Current stage:

Issue Prioritisation Development Selection Implementation

Improvement overview

The current MSC chain of custody (CoC) Standard (criteria 1.4) requires organisations to 'be able to demonstrate that the requirements of the CoC Standard are met by its subcontractors'. However, the Standard is not specific on how companies must implement this broad requirement or how this should be checked by auditors.

This program improvement item has reviewed the subcontractors requirements in response to feedback from clients, Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) and MSC staff. This item has now reached the implementation stage. New changes were released in CR version 1.4 on 31 January 2014 and become effective from 31 March 2014.

Current status

A series of public consultations, workshops with CABs, meetings of the MSC's Technical Advisory Board (TAB) and Board of Trustees (BoT) took place between 2013 and early 2014 to discuss on the proposal to clarify the CoC requirements for the use of subcontractors. The proposals have been approved with the follow changes.


Core requirements

New, more specific Certification Requirements on records to be kept by the certified companies which use contract processors and which provide contract processing services have been introduced.

Companies must be able to conduct a reconciliation of the total volumes of inputs and outputs of contract processed certified products.

This replaces the current clauses in Annex BD, which require certificate holders to provide details of the packaging, be able to reconcile all the packaging used by contract processors. This requirement was not currently well understood or followed.

Planned work

The revised requirements and guidance were published in the MSC CR version 1.4 on 31 January 2014 and are available to download at the MSC website.

The new changes will become effective and be fully implemented by all CABs and certificate holders from 31 March 2014.