NEN proposal for Chain of Custody accepted by ISO

By Alexander Ellebrecht | September 21, 2016

The Dutch initiative for the establishment of an ISO/PC Chain of Custody (CoC) standard has been accepted by ISO. This is great news, not only for the initiator, NEN, but also for all stakeholders and consumers. With the adoption of the proposal, transparency and streamlining in the supply chain are one step closer.

Consumers and producers are increasingly concerned with transparency in the supply chain and the origin of materials and ingredients of products. Again and again, it appears that discussions are difficult because of terminology used in various CoC systems. This leads to confusion and unclear expectations regarding the level of traceability.

Moreover, the complexity and the associated costs are a barrier to entry, particularly for smaller companies and developing countries. Also the fact that for different kinds of products different kinds of Chain of Custody models are needed, does not contribute to a streamlined and less bureaucratic process. This was the reason that NEN and the Dutch industry and government teamed up to develop an initiative for a generic Chain of Custody (CoC) standard and to submit this to the ISO standard to be further developed within the overall context of ISO. This proposal was adopted on August 2nd.

Streamlined Chain of Custody models

A large group of Dutch stakeholders, which include industry, government, certification bodies, round tables, supply chain experts and service providers, has supported the proposal to develop an international standard for CoC.

Hugo Byrnes, Vice President of Ahold Delhaize Product Integrity, is, as a stakeholder, very pleased that the proposal is adopted. "For suppliers to a company like ours, which sells many different products, it is particularly useful to be able to demonstrate, using an ISO standard, that your products meet the Chain of Custody requirements. All ISO or private standards can relate to the new Chain of Custody norm. This applies to all companies, especially those companies that produce a lot of different products, including their suppliers. Using the ISO CoC standard, they can easily demonstrate that their supply chain is in order. So in the future, multiple system checks of different CoC will be a thing of the past. "

Transparency using Chain of Custody models

It saves so much time and paperwork, but there are more advantages, says Byrnes. "The consumer has become more critical of what's in their products. We, as Ahold Delhaize, want to make sure that the ingredient, a cocoa bean, for example, which has been certified on the other side of the globe, is the same bean that ends up in our product. This is now possible.

We can first obtain the original certificate. If that certificate is correct, we can, on the basis of the new CoC standard, assure that this is also the ingredient that ultimately ends up in the final product. We are no longer dependent on all the other parties in the chain that guarantee us that the ingredient is correct. Because everyone will soon work with the same standard, transparency increases but so does the guarantee that all ingredients meet our requirements. We therefore limit the risks that one 'bad' ingredient, for example made by children, ends up in our products."

ChainPoint Chain of Custody solutions

An important aspect in ensuring chain compliance in terms of sustainability and food safety is traceability – the ability to trace individual ingredients within a product back to their origin. There are a number of so-called Chain of Custody models that are used to maintain different levels of traceability. In order to formalise and harmonise these Chain of Custody models, the NEN, the Dutch knowledge network for standards development and implementation, has initiated the development of an ISO norm for Chain of Custody.

ChainPoint has been supporting NEN in this process from the beginning, sharing our knowledge and expertise in the implementation of various Chain of Custody models along national and international supply chains spanning many sectors.

Retailers, manufacturing, raw material suppliers and standards organisations rely on ChainPoint’s Chain of Custody software platform to integrate supply chain data. ChainPoint allows organisations to ensure that certified ingredients, covering a range of commodities, are traceable across the whole supply chain, even when Chain of Custody data passes through many separate IT systems in the chain.

More information on Chain of Custody models

 This article originally appeared on the website of and has been translated.

The original article in Dutch can be found here

    Recent Posts