge to properly handle regional and country-based compliance issues.

  1. Proven implementation strategy

Some companies might be great at strategy and planning but drop the ball when it comes to implementing those plans. It’s important that a partner provides extensive documentation of their experience implementing programs, including a resume consisting of several multi-year customer relationships. In addition, any qualified provider should agree to become an integrated part of your team and extend that support to your third-party vendors.

  1. Committed partner

The right security solution partner for you should see you through the good times and the challenging ones, too. You deserve an ongoing relationship with a select team of people committed to help stay steps ahead of potential risks and actionable plans when those risks become realized.

For more brand protection basics – why it is necessary, how it works, who is vulnerable, how to implement an effective program, what to look for in a security solution partner, and which emerging technologies will make a difference in the future – download the eBook, The ABC’s of Brand Protection.

Download the eBook

READ PART 1     |      READ PART 2    |    READ PART 3    |    READ PART 4

Implementing an Effective Brand Protection Program


From Risk Identification to Full Implementation

Part 4 of The ABC’s of Brand Protection series by Authentix focusing on the global scope of the counterfeiting epidemic and how to act against it to protect your brand, your customers and your revenue.

In articles 1, 2 and 3 of this series, we’ve discussed the vast scope of the global counterfeiting problem, the tactics used by counterfeiters, and security features used on many products today to detect and mitigate these compromises. You are aware that this is a massive problem but how do you determine if your products are at risk? Understanding and assessing these risks is the first vital step to start mapping out your company’s action plan, resulting in an effective brand protection program.

Five Steps to Determine if Your Products are at Risk
  1. Identify the risk areas

First, develop a risk inventory for your product line. The level of risk might differ depending upon supply chain complexity, geography, price point, margins, and anticipated demand. Consider these questions to identify vulnerabilities:

  • Is my product line high volume with a low variable cost to produce?
  • Are these products sold at higher price points and gross margins?
  • Does my product line have an existing or potentially large market share?
  • Does my product line and/or packaging currently have covert or overt security features that are economic deterrents to prevent counterfeiting?
  • Do we sell through a complex supply chain and lose visibility to the point of sale?
  • Are any of these products sold online or manufactured in countries without stringent counterfeit enforcement laws?
  1. Assess risk

Determine the likelihood, impact, and overall threat of each risk factor. How susceptible is each product in your portfolio for attempted compromise? Use this information to create a portfolio of the higher risk products which includes:

  • Aggregated risks – score each product with weighted indicators to prioritize by risk potential
  • Map of the supply chain environment – what are the highest points of exposure and where do we have access?
  • Potential short- and long-term damage – Consider:
    • How could adverse events of illicit supply affect consumer trust in your brand?
    • What about liability from health issues caused by compromised product?
    • How much market share and revenue dilution could be happening?
  1. Develop a risk management strategy

Examine the results of your risk assessment to create an integrated strategy for each high-risk product that includes potential solutions to address all the foreseen threats:

  • Adopt a defined set of policies and procedures where your stakeholders are aligned
  • Look at available solutions to address specific product risks by threat area; for example – consumer safety vs. losses from diversion activity
  • Address what actionable steps can be taken at the physical points in the supply chain where threats are the greatest
  • Play out each risk scenario and escalation possibilities for contingent action upon the event including communication strategies
  • Prepare a budget to implement solutions based on your assessment
  1. Create an action plan

Responses to the most pressing threats can now be put into action by organizing management, information, and technology solution partner(s). Your action plan should include the following three categories:

  • Detection and Deterrence – solutions that provide detection of a non-authorized product in the supply chain, proactive awareness campaigns, investigatory procedures upon detection, vendor agreements that include security policies for handling or manufacturing higher risk products, and unannounced audits of downstream distribution partners.
  • Enforcement – the pre-determined action you plan to take upon the detection of an adverse event. This might depend on the event’s geography, supply chain level, and the resources you have allocated for enforcement.
  • Prosecution – plan the specific steps that will be taken to support investigative and forensic efforts upon the discovery and confirmation of responsible parties. In some countries, enforcing your supply agreements against offending distribution partners might be a better course of action than criminal prosecution.
  1. Monitor risk and continually re-evaluate your strategy

The last step in your strategy is a closed loop. Constant review of your data analytics offers an opportunity to better understand changing risks, increased or decreased vulnerabilities, and allows you to refine your actionable policy proactively. Today, data visualization coupled with a strong physical security element is even more critical in the fight against illicit product placement activity.  Analyze and act on these insights revealed in the reporting information– from new counterfeit hot spots to changing risk as time evolves.

