Supply chain assessment and traceability
The origins of materials in supply chains are known or controlled to a sufficient extent to determine that the production and processing units of origin comply with commitments.
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Stage of the ethical supply chain journey
Implement ethical supply chains
Origins of materials in supply chains are known or controlled to a sufficient extent to ascertain that the production and processing units of origin comply with commitments, or to determine the extent and nature of issues that must be resolved. This Principle applies to companies that purchase raw, processed, or manufactured materials (from processors through to retailers).
Supplies of raw or processed materials are assessed for non-compliance or risk of non-compliance with company commitments, applicable law related to the Accountability Framework’s scope, and adverse impacts to internationally-recognized human rights. If risk assessments are used to prioritize further traceability and supply chain management activities, they follow good practices for credibility, transparency, and accurate risk characterizations. Effective monitoring or control systems – including certification programmes, government monitoring and enforcement systems, jurisdictional initiatives, risk screening tools, and trader-managed control systems – may be utilized to identify supplies that are lower-risk for one or more social or environmental issues (see Operational Guidance on Supply Chain Management).
Where risk levels for one or more social and environmental issues are moderate, high, or unknown:
- Primary processors and first intermediary traders know the origin of raw materials to the level of the farm, estate, plantation, ranch, or forest management unit. For smallholders, origin is known at least to the level of the farmer group, with more detailed mapping conducted where necessary to assess fulfillment of commitments. If traceability to these levels is not initially available, then it is progressively improved to these levels over a predefined timeline, prioritizing the riskiest settings.
- Buyers downstream of the first intermediary (e.g., manufacturers and retailers) trace supplies upstream until they are able to ascertain compliance or determine the extent and nature of non-compliances that must be resolved. This requirement may be met using information provided by suppliers that conform to the applicable elements of the Accountability Framework, including those related to supply chain management.
Apply the Principle
Smallholder Inclusion in Ethical Supply Chains
Supply Chain Management
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