A Guide to Traceability: A Practical Approach to Advance Sustainability in Global Supply Chains

The UN Global Compact and BSR are pleased to issue this guide to help companies and stakeholders understand and advance supply chain traceability, which is the process of identifying and tracking a product or component’s path from raw material to finished good. This guide represents more than a year of work in preparation, research and interviews.

The purpose of this guide is to provide an overview of the importance of traceability for sustainability purposes, outline the global opportunities and challenges it represents and summarize practical steps for implementing traceability programmes within companies. Research for this guide revealed that traceability is a tremendously impactful tool for advancing sustainability objectives, but it still has a long way to go before it is an integral part of sustainable supply chain management and is used widely by companies. At present, only a very small percentage of commodities are traceable on sustainability attributes. Traceability must be a collaborative effort. This guide aims to show companies and stakeholders the benefits of working together to implement a common approach to traceability across commodities.