The fact is no one solution or security measure will be the panacea to address all instances of product compromise across the global marketplace. However, as a brand owner you can assess these risks and select the right security solution partner(s) to help minimize the damage and keep you in charge rather than being in a reactionary stance. Also, it is important to select solution partners with lengthy experience in multiple industries who can offer a full suite of technology and service solutions that can both be rapidly implemented and scale to your business needs.

For more brand protection basics – why it is necessary, how it works, who is vulnerable, how to implement an effective program, what to look for in a technology partner, and which emerging technologies will make a difference in the future – download the eBook, The ABC’s of Brand Protection.

Download the eBook

READ PART 1     |      READ PART 2    |    READ PART 3

Stealthy Security: Anti-Counterfeiting Tactics


Part 3 of the ABC’s of Brand Protection series by Authentix focusing on the global scope of the counterfeiting epidemic and how to take action against it to protect your brand, your customers and your revenue.

We must face the facts. Counterfeiters make it their mission to knock off high-value products and they can be very good at it. With the right tools and illegal intent, a counterfeiter can create a product and packaging close enough to the original to easily fool consumers. And as technology becomes more accessible, it only gets easier for them to duplicate the basic one-dimensional protection measures a brand might implement. To fight back, you’ll need an arsenal of security features that can be woven seamlessly into the product and packaging design making it far less vulnerable to bad actors.

Each security feature serves a unique purpose. Overt or visible features allow the end consumer to verify authenticity of their purchased product. There are also covert or invisible markings enable trained inspectors to quickly authenticate genuine products in the supply chain, identify the source of diversion or determine other illicit activities.  When combined with careful design and production quality controls, these features raise the bar of complexity for counterfeiters and make the product a less attractive target.

Let’s break down six basic categories of anti-counterfeiting features. You might have implemented one as a security tactic, but still battling diversion in the marketplace. Rather than one and done, think of these tactics as a multidimensional security wall that helps identify authentic products from fakes.

  • Overt Security Features – These visible features can easily be detected and are often beautifully incorporated into the design of the product or packaging.
  • Covert or Semi-Covert Security Features – Covert and semi-covert features are invisible to the naked eye or disguised but can be found and measured with specialized handheld devices using proprietary optics and detection algorithms for rapid, secure field authentication.
  • Forensic Security Features – Forensic analysis involves laboratory testing of products via an embedded (non-native) component or molecule added to a substrate or solution to determine authenticity.
  • Serialization or Track and Trace Features – The application of individual unique codes at the point of manufacture (giving each product an identifiable attribute) and defined scanning locations where retrieval and association of the unit can be linked to the scanning transaction.
  • Digital solutions – The application of a unique code, number or symbol that results in a digital ID recorded in a database. Product attributes such as manufacturing date and time, expiration dates, lot numbers, pictures, and a host of other origin information can be added to the database record and associated with the product.
  • RFID – Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a small antenna and receiver system where a unique product-level ID is hidden or embedded in a small chip or printed label. The ability of these “electronic labels” to communicate with a centralized database system performs like other track and trace systems.

One Tactic Is Not Enough

An effective multilayered approach using overt, covert, and forensic security features is the most effective long-term solution to detect and deter counterfeiting. When incorporated into labels, closure seals, storage cartons, and packaging, each type of feature serves a unique purpose — from color-shifting ink that allow end-users to quickly identify a branded product as genuine to covert markings that enable an inspector to identify many factors involved with the source of authenticity.

