The founders of the Global Commerce Initiative say one of their key tasks will be to ensure the proliferation of web based trading exchanges does not create a new barrier to worldwide trade. The pledge came in the week that Nestlé and Danone set up; top retailers and manufacturers in the US announced plans for an electronic marketplace; and retailers Sainsbury and Metro joined GlobalNetXchange. To date, 200 of these b2b exchanges have been formed ­ although only a handful are truly active. Procter & Gamble boss Durk Jager is convinced the industry will make the new extranets open and says they will play only a small part in the development of the open access, better managed supply chain of the future. But Christian Koffmann, a top director with Johnson & Johnson, told this week's ECR Europe conference in Turin: "The danger is we can see new extranets popping up almost every week. The GCI will try to convince people to regroup under common standards and procedures." And Tesco chief executive Terry Leahy warned against the creation of competing proprietary standards, saying: "What we need are common, open standards and democratic networks." The GCI was formed last year by major suppliers and retailers to draw up global standards in five key areas: EDI, product identification, intelligent tagging, a global ECR scorecard, and industry extranets. The first version of a global ECR Scorecard covering 80% of the best practice needs of most companies has now been launched. It uses simple, practical language, making it easy to understand. And it is web based ­ ­ to provide ease of access and allow quick benchmarking of results with peer companies. {{NEWS }}