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The Project

The Global Trace Protocol project is developing traceability tools and approaches to help identify and eliminate the risk of child and forced labor in supply chains.

The project addresses barriers in supply chain traceability. It develops and shares open, accessible and replicable tools to advance knowledge on supply chain tracing and scale the adoption of traceability solutions in different sectors.  

LRQA lead the Global Trace Protocol project, funded by ILAB and supported by consortium partners Diginex, the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS), the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), and RCS Global. 

Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL-35808-20-75-K-. 100 percent of the total costs of the project or program is financed with federal funds, for a total of USD 4,000,000.*

Introducing Global Trace

Icon of the number 1 in a rectangle What will it do for me?

The tool enables brands and other stakeholders to trace products and detect supplier risk through the entire supply chain, from production through to final purchase.

Icon of the number 2 in a rectangle How does it work?

Global Trace takes data to visualize a real-time snapshot of the risks in your supply chain. It is fully customizable and can be tailored to the specifics of your supply chains of your supply chain traceability program.

Icon of the number 3 in a rectangle What are my next steps?

This page contains further information about Global Trace, as well as opportunities to get in touch with LRQA if you would like to learn more. You can also start implementing Global Trace today, by accessing the open-source code directly from the US Department of Labor’s GitLab page.

The Global Trace Protocol

The Global Trace Protocol is a set of policies and procedures designed to assist brands and other stakeholders in tracing products throughout their supply chains 

Icon of the number 1 in a rectangle Is the Protocol linked to the tool?

It is separate from the tool and will help you understand terminology, scope and requirements before you launch a traceability program.   


Icon of the number 2 in a rectangle What’s within the Protocol?

The protocol is a written document, split into four sections of expert guidance that help you iteratively build your traceability system. From establishing your goals, to determining your due diligence approach, designing the traceability system and having a method for continuous improvement. 

Icon of the number 3 in a rectangle How do I access it?

The protocol is currently being developed between LRQA and the US Department of Labor. Once complete, it will be made freely available. 

Global Trace features

Global Trace can be configured to meet the unique requirements of different supply chain traceability programs. A sample of the views that can be used are: 

1 Customize traceability

Global Trace is commodity-agnostic and totally customizable, meaning you can tailor the tool precisely to your supply chain and to the goods you would like to trace. Define each product, its attributes and ESG indicators to your specification. 

2 Brand view 

For brands, Global Trace presents a real-time, visualized map of the supply chain suppliers and sub-suppliers of your products. Easily access further information about each supplier, or export out the data as a PDF for detailed viewing and evidence purposes. 

3 Product journey

Suppliers can use Global Trace together with brands to input requested data and events across a product’s journey—including purchasing, product transformations, sales, logistics or other types of processing.

4 Visualize labor rights 

Global Trace features a simple and intuitive visualization of labor conditions and worker’s rights for each supplier. You can access further, detailed information and see specific events that contributed to the risk level currently attributed to the supplier.  

Global Trace FAQs

Why do I need a traceability tool?

Your obligation as a business today is to perform risk-based due-diligence through your supply chain. Global Trace allows you to identify and address risks, and produce an integrated report for management and evidence purposes.  

Why use Global Trace?

Global Trace is a user-friendly, open-source alternative to other expensive and unconnected tools. It has been designed and tested with real, on-the-ground experience of how to prevent forced labor and child labor in opaque, dangerous and challenging environments.  

Can I trace any commodity with Global Trace?

Yes, Global Trace is commodity agnostic and adaptable, so that users can track any goods, and add other indicators related to responsible sourcing requirements. 

Who created Global Trace?

Global Trace has been developed by LRQA in cooperation with the US Department of Labor, with input from other US Government stakeholders. The project has been funded by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs.  

Who will manage Global Trace?

Global Trace is currently under the stewardship of LRQA as it develops further. Other organizations  can fork a copy of the software to host and manage an instance on their own servers.