For a deeper dive into the details of each type of security feature and other brand protection basics – why it is necessary, how it works, who is vulnerable, how to implement an effective program, what to look for in a technology partner, and which emerging technologies will make a difference in the future – download the eBook, The ABC’s of Brand Protection.

Download the eBook

READ PART 1     |      READ PART 2

The Case for Implementing National Fuel Integrity Programs


Reducing Illicit Fuel Fraud and Recovering Revenue for National Governments around the World

By Andrée Bourgeois, Senior Marketing Manager, Authentix

The impact on national governments from adulterated, diluted, and illegally trafficked fuel within a country’s borders results in lost tax revenue, poor quality product, environmental issues, and ultimately reduced community services and benefits for citizens. After 25 years of working with dozens of government ministries and leaders to implement fuel integrity programs across the globe, Authentix has helped many countries expand revenue collections by reducing or eliminating the proliferation of tax avoidance and illegal profiting through illicit fuel sales. Many countries that implement an Authentix fuel integrity program quickly see reductions of this illegal activity by more than 30 percent annually with corresponding increases in taxation revenue.

Our experience and years of data has proven that implementing fuel integrity programs has substantial benefits to many national governments and its citizens alike, providing very high returns on investments made. Many governments have published data showing the positive impact of securing and monitoring their fuel supply including Ghana, Serbia, Zambia, South Africa, and most recently, Kenya published an article further confirming the effectiveness of its fuel integrity program. As stated in the publication, Kenya’s Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), which is mandated under Section 92 of the 2019 Petroleum Act, is charged with monitoring petroleum products offered for sale in the local market and has continued to enhance its fuel integrity program with tremendous outcomes. As a result, Kenya continues to reduce fuel adulteration and is well on the way to achieving near 100 percent reduction of fuel fraud.


To mitigate adulteration challenges, many governments such as Kenya have taken action to implement national fuel integrity programs curbing fuel fraud, recovering missing tax collections, and restoring confidence in the national fuel supply. These programs are continuing to grow in number and scope as technology advancements result in more sophisticated enforcement techniques as well as building a history of data retention, correlation, and actionable insights over time. As programs remain implemented, product and supply chain data are collected over multiple points in the supply chain — providing organizations complete visibility of trends, reconciliation issues, and machine learning capabilities to help prevent, correct, enforce, and ensure ultimate compliance.

Most fuel integrity programs in place today involve chemically marking fuel at refineries and/or terminal distribution points to ensure that all fuel in the downstream supply chain can be authenticated all the way to retail points of sale. The fuel is typically marked by dosing with an inert, organic chemical marker at levels so low (parts per billion), the presence of the marker cannot be detected without proprietary and highly sophisticated devices. As fuel is sampled and tested in supply vehicles, retail stations, and even consumer vehicles, it is possible to determine if the fuel has been diluted with substandard or non-taxed products such as waste oil, off-road tax-free fuel, or via other illicit means. The detection technique enables accurate quantification using portable analyzers in the field or more enhanced, forensically defendable methods in a laboratory.

Authentix is the market leader throughout the world delivering these solutions and has become a trusted and effective partner for national governments to validate fuel quality and supply authenticity, and provide the tools to enforce and prosecute those whom are trafficking illicit fuel products. Authentix continues to build its large library of unique covert markers, resulting in the highest level of authentication security and effectiveness available today. Authentix has spent decades building its suite of custom markers which take many different forms and vary in application and use based upon the country’s unique set of requirements.

The return on investment of successfully deployed fuel integrity programs by Authentix is substantial, helping governments recover millions in lost tax revenue each year, while positively impacting the society through expanded services and infrastructure and resulting in a cleaner environment for all.

Learn more about Authentix National Fuel Integrity Programs.

Andrée Bourgeois is Senior Marketing Manager for Authentix. As the authority in authentication solutions, Authentix thrives in supply chain complexity. We provide advanced authentication solutions for governments, central banks and commercial companies, ensuring local economies grow, banknote security remains intact, and commercial products have robust market opportunities. Our partnership approach and proven sector expertise inspires proactive innovation, helping customers mitigate risks to promote revenue growth and gain competitive advantage.

