GS1 UK is one of the most significant organisations in the global economy. They are a not-for-profit body that sets the standards for communication in global supply chain, and since 1969 these standards have formed the basis of a global business language that identifies, captures and shares key information on products around the world – the best known of these is the barcode.
In a complex and opaque world their standards give confidence and transparency by providing trusted data on product, people and place.
In stark contrast to their importance (Over 100 million products carry GS1 barcodes and they are scanned more than six billion times every day) is their brand recognition. They have tasked Cavendish with building awareness across the four nations of the UK by focusing on their ability to provide trusted data that can help policy makers with some of the biggest challenges facing them across environment, health, consumer safety and trade.
Key areas of support include:
We have identified a potential issue for UK retail with the development of Deposit Return Schemes in Wales, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland that were different in scope and could lead to a fragmented business environment. Furthermore, a digital DRS approach would make GS1 standards/QR codes integral to the solution. We implemented simultaneous engagement programme with officials and political decision makers across all four nations with the aim of ensuring they could see the issues with the current trajectory. This culminated recently in a unique roundtable that included the Chairs of the environmental scrutiny committees from the UK Parliament and each devolved legislature.
The inability to easily identify what is in our food and where food comes from puts millions of consumers at risk every day. High profile tragedies had inspired legislation like Natasha’s Law but there were issues with business preparedness and the confusion of new types of labelling being required. We put in place an engagement programme with No.10, BEIS and DHSC that illustrated the issues and that repurposing GS1 UK standards for QR/Barcodes can put key product information in the palm of consumers’ hands. With a simple scan, consumers shopping online or in store can find out what’s in their food and where their food came from. As a result, GS1 UK have been invited into key working groups in Government to help address these issues.
In the light of companies struggling with the complexity of costs, paperwork and delays resulting post Brexit checks we identified an opportunity for GS1 UK to put its standards forwards as a solution. This was based on the US/Canada border using barcode scanning, RFID, enhanced driving licences and automatic number plate recognition to make transition over their border quick and seamless. We have built relationships with key trade advisers, thought leaders and advisers to push this understanding. Of key importance has been using key Brexit figures to point Government towards using GS1 standards as an area that needs genuine scrutiny by civil servants.