Learn what is SMETA social audit, its pillars, importance, and benefits. Understand how SMETA audits can give visibility on business processes and help improve working conditions and the supply chain.
Published 31 Jan 2023
Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) is a globally recognized social auditing methodology developed by Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex) in order to provide visibility on suppliers’ business practices in the supply chain.
Sedex defined SMETA as a “social auditing methodology, enabling businesses to assess their sites and suppliers to understand working conditions in their supply chain.” Social auditing enables brands to demonstrate their commitment to human rights, and monitor worker health and safety. SMETA is relied on by buyers who want their suppliers to be audited, or by suppliers when their customers want them audited to address any issues.
SMETA audits are conducted by third-party companies or organizations approved by Sedex. They are known as a Sedex Affiliate Audit Company (AAC) or independent organizations from Sedex.
There are several key areas to consider when evaluating an organization’s socially responsible business operations and meeting social compliance requirements. They are:
A SMETA 2-Pillar audit comprises 2 standard areas:
(1) Labour Standards and;
(2) Health & Safety.
The standards contained in the ETI Base Code govern the 2-Pillars of a SMETA audit. These two are mandatory areas of assessment for any SMETA audit. It covers these areas:
Audit At the request of Sedex members, SMETA has now been extended with “business ethics” and the “environment” being added as optional pillars:
4 Pillars of SMETA
SMETA consists of four core documents that support the audits. SMETA may be used by any auditor or audit organization, including those who are not members of the Sedex organization. But an audit can only be referred to as a “SMETA Audit” if and only if it was conducted using the criteria outlined in the following documents:
The information that will be visible to site and customers are those contained in both the SMETA Audit Report and the CAPR.
Below is an infographic of how the SMETA audit is done. The auditing process works this way:
SMETA Auditing Process
The auditors will be checking the workplace if there is any unsafe working conditions, overwork, discrimination, low pay and forced working conditions which can be found in the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO). They will review the following areas according to SMETA:
Aside from providing visibility to your supply chain, conducting a SMETA audit entails profitable benefits such as:
SMETA can help you understand your business practices in greater depth and identify any areas where you could improve your business ethics. Equip your workplace before a SMETA audit takes place with SafetyCulture, the best mobile inspections and audit app used by auditors for conducting efficient auditing.
With SafetyCulture, you could do the following to support SMETA audits:
Check out related checklists to SMETA:
Loida Bauto is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. An Interior Designer by training, she began to pursue her passion for writing in 2017. Her interests involve a diverse range of topics such as Disability, Universal Design, and Sustainability, among other matters that aim to improve the world we live in. She is a self-published book author in 2018 and 2021.
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