The Dark Arts of Counterfeiting


Part 2 of the ABC’s of Brand Protection series by Authentix focusing on the global scope of the counterfeiting epidemic and how to take action against it to protect your brand, your customers and your revenue.

By Franco Diaz, Brand Protection Director, Authentix

Brands are working harder than ever to provide transparency into their business practices. The customer trust and loyalty that this creates is invaluable and the holy grail of marketing departments. A sure-fire way to destroy that trust is to be subjected to counterfeit controversy – product falsification, consumer harm, or news of legal action against a brand can prove toxic to any popular brand.

Organized criminal enterprises have developed sophisticated networks of willing players throughout the global supply chain in practically every industry to cause such destruction. Some of their tactics include:

  • Counterfeiting
  • Diversion
  • Tampering/Reuse
  • Adulteration

Today, companies expand their operating and delivery efficiencies at lower costs with high-quality manufacturing available around the world. However, that innovation comes at a cost by enabling undetectable counterfeit goods to make their way into the supply chain. Buzzworthy brands with growing demand, celebrity clout and premium price points are most-targeted. The resulting inferior quality and/or faulty parts lead to consumer dissatisfaction, recalls, and major safety concerns.

It’s not just back alley transactions and big city flea markets that you need to worry about anymore. The rise of digital marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy (plus countless others that emerge each year) enable and accelerate sales of knockoff goods not only to willing buyers, but unsuspecting ones as well. In fact, according to a 2018 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, about 40 percent of a sample of goods bought on popular eCommerce websites were fake. Data collected by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol between 2000 and 2018 shows that seizures of counterfeit and pirated goods at U.S. borders, much of destined for e-commerce channels, has increased ten-fold.

It is forecast that by 2022, the negative impact of counterfeiting and piracy will drain US $4.2 trillion from the global economy and put 5.4 million legitimate jobs at risk. This impact cuts a wide swath across many industries and businesses including:

  • Pharmaceuticals and OTC Medicines: At least one million people die each year after consuming counterfeit medicines.

  • Tobacco: If the global illicit trade in tobacco was eliminated, governments would gain at least US $31 billion in additional taxation revenue. Curbing this illicit trade could save over 160,000 lives annually by 2030 and beyond.

  • Spirits and Premium Drinks: Counterfeit or illegal alcohol, recognized as “unrecorded” alcohol, is not monitored for quality or taxation. The WHO estimates that 25 percent of the alcohol consumed worldwide is unrecorded.

  • AgroChem: The WHO estimated that counterfeit and adulterated pesticides poison over three million people7 annually and result in over 200,000 deaths mainly in developing countries due to unregulated trade enforcement.

  • Health & Beauty: According to the FBI, counterfeit cosmetics have contained adulterants such as paint thinner, which irritates the eyes, nose, and throat in addition to being flammable and poisonous.


In this climate, many companies are thinking more broadly about how to implement coordinated anti-counterfeiting and anti-diversion strategies across their brands and throughout different regions of the world. Just as tamper-evident seals on bottles of pills and liquid formulations became more common after a tampering scare in the 1980s, attitudes toward anti-counterfeiting technologies are beginning to evolve.

For more brand protection basics – why it is necessary, how it works, who is vulnerable, how to implement an effective program, what to look for in a technology partner, and which emerging technologies will help protect your brands in the future – read the The ABC’s of Brand Protection.

Download the eBook

The ABCs of a Successful Brand Protection Program


Part 1 of the ABC’s of Brand Protection series by Authentix focusing on the global scope of the counterfeiting epidemic and how to take action against it to protect your brand, your customers and your revenue.

By Franco Diaz, Brand Protection Director, Authentix

The negative impact of counterfeiting and piracy is projected to drain U.S. $4.2 trillion from the global economy and put 5.4 million legitimate jobs at risk by 2022.1 Are your products protected? They need to be.

