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Sedex Members Ethical Trade SMETA Audit Process


Summary: Many businesses are now making an effort to maintain ethical standards. The Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) is widely acknowledged as an audit method that supports this commitment. This guide offers insights, into the SMETA audit process, highlighting its role in advancing sustainability and ethical business practices.

SMETA, established by the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) is renowned globally as a platform dedicated to ensuring compliance. It follows the ETI Base Code, which sets out principles for business behavior. The audit process, referred to as the 2 pillar audit involves evaluating labor standards and implementing business practices.

What Does SMETA Stand For?

SMETA stands for Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit, recognized as one of the methodologies for audits worldwide. Crafted by Sedex, a platform, for ethical business practices SMETA assists organizations in evaluating social compliance within their supply chains. It addresses labor regulations, workplace safety, ethical conduct and working conditions.

Significance of Social Compliance Checks

In today’s consumer-driven market where buyers are increasingly mindful of product origins social compliance checks hold importance. These assessments ensure that companies uphold trading standards and advocate for the treatment of workers throughout their supply chains. Through checks, businesses showcase their dedication to responsibility and earn the confidence of customers and stakeholders.

Insight into the SMETA Audit Approach

SMETA, which stands for Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit, is a widely used ethical audit methodology designed to assess social and ethical performance in supply chains. It was developed by the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex), a global non-profit organization dedicated to driving improvements in responsible and ethical business practices in supply chains.

The Four Pillar Review

The SMETA audit approach revolves around four areas; labor standards, workplace safety, environmental impact and business ethics. Auditors assess criteria under each pillar during evaluations. By focusing on these pillars SMETA offers an in depth analysis of a companys social compliance performance.

The Two Pillar Review

Aside from the Four Pillar Audit method SMETA also provides a Two Pillar Audit option. This streamlined version concentrates, on labor standards and workplace safety aspects.
It proves to be quite beneficial, for suppliers who have already tackled environmental and business ethics concerns or for evaluations.

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Carrying out a SMETA Audit

Carrying out a SMETA audit involves several steps to ensure a comprehensive assessment of social and ethical performance in a supply chain. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to conduct a SMETA audit:

Preparation and Organization

Before initiating a SMETA audit it is crucial to make preparations. This includes defining the audit scope, identifying suppliers and establishing a requirements checklist. Effective planning ensures that the audit process runs smoothly and achieves its objectives.

On-Site Inspection

During the on-site audit, a qualified auditor visits the supplier’s facilities to assess compliance with the SMETA methodology. The auditor interviews management and employees reviews documentation and conducts site inspections. This thorough assessment provides insights into the supplier’s social compliance practices.

Audit Corrective Measures Plan

Upon completing the on-site audit the auditor compiles an audit report that outlines findings, areas of noncompliance and opportunities for improvement. Based on this report the supplier can devise a plan of action to address identified issues. The audit report and corrective measures plan serve as documents showcasing the supplier’s dedication to compliance.

Advantages of SMETA, for Supply Chains

SMETA audits offer advantages in establishing sustainable supply chains. They provide a standardized assessment approach that facilitates comparisons and benchmarking across suppliers. Furthermore, SMETA assessments enhance working conditions, labor standards and health and safety practices across supply chains. Moreover, the reports generated through SMETA are shared on the Sedex platform, enabling stakeholders to access information regarding a supplier’s adherence to compliance.

Utilizing the Sedex Platform

Sedex provides an option for assessments, allowing suppliers to disclose and report social audit data. This virtual assessment feature simplifies the auditing process and reduces expenses. Lessens the necessity for physical visits. Companies can efficiently oversee their social compliance endeavors using the Sedex platform.

Promoting Social Responsibility through SMETA Audits

By conducting SMETA evaluations companies demonstrate a commitment to responsibility. Beyond compliance requirements, SMETA promotes practices that contribute to a sustainable future. Through evaluations, SMETA audits pinpoint areas for improvement. Assist companies in making impactful changes that benefit employees, communities and the environment.

Addressing Challenges and Audit Exhaustion

While SMETA audits offer advantages companies may encounter obstacles along the way. Audit exhaustion is one challenge that arises when suppliers undergo audits from different clients. To tackle this issue effectively Sedex and SMETA advocate, for audit collaboration where multiple clients accept and acknowledge an audit report. This method lessens the workload, for suppliers. Encourages teamwork, among those involved.

FAQ | SMETA Audit Process

SMETA stands for Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit.

The purpose of a SMETA audit is to assess social compliance in supply chains, focusing on labor standards, health and safety, business ethics, and working conditions.

The SMETA audit methodology consists of four pillars: labor standards, health and safety, environment, and business ethics.

Yes, SMETA audits can be conducted virtually through the Sedex platform’s virtual assessment feature, reducing costs and minimizing on-site visits.

SMETA audits provide standardized assessment methodology, improve working conditions, and promote transparency through published reports in the Sedex system.

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Arne Reis


Arne Reis, Founder of flowdit

Combines practical innovation with a focus on quality.

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