In the run-up to the launch of mandatory labeling of packaged drinking water, a delegation consisting of representatives of legislative and executive authorities of Russia visited the production complex of BAIKALSEA Company in Irkutsk.
On March 1, digital water labeling will start in Russia. Irkutsk region is one of the top 10 regions across Russia to join the Fair Mark labeling system, and is the leader of the Siberian Federal District to join the Fair Mark: the largest number of packaged water producers is concentrated here - 22 companies. BAIKALSEA Company is the largest bottled water producer in Siberia with a capacity of over 300 million liters of water per year.
Representatives of the State Duma, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Agriculture of Irkutsk region and the Center for Development of Advanced Technologies got acquainted with the production process and the labeling system. During the visit, the guests were presented with the results of the center of competence for product labeling. The center began its work in September 2021 and its main task is to help manufacturers of bottled water to get the most of practical information from the market, to prepare for the innovations and to start operating under the new rules. Many companies interested in gaining experience in labeling have already visited the Center's website to gain knowledge. In addition to water producers (Slavda LLC (Vladivostok), TASSAY, BratskAqua and Natural Beverages), these also include the representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, such as Evalar.
An active fight is ongoing in Russia against low-quality products and unscrupulous manufacturers, including in the drinking water market, said the State Duma deputy and a member of the Committee on Agricultural Affairs Sergei Lisovsky who visited the production complex BAIKALSEA Company in Irkutsk region. Online consultations have been set up for 67 companies so that everyone can be trained in the circumstances of the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic. The Center of Competence will continue to operate until 2025.
"The experience of implementing a digital labeling system for other product groups has proven that the Fair Mark allows us to identify counterfeit products, detect phantom enterprises, and also makes it possible to trace products from the manufacturer to the store shelf and understand how the product is made and from what raw materials it is made. All the advantages of digital labeling have become especially evident after the start of joint work with Mercury (electronic veterinary certification) system, there was a real opportunity to trace products from field to counter. In order to prevent counterfeit products and protect consumers, since March 1, 2022 a program of mandatory labeling of packaged drinking water will be launched, which will also contribute to the creation of fair competition in the industry, ensure proper control of the state over the use of such an important natural resource as drinking water, and most importantly - will guarantee water quality to the consumer, "- said deputy Sergei Lisovsky.
The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of BAIKALSEA Company Maksim Surnin, in his turn, stressed that the biggest advantage of the introduction of the digital labeling system will be the possibility to stop activities of companies that have produced water with violations of legal requirements and then packaged it.
"Consumers may suffer from this. At the same time, trust in bona fide producers is reduced, and often, as a result of such activities, irreparable damage is caused to unique natural ecosystems and natural water deposits. Therefore, the marking is important because it provides proof of the authenticity of the product and, therefore, its quality. For this reason, we consider it advisable to label children's water as well. We believe that labeling is an effective tool that will help make the market more transparent, as it is a tool for removing unscrupulous producers from the market. At the same time labeling is not a significant factor for bona fide manufacturers regarding a consequential increase the cost of products. Our company is fully prepared for the start of labeling on March 1," he said.
"The initiative to implement labeling of packaged water belongs to business. The Center for Development of Advanced Technologies has been discussing and developing labeling methods and processes with representatives of leading companies for quite a long time, and has conducted an experiment. Digital marking has repeatedly proven its effectiveness. Mainly, it makes the counterfeit trade meaningless," said Kirill Volkov, head of the Excise-Free Commodity Group Department at the Center for Development of Advanced Technologies.
Manufacturers and importers registered in the Fair Mark will be able to receive information from the operator of the Center for Development of Advanced Technologies system about the current owner of the goods produced by them, the number of goods in circulation and sold, as well as access to information about the amount of goods sold up to the addresses of retail outlets and access to data on average retail prices for their products by region. This will provide brands with another strong digital protection tool.
Specialists from the Higher School of Economics note that business can get up to 200 billion rubles of additional income annually from access to data. Thanks to detailed information about the structure of trade flows, manufacturers and importers will be able to reduce inventory levels and exclude the least efficient intermediaries from commodity chains. Such measures will save up to 48 billion rubles a year. Improving the quality of accounting, automation of warehouses and saving on debt financing will save companies up to 9.4 billion rubles a year.
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