Who can access Global Trace?

Anybody can access the open-source code for Global Trace at the US Department of Labor’s GitHub page. If implemented into your business, permissions and roles can be set by the super administrator for access levels. 

How do I input data into Global Trace?

As a brand or entity running a traceability program, data is input via the suppliers in your chain. Numerous sources of open-source data exist. You can also purchase data and assessments from third-party providers—including LRQA. 

Is it free?

Yes, Global Trace is free, open-source and ready for integration with other due diligence tools.

Can we pilot this on a select number of supply chains in our business?

Yes, Global Trace is simply a tool that you can use to support a specific traceability program. You can trace any number of commodities and products within a supply chain.

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Access the source code

Software developers can download, fork and customize Global Trace today.

Visit the US Department of Labor’s GitHub

Global Trace Protocol 

Key content areas from the protocol 

Establish traceability goals and scope

The section details the initial steps in establishing a traceability program. It offers a strategy for assessing regulatory standards, identifying due diligence requirements, and determining scope based International Labor Rights & Standards.

Icon of a circuit in a family tree structure

Determining the due diligence approach

This section focuses on determining your specific due diligence management approach and how traceability fits into that picture. This includes choosing the products to trace, mapping your supply chain, and selecting the appropriate chain of custody models for different goods.

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Design traceability system requirements

This section describes how to set up a traceability system and collect the appropriate data elements. It offers suggestions for adapting your chosen traceability tool for your suppliers, as well as valuable data management techniques, including data interoperability.

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Continuous improvement, remedy, and reporting

This section emphasizes the importance of ongoing evaluation and enhancement of due diligence and traceability protocols, including performance indicators, non-compliance resolutions, and corrective action plan development.

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Global Trace Protocol FAQs

Why use Global Trace Protocol?

Your obligation as a business today is to perform risk-based due-diligence through your supply chain. Global Trace Protocol helps you design, implement and evaluate your traceability efforts. 

How should I use it?

The Protocol is an educational, pre-emptive document that should be read before readers begin a traceability project. If you are unsure of where to begin in your traceability journey, start here. 

How is this connected to the Global Trace tool?

The Protocol and the tool have been created together and can be used together, though this is not necessary. They are separate items, both informed by real-world experience. 

Should I read this before using Global Trace?

If you already have a strong understanding of traceability and labor rights, this is not necessary, though it may be helpful to validate or develop your approach. Global Trace has its own separate documentation on the GitHub page. 

Can I use the Protocol with any tracing tool?

Yes. The Protocol is an educational document, and the information gleaned can be used to assist you regardless of the tool you use to trace. 

Global Trace Protocol will be ready to read in Q3 2024

To register your interest in reading and using the Global Trace Protocol, contact us at the link below.

Contact Us

Essential reading 

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Traceability and labor rights: Glossary

Access our Glossary to familiarise yourself with terminology and concepts

Read Glossary

The Pakistan cotton pilot

Results, lessons learned and next steps for sustainability

Read the report

Read our blog and press releases

Advancing Ethical Supply Chains

An image of cobalt mineral in the ground

The Global Trace Protocol (GTP) Project team visited mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to support the goal of helping to reduce child and forced labor in global supply chains through traceability.

Read more

Key Concepts: Due Diligence and Traceability

An image of inside a sewing factory

Effective due diligence is the cornerstone of business success, especially as brands navigate complex supply chains amid growing ethical and regulatory pressures. Discover how supply chain due diligence and traceability can protect against risks.

Read More

Pakistan Flooding and the Damages to Farm Workers and Cotton Production

An image of farmers next to a flooded area

Discover how the Global Trace Protocol can help safeguard against child labor and secure the livelihood of farmers contending with increasingly common and costly natural disasters.

Read more

Get in touch

To learn more about Global Trace and how it can help you in your traceability program, get in touch with us.

Contact Us
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* This material does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United States Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the United States Government.