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April 27, 2009

The Trace Back Trend

We have become familiar with companies touting their local-ness and their carbon footprint (either for the entire organization or even for an item for sale in the case of Patagonia's FootPrint Chronicles), and now it seems that many “grass-roots” or “hand-made” companies are now touting their ‘trace-back factor’, allowing for a greater level of production transparency and the opportunity for consumers to connect more with their products.

This business strategy has been discussed by Springwise and Ode among others. Some of our favorite examples include:

1. Golden Hook gives you an opportunity to not only design your own wool or bamboo hat, but also to choose the granny that will make it for you.

2. Icebreaker, a New Zealand company, created the BaaCode, which allows you to trace your garment back to the specific sheep that helped to create it.

3. Similarly the Beerenberg Jam Company created the Provenance Pathway, which allows you to trace your jam back to the strawberry field from which it came. You can see who cooked the jam, how it was made, and where the other ingredients came from!

So interesting, right?!

We are curious about how these features have changed these companies relationships with their customers.

* How could you employ some element of transparency or trace back in your company or service?
* What if you are a service company?
* How would you share that information with your customers?

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