If anyone of us were to think about the purchases we made over the years, we’ve probably purchased a counterfeit good. It’s estimated that more than 80 percent2  of all global consumers have unwittingly purchased falsified products. This concept is proliferated by the ever-growing global supply chain and all its complexities that foster an environment lacking required ingredients, quality control, or government oversight. To get ahead of the counterfeiters, brand owners need a brand protection program to shield what matters most to your business – customers, brand, and revenue.

The gaps in the system are magnified even more during a pandemic. In the same week COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, a fake and dangerous rendition of a popular potential therapeutic drug with a street value of more than $14 million was seized by Interpol4 . It’s time to sound the alarm. No one industry is immune to such calculated nefarious acts. Brand owners from health and beauty, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, to apparel experience financial losses and more importantly, added risks to consumer health and safety.

The good news is that today’s anti-counterfeiting solutions to detect and deter fraud are growing more sophisticated, affordable, and accessible. The benefits of a strong brand protection program are three-fold:

  1. Protection of the brand owner’s livelihood – namely its reputation and investments into market-leading proprietary products.
  2. Consumer protection – no brand owner wants their name associated with health hazards or calamities resulting from brand compromise.
  3. Corporate citizenship – proactive companies that deploy product protection programs and are serious about a no-compromise climate are more responsible corporate citizens. This leadership and transparency can contribute exponentially to customer loyalty as it humanizes the brand.

CONSIDER THIS: The global economic value of counterfeiting and piracy could reach U.S. $2.3 trillion by 2022.3

Do you have a strategy in place, with policies and dedicated infrastructure to combat product fraud? Maybe you partner with a trusted third-party technology and solution provider. Maybe you don’t yet have a brand protection program in place. No matter your approach to the counterfeiting issues, knowledge is power.

Counterfeiting is real and impacts everyone in the supply chain. This article addresses a single layer of the importance of brand protection programs. We have more facts, figures and trends in our latest eBook, The ABC’s of Brand Protection. This eBook offers a crash course in how brand protection works, who is vulnerable, how to implement an effective program, what to look for in a technology partner, and which emerging technologies will make a difference.


Fuel Authentication & Traceability through the Supply Chain: Advancing Quality & Sustainability


The Oil and Gas industry is facing increasing pressure to take urgent actions toward a low-carbon future. Some have responded already by setting bold Net Zero and other ambitious Sustainability targets by 2050. With the current geopolitical landscape, the industry continues to be challenged to innovate in navigating climate and environmental issues driven by constantly changing policy and regulations.

To emphasize the seriousness of the industry’s need to address climate issues, the Energy Institute recently focused on the energy transition as the key theme at IP Week 2020, held in London this February. As a key conference speaker on behalf of Authentix, I had the opportunity to share unique insights on how physical and digital fuel authentication technologies can help reduce emissions, protect the environment, and enable a more sustainable future, while also removing manipulation throughout the supply chain.

Fuel Adulteration’s Impact on the Environment

Fuel adulteration has proven to increase emissions of harmful pollutants from vehicles and worsen urban air pollution that lead to adverse impacts on human health. For example, kerosene, which when illegally added to a nation’s fuel supply, increases levels of carbon monoxide (CO) by as much as 50%. CO is one of the most common adverse by-products caused by adulterants often added to gasoline and diesel supplies to dilute taxable fuels with non-taxed or extremely low-cost materials.

To assess the level of impact of fuel adulteration on emissions, a study was conducted by the Journal of Civil Engineering and Environmental Technology in India, a country where this continues to be a significant and ongoing problem. The study concluded that gasoline adulterated with five percent kerosene was found to have a CO value of 16.4%, while gasoline with a 55% adulteration factor increased the CO value to 51.6%, an alarming increase.

In many countries, fuel adulteration using harmful by-products, waste oils, etc. can make up to 30% of the total volume of gasoline or diesel sold. It’s no secret that petroleum products present a lucrative opportunity for those who wish to deliberately manipulate fuel supplies for illicit monetary gain. Such activity is a huge environmental and financial problem for oil companies and governments alike. In fact, the annual worth of illicit fuel trade is estimated to be $133 billion and growing.

