A colleague who follows this blog sent me the following short piece.  I found it to be a thoughtful and interesting observation.  I have the feeling that this line of thought is not welcomed within the FSC staff group lately.  It should be.

The real challenge is always to find a good balance between credibility and practicability for mainstream markets. If you ask lots of information, you might end up with a very credible system – but the high workload for the companies also means that no one will be using it. So the real challenge becomes: Which information are you willing to exclude from the scope of the system?  We know what the bottom line for our credibility is: In order to know which volume went from A to B, we need to know who A and B are and whether they are certified. The more questions we add, for example for monitoring and evaluation or in our stakeholder environment, the more potential clients we lose. We can imagine the best system – but if the best is not possible, the possible is best. This is a challenge: How can we make sure that the balance is right in the middle between ease and rigidity?  In the end, my main advice for trace-ability would be; to keep it simple, keep it credible, keep it transparent.

I particularly like the last phrase.  That’s what Chain of Custody should be about:  credibility, transparency, and simplicity.  We all three to be successful.  Let’s try to remember that.