Geographical Indication – place-linked quality of products

Geographical indication of product quality

Mexican Tequila, Darjeeling Tea, Roquefort cheese, French Champagne, Italian Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese, Ecuadorian Cacao Arriba, Colombian Coffee, South African Rooibos herbal tea, Scotch whisky, Munich beer or Phu Quoc fish sauce from Vietnam. These are all famous examples of origin-linked indication of product quality. Hearing such product names provides an affirmation with customers about trustworthy quality, a long tradition in the production and legal brand protection.

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Animal welfare as a quality attribute

Importance of extrinsic quality requirements

When shopping, consumers are, first of all, concerned that food is hygienically safe and free of harmful substances. These intrinsic properties can be checked directly with the product, e.g. by laboratory testing. Despite occasionally occurring non-conformities and food scandals, in general, food management systems, product standards and controls ensure the necessary food safety and product quality.

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Quality infrastructure helps to meet the Sustainable Development Goals

In a previous blog post, we asked whether a new definition of quality is needed. Our answer was affirmative, emphasizing that nowadays quality must always be measured by how it relates to environmental, social and economic sustainability.

In this post, we follow this logic to examine the relationship between Quality Infrastructure (QI) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in more detail. In 2015 the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which provides a framework for peace and prosperity for the planet and its people. 17 SDGs form the core of the 2030 Agenda. The SDGs demand concerted action in a global partnership to end poverty and other sufferings, improve human health and education, reduce inequality, foster economic growth, combat climate change and preserve oceans and forests.

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Quality Infrastructure for an African single market

African Integration Day, 2020 July 7

African countries are slowly increasing their economic exchange, but trade with countries outside the continent is still dominant. Whereas in 1995 intra-African exports accounted for only 10% of total African exports, this share rose to 17% in 2017. By comparison, interregional exports in Europe are worth 69% of total exports.[1] These numbers show the enormous potential of a continent’s economic integration.

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Do we need a new definition of quality?

A comment of Merih Malmqvist Nilsson at a UNIDO Webinar inspired us to write this blog post. Mrs Malmquist is the former head of the Swedish accreditation body SWEDAC, chairs the International Network of Quality Infrastructure (INetQI) and works as a consultant. She believes that the definition of quality in terms of functionality and safety is no longer sufficient and that we need to add sustainability as another dimension. Similar to the triple bottom line (Profit, People and Planet) for enterprises, we need to measure quality also by the ecological and social impact.

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