Traceability assessments identify where and how suppliers operate while tracing products and materials through the supply chain. The knowledge gained through this process can help mitigate supply chain risks like corruption and validate sustainability claims which can be integral to a brand’s identity and integrity. Through traceability efforts, a brand can then create a rich narrative supporting their product’s social good and sustainability.

Supply chains are increasingly complex. Unfamiliarity with suppliers and their practices poses risk to brands, retailers and manufacturers. Consumers are increasingly demanding full disclosure of a product’s content, supply chain practices and expect suppliers to operate with the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility.

Traceability assessments can be applied to a myriad of product types in expansive vertical markets – from beef and dairy to electronics, furniture and textiles such as cotton, cashmere and down.

Traceability objectives vary among organizations and product types. ARCHE Advisors is uniquely positioned to customize the approach for each customer.

Why Invest in Independent Third-Party Traceability?

Verification / Risk Management

Tracing products and supply chains provides verification on how suppliers operate and provide relevant information to help make economical sustainable business decisions. It helps build a complete traceability roadmap – a valuable tool for mitigating sourcing and reputation risk.

Critical Points / Gap Identification

The traceability process includes the identification of critical points along the supply chain that aid in establishing a chain of custody, including raw material origin, material collection, labeling, handling, transport, storage, segregation of material and key transformation activities. The scope may also include labor treatment, animal welfare and environmental conditions related to worker and animal health.

Alliances / Capacity Building

Traceability offers opportunities for increased supplier engagement and new strategic alliances. When a supplier has a clear understanding of a customer’s objectives this can lead to cooperative efforts and training programs and, ultimately, capacity building.

Claims Substantiation / Marketing

The tracing process is very valuable for content claims substantiation needed for branding and marketing. Programs vary depending on the customer’s goals.

  • Basic verification: Brands in this category are typically only looking for verifiable sustainability of raw material/product. They want some type of certification or underwriting and nothing else, i.e. to help them stay out of media.
  • Verifiable inventory with general marketing story potential: These brands want to "sleep well” and also see an opportunity to cater in some way to the consuming public that wants a sustainable message around their product(s), but don't want too much detail.
  • Verifiable, traceable inventory with a marketing strategy to promote grower relationships and continuous improvement: Brands in this arena have a strategy to communicate to the customer its company efforts and differentiation in “product sustainability” production and require a robust program.

Continuous Improvement

Traceability activities verify whether or not a customer is getting the product/material they are expecting and provide information that can impact business decisions regarding purchasing, quality, safety, sustainability, supplier selection, training, product claims, and corrective actions if needed.

Why ARCHE Advisors?

With decades of extensive CSR field audit experience and knowledge, our team has the technical expertise to understand and assess specific product types and their unique production processes. We are recognized for credibility and flexibility and serve customers with creative fitting solutions.

ARCHE Advisors builds custom traceability programs, working very closely as a partner with each customer to ensure project scope and all objectives are understood and successfully met. We have expertise with a myriad of products sources including apparel, food/beverages, agriculture products (dairy, beef, grain, wool, cotton, cashmere, tobacco, etc.), forest products, electronics and more. Each product source is different and requires adaptability of both criteria and audit methodology to each context.

ARCHE Attributes:

  • Highest ethical and moral standards; trustworthy
  • Flexible creative team; “fit for purpose” approach
  • Vast and deep CSR field experience and knowledge
  • Committed to transparent communication and quality of work
  • Pioneered notable traceability validation protocols
  • On-the-ground “street smarts”
  • Ability to vet nuances, connect dots, uncover important issues
  • Thorough investigators conducting due diligence, aligning written and physical evidence along the traceability course

Building a Traceability Standard, Roadmap, System

ARCHE experts collaborate with customers and their on-the-ground procurement and social responsibility teams to trace product components and map their supply chains. Our phased “fit for purpose” approach includes:

  • Project Scope / Supply Chain Mapping
  • Traceability Standard / Guiding Principles
  • Methodology / Traceability Management System
  • Audit Protocol / Assessment
  • Comprehensive Report / Score Card

For more information about our Traceability Program, please contact Greg Gardner, President and CEO, ARCHE Advisors,