Glossary of Traceability Terms

Traceability terminology for textile supply chain professionals.

Batch-level or Lot-level data

Granular information pertaining to a defined quantity of a material or product that is processed together.


Bill of Material (BOM)

This is a list of the raw materials and components, plus the quantities of each, needed to manufacture a product.


A digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

This is a form of self-regulation that businesses use to instigate philanthropic, activist, or charitable initiatives whereby they engage in or support volunteering practices.

Certificate of Origin

This is proof that a product was manufactured in a specific country or region, used to comply with due diligence legislation. 

Chain of Custody (CoC)

As materials move through the value chain, a Chain of Custody can be created by each handler recording critical information about the lot and its associated claims. 


A model of production and consumption that focuses on sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible.


Adhering to requirements that are decreed by laws and regulations. 

Decentralized Data

The process of attaching data to a product, rather than the owner of a product, using blockchain technology.


The process of converting, streamlining and converging analogue information from emails, PDFs and Excel spreadsheets into a digital format on a unified system. 

Due Diligence

The process of auditing your supply chain to identify, mitigate, and account for potential environmental and social issues.


Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

A software system that allows brands to manage everyday business operations like accounting, supply chain operations, compliance and risk management.

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG)

A measurement that companies use to evaluate the extent to which their operations impact three core pillars of sustainability.

Evidence request

The process of contacting suppliers, either digitally or manually, to ask for information about their operations in relation to a specific risk area.

Fiber Forward Traceability

This refers to the bottom-up process of tracing a product from the raw material phase to the end product in real-time.


This refers to data that has been broken up into different formats or across different platforms, leading to inefficiencies and inaccuracies.

Hard technology

This refers to asset-intensive, physical, science-based technology, including innovations that integrate into existing production systems.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

A methodology for assessing environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product’s life, from manufacturing to disposal.


Laws and regulations made by a government that businesses must adhere to.

Material-based claims

This refers to any declaration made by a business relating to the materials used to manufacture their products.

Product Backward Traceability

Otherwise known as top-down traceability, this refers to the process of tracking the supply chain of a product after it has been manufactured.


Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

Organizations use this to develop new products, as well as track and share data along the entire supply chain. 

Purchase Order (PO)

This is a document issued by a brand to a supplier which indicates the styles, quantities, and prices for products they have purchased.  

Real-time data

This refers to when information is collected about a material or product, in this case, it is recorded as the item moves through the value chain. 


This refers to the ability to expand or increase the implementation of a system or operation to a system-wide level. 

Soft technology

This refers to digital B2C solutions like rental and resale platforms, as well as B2B solutions like traceability software. 

Standardized data

This refers to the process of establishing common identifiers so that multiple systems auditing different or overlapping issues can exchange and collate information. 


A supplier is any actor within a supply chain that is involved in the sourcing, manufacturing, or transportation of a material or product.

Sustainable financing

This refers to the acquisition of financial resources to implement improvements to facilities with a businesses supply chain.

Third-party audits

This refers to independent groups that perform on-the-ground assessments of facilities to ensure that they’re working in compliance with certifications.


Supply chains are commonly divided into tiers where different functions are performed to transform raw material into a finished product. 


The ability to trace the history, application, or location of a material or product through recorded identifications.


The relevant information that is available to all elements of the value chain in a standardized way, which allows common understanding, accessibility, clarity and comparison.


Weight-based calculations

This refers to the measurement of a material or product by its weight in order to determine the content make-up and instances of material wastage.

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