How Fuel Integrity Can be Compromised

Fuel manipulation can occur in multiple ways. If you consider the complex downstream supply chain, there are intentional or accidental vulnerabilities at many points that provide opportunities for fuel adulteration. These include:

  • Diversion
  • Dilution or substitution
  • Theft
  • Human error
  • Equipment malfunctions

When any of these factors occur, it can result in the wrong product used in the wrong application.  Without a traceability solution of some kind, it then becomes difficult to determine where and when the wrong product entered the supply chain.

Finding the Right Solution: Balancing Performance and Cost

To mitigate these challenges, oil companies and government agencies must be able to track and validate the quality and authenticity of their fuel at all points in the supply chain. This requires advanced technologies that can not only authenticate the fuel, but also identify and record meaningful data for product insights to be gained from terminal to retail station.

Marking fuel by inserting an extremely low dose (parts per billion) chemical marker into a petroleum product has become one of the most trusted solutions for enabling the detection of adulterants and to understand where this problem is happening. To provide the highest level of security and effectiveness, Authentix currently provides dozens of governments and branded fuel companies with proprietary and unique covert marker systems that vary in complexity and scope. Detection and measurement can occur in the field, in a laboratory, or both depending on the needs of the organization.

While fuel integrity programs are an effective way to combat adulteration, questions may remain about the quality and legitimacy of the fuel being refined or imported. To address this uncertainty, organizations and governments typically perform fuel quality assurance testing using ASTM standards via third-party laboratories. While ASTM testing is a longstanding and accepted method, it can be very expensive, and results are delayed as organizations struggle to find the balance between performance and cost.

For organizations looking for a more affordable and faster alternative to traditional lab-based ASTM testing, Authentix provides solutions for field use leveraging portable devices using sophisticated chemometric models, which can identify fuel composition and predict the overall quality and chemical properties. Applying this method, field enabled inspectors can simultaneously measure the density and the spectrum of fuel samples modeled to ASTM properties without the expensive and slower lab-based methods. These portable measurement devices can be used for a wide variety of fuels, including gasoline, diesel, jet, and other specialized fuels. In addition, IOT sensors can be installed in downstream locations for monitoring fuel volumes, which aid inspectors to audit consumption, shortages, and assist in demand forecasting.

In many cases, quality, volumetric, and usage data can complement a fuel integrity program with variable-time monitoring and actionable intelligence – enabling testing and visibility at any and all points in the supply chain.

Using Data Intelligence to Bring it Together

The magic bullet is not just the chemical marker itself nor the fuel quality testing method if used independently. But imagine the ability to collect, correlate, and analyse multiple data points from different sources that feed into a single data platform, providing a unique and actionable dashboard view into all elements of the fuel supply chain. As digital transformation continues to permeate the oil and gas industry, Authentix is accelerating its digital technology to provide this platform. The Authentix Information System, or AXIS®, is a cloud-based, integrated set of software applications designed to provide comprehensive and insightful data for our customers to make remediation and enforcement decisions, thereby giving them the ability to rapidly take preventative or corrective action.​

AXIS® report showing month-over-month view of failure results



AXIS® report showing geographical view of location of stations tested and pass/fail rates

Looking Ahead

The move to a more sustainable future, decarbonization, and lowering adverse impacts of climate change will no doubt take an incredible allocation of time, technology, and resources. By having full visibility and control over the fuel supply chain, our customers are able to deter illicit activity and reduce unauthorized fuels in the market. Therefore, implementing a fuel integrity program has shown to directly improve emissions, reduce pollutants, and improve overall consumer health and safety. In our view, this becomes an important piece of the solution and should become a key component of any Net Zero or Sustainability Plan going forward.

About Authentix

As the authority in authentication solutions, Authentix thrives in supply chain complexity. We provide advanced authentication solutions for governments, central banks and commercial companies, ensuring local economies grow, banknote security remains intact, and commercial products have robust market opportunities. Our partnership approach and proven sector expertise inspires proactive innovation, helping customers mitigate risks to promote revenue growth and gain competitive advantage.

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The Assurance of a Well-Designed, Secure Spirits Packaging Solution


The right brand protection solutions to protect your product.


