From 2019

Sedex’s meaning stands for Supplier Ethical Data Exchange. It is a non-profit organization with a very strong market presence in the UK. Companies who wish to address ethical and responsible supply chain issues in their supply chain. Their web-based database enables suppliers to share ethical data, such as ethical audit reports, with their customers. Likewise, customers can keep track of their suppliers and view the ethical reports shared with them.

SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) was developed by the Sedex Associate Auditor Group. Two key purposes of this Sedex audit are transparency and sustainable improvement.

There are two types of audit under SMETA- 2 pillar audit and 4 pillar audit. The 2 pillar audit comprises of labour standards and health & safety. It has requirements for the environment, but this is based on the law of the country. The 4 pillar audit comprises of an additional two areas: environment and business integrity. Factories are to select their audit type based on client’s request.

During the audit process, communication between all parties is important. Good communication will allow the audit to be carried out smoothly. All the reviews and interviews also should be adhered to as they are part of the factory being transparent. Only when a factory is transparent can they be better advised on how to improve.

Audit standards can be based on local law and regulations, ETI base code or any special requirements by the client.

The SMETA Sedex audit content comprises of 14 codes:

1. Management systems and code implementation

2. Forced labour

3. Freedom of association

4. Health and safety

5. Child labour and young workers

6. Wages and benefits

7. Working hours

8. Discrimination

9. Regular employment

10. Sub-contracting and homeworkers

11. Disciplinary

12. Entitlement to work, migrant and agency worker

13. Environment – 2 pillar/4 pillar audit

14. Business practices – 4 pillar audit

It is important for a factory to be ethical. Being ethical means that a factory can comply with all the local labour laws and regulations. It also means that workers are in a healthy and safe environment. With an increased focus on human and worker rights, it is important to ensure factories maintain these ethical standards. Not only does an ethical factory have a higher ability to produce better goods, consumers feel safer purchasing goods from ethical factories. There is a Sedex compliance audit checklist which must be completed in order to reach ethical standards of work.