GI — Geographic Indication

Over the next couple of months, I will be undertaking to do some research related to Geographic Indication. I’ll be asking the question of how efficient it is for an origin producer of a commodity product to use GI as a strategy for economic development and product recognition.

Here’s what I’ve seen so far:

1) In the Global South, the most successful instance of GI has been Colombia.

The ubiquitous and famous Juan Valdez and his donkey are known around the world, and Colombia is synonymous with quality coffee;

2) GI is used extensively in Europe: think Scotch Whiskey or Reggian Parmigiano cheese;

3) There seems to be a relationship between tourism and GI, which is interesting given the fact that former is consumed in situ, whereas the latter is for export;

4) GI — like Tea Campaign — is all about quality and purity. Standards are prescribed at law and marks are copyright protected;

5) Because of quality, GI has a vested and intimately connected drive to improve its environs for the benefit of its population. Tea Campaign has invested heavily with the WWF in Darjeeling and built its reforestation Project SERVE over many years (see http://www.teacampaign.ca/pages/reforestation).

Over the summer I’m looking forward to exploring the topic more fully and sharing the findings.