In a recent article, produced for Beauty Packaging, we introduced the shift in implementing security features to protect your products. There has always been a struggle between brand owners and marketing on where to place a security feature: on-product/in-product or on-package/in-package. The article served as a reminder that today’s technology, combined with the
right domain experience in ink technologies and printing techniques, expands the concept of how to protect products against counterfeiters. It highlighted that different areas of the business, like the marketing team and packaging engineers,
can feel confident that selected security features will not interfere with the packaging aesthetics or production.

Our latest discussion focuses on what is readily available to you and what you can learn about your products to make better business decisions. Two questions you want to be able to answer:

  • Do the benefits of including security features create a positive ROI for the company?
  • Does anyone in the company know how to properly estimate the costs of product adulteration or fraud?

A risk assessment strategy will help answer the above questions by revealing critical data points associated with your high-value products. This assessment will lead to a brand protection solution that is right for you. With the right brand protection solution, you can really ascertain how much your bottom line is impacted by counterfeit activities.

Play defense by using a multilayered approach

At Authentix, we have discovered that the most effective way to protect your branded products is by utilizing a multilayered approach which provides a combination of security features (overt, covert, forensic, digital). This provides a masterful defense against counterfeiting efforts, as detection can be done quickly in the field and enforcement can be rapid—thus limiting the exposure and extent of a problem. Let’s review the various solutions by security feature.

Overt security – holograms, specialty inks, color-shifting inks—features you can see without devices. Well-known effects include:

  • Tamper-evident poly seals, shrink sleeves and induction seals
  • Secure holography with image shift on angular variables (OVD)
  • Security inks such as color-shifting inks—also known as optically variable inks (OVI)
  • Specialty substrates such as UV- or IR-emitting security fibers
  • Digital QR or other visible code
  • Substrate or ink tactile effects
  • Security graphics / overt complexity (print effects/varnish plate anomalies, etc.)

The global economic value of counterfeiting and piracy could reach US$2.3 trillion by 2022.
(Source: International Chamber of Commerce).

Covert security – Ultraviolet inks [UV], infrared [IR] inks, invisible taggants embedded in substrates, and inks with other specialized markers—features you can see only with proprietary devices. These features include:

  • Thermally or magnetically activated inks
  • Pantographs or anti-copy features
  • Visually discernable microtext
  • Scrambled indicia
  • Coin-reactive inks

Visible Digital Codes with hidden secure graphics covert solutions—features are invisible to the average person but detected upon inspection by a trained individual utilizing a specific device.

  • Invisible security inks activated by illumination in invisible spectral wavelengths
  • Hidden images or digital watermarks
  • Micro taggants (machine readable or visible on high magnification)
  • Hidden microtext or micro printing
  • Marks in die-cut profile
  • Deliberate mistakes in small printing fonts or other marks

Forensic – Molecular taggants, DNA, nanoparticle coatings—features only detectable with laboratory equipment.

  • Forensic markers
  • DNA-type inks for forensic examination
  • Spectrographic signature analysis

Digital – A host of solutions, which can include the above, relating to numeric values or digital symbology that enable users to look up related product authentication data either via the internet or through a proprietary localized database.

Most highly secure overt and covert inks available today are compatible with essentially all conventional or digital printing, and applicable on most substrates such as labels, seals, closures, etc. They are also customizable in a variety of colors and coating types.

A winning appearance

Today’s anti-counterfeiting and brand protection technology advancements embody the aesthetic qualities for which your brand is recognized. Beyond maintaining an attractive package on the shelf, it is important to understand what authentication features will satisfy the key stakeholders within your organization. And how will you be able to detect counterfeiting in the field and enforce the law when needed? All of these factors need to be considered and prioritized when working through the various options.

We understand the challenges you face and can help identify and rapidly implement the product security that makes sense. Our 25 years of experience have helped us to design our many technologies to seamlessly integrate within existing ecosystems, such as packaging, printing, manufacturing and other production partners, with the primary goal of limited disruption to existing processes. Contact us to get started.

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