Traceability is rapidly becoming or is already a major issue for many commodities. The widely accepted definition of traceability from the International Organization for Standards (ISO) is as follows, “The ability to identify and trace the history, distribution, location and application of products, parts and materials, to ensure the reliability of sustainability claims, in the areas of human rights, labour (including health & safety), the environment and anti-corruption.” However, brand protection is also an important aspect of traceability.
A wide swathe of regulation, consumer demand and advocacy is driving traceability across almost every aspect of the commodities industry. A quick review of traceability on Google this morning highlights the point with recent articles regarding,
– Cattle and livestock traceability where producers are already required to maintain records that show the origin for many classes of cattle when entering interstate commerce and not going directly to slaughter,
– The EU considering new rules on traceability and security of tobacco products,
– Discussion around the use of ear tags for traceability of sheep and goats in Australia,
– A new program to make the US Seafood supply chain more traceable. Importers will be required to report information and maintain records about the harvest, landing and chain of custody of fish and fish products for certain species,
– An American bakery that has partnered with millers and farmers to make an unenriched, non-GMO, clean flour to make its bread that is 100% traceable, and
– An industry-wide initiative in the Vanilla bean area to improve traceability and sustainability.
Traceability is now a major requirement in the Commodity Management/CTRM software market and those requirements are moving pretty quickly. The recent Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act in the US, for example, now allows customs to seize product based on suspicion of use of child labor and it is up to the owner of the product to prove that this is not the case. This is just one piece of legislation driving traceability in the industry. Of course, some solutions are able to handle traceability and supply chain tracking to some level already including some Commodity Management solutions,PCR and Generation 10 but others will need to act fast to catch up with this rapidly moving requirement.