Responsible Raw Materials Initiative

What is the difference between traceability and chain of custody?

Chain of custody refers to all steps in a supply chain that take possession of the product, including miners, transporters, exporters, processors and manufacturers. It provides record of the sequence of entities that have custody of minerals as they move through a supply chain that allows the ability to trace a material back to its origin. A credible chain-of-custody system supports the truthfulness of mineral origin claims.  Chain of custody will include documentation such as mine origin certificate, transport documentation, export and import records and factory receipts.

Traceability means the ability to follow the trail of minerals along the supply chain by monitoring and tracking chain of custody. For example, by using the chain of custody system, auditors can trace material to the mine and country of origin.