When people envision traceability, they probably see a world where for every product a consumer buys, the exact origin is known. When someone buys a piece of fruit in a store, they should be able to know on what acre on what farm it was grown. This is in line which want modern consumers want, but not always a viable reality.
Chain of Custody models
Supply chains from farmer to consumer tend to very complex, especially in our modern global economy. That's why when ChainPoint talks about traceability, we talk about different Chain of Custody models. Each model represents a phase of the supply chain’s development towards sustainable sourcing.
One of the less understood models is the so-called Book & Claim model. In this model a sustainability claim made by a company is separated by the physical flow of these goods. The most well known example of this is green energy. When people buy green energy, it would be impossible to know whether the energy coming out of their power outlet was generated with wind or solar energy. Power companies buy green certificates which represent the environmental value of renewable energy generated. This can also be applied to other industries, as we see in our work with the Round Table on Responsible Soy.
Book & Claim a sustainable driver
So if a sustainability claim is not tied to a physical product, how can this lead to more sustainable production and practices? By buying credits via a marketplace, companies will reward farmers and producers when they produce their products in a sustainable way. This will stimulate production of these sustainable materials which will strengthen the supply chain in the long run, allowing industries to enter the next step in their supply chain traceability.