SMETA Audit Most Widely Used Social Audit Scheme

SMETA Audit in China 2 Pillar & 4 Pillar Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit

Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) is one of the most widely used social audit in the world. It enables businesses to assess their sites and suppliers to understand working conditions in their supply chain.

It is a compilation of good practice in ethical audit techniques designed to help auditors conduct high quality audits and suppliers share one audit with multiple customers.

What are the main elements of a SMETA Audit?

SMETA Audit has three elements, including:

  • A common corrective action plan format
  • Best practice guidance on conducting ethical trade audits
  • A common audit report format

What scope is covered in a SMETA Audit?

  • Site scope: The scope covered in the business license (production area, warehouse, dormitory, etc.)
  • Personnel scope: All the full-time employees, including workers, management, security, etc.
  • Checklist of SMETA 2-pillar Audit includes: Labor Standards, Health and Safety, Management Systems, Entitlement to Work, Subcontracting and Homeworking, Environmental assessment (simplified).
  • Checklist of SMETA 4-pillar Audit includes: Labor Standards, Health and Safety, Management Systems, Entitlement to Work, Subcontracting and Homeworking, Environmental assessment (complex), and Business Ethics.

Frequently Asked Questions on SMETA Audit

Is V-Trust SMETA audit report widely recognized?

Absolutely! V-Trust’s SMETA audit report is widely accepted by different brands and businesses because V-Trust is an Affiliate Audit Company (AAC) of Sedex, as well as a member firm of APSCA (Association of Professional Social Compliance Auditors).

Remark: An Affiliate Audit Company (AAC) is a third-party that is authorised to conduct SMETA audits on behalf of your business. Only audit companies with a Sedex Affiliate Audit Company account can conduct SMETA audits and access the functionalities and benefits of the Sedex Advance system, which audit companies can use to manage data from multiple locations in one account. V-Trust is an AAC of Sedex and is authorized to perform SMETA audits.

How many days in advance should I book the SMETA Audit?

Though sometimes it's even possible to book next-day audit for many manufacturing clusters where V-Trust has a large team of full-time auditors, we recommend booking with us at least 1 week in advance. Early booking is important for appropriate scheduling and good preparation before the audit.

Who will I be in contact with throughout the whole process?

There will be one dedicated account manager who will be assigned as your main contact point at V-Trust. You will receive prompt response whenever you have any questions regarding the SMETA audit arrangement.

Is it required to notify the supplier about the SMETA Audit?

Depending on the outcome of risk management and/or audit planning, there are three possible audit notification types:

  • Announced audit: audit date is agreed with, or disclosed to, the audited factory
  • Semi-announced audit, audit date will fall within an agreed “window”. Audit window can range between 2 weeks to 2 months. A 3-week window is recommended to optimize the result.
  • Unannounced audit: no prior notice is given to the audited factory.

How long does it take to know the SMETA audit result?

The official SMETA audit report, reviewed and signed by an authorized V-Trust technical manager, will be available within 3 days after each audit and can be uploaded to the Sedex system within five days.

What if I have questions after I check my V-Trust SMETA audit report?

Please don’t hesitate to contact us whenever you have any questions. The V-Trust team is always available even after the SMETA audit is completed.

How are the results of a SMETA audit classified?

By default, unless the client has special requirements, no indication about the severity of non-compliance is shown in the report which means that no conclusion, no rating score, no “Passed” or “Failed” result is provided for SMETA audit reports, nor is a certificate issued. The client will make the call about the audit result based on the findings during the audit.

How many years can a SMETA audit report remain valid?

There is no expiration date for the SMETA audit report, and the client decides the period of validity with their own criteria. Most clients set one year as the validity period to perform annual audit.

How many times does an auditor need to visit the factory for SMETA audit?

After the Full Initial Audit which is the first time a factory of employment is audited, there is a sequence of audits that, depending on the client’s code and the results of the full initial audit, might be necessary to be conducted such as a Periodic Audit which is used to monitor supplier sites on an on-going basis, or a Follow-up Audit which is used to check the progress against the issues found in the initial audit.

There are three types of Follow-up Audit:

  • Full follow-up audit: a full audit, same as initial audit but takes into account previous audit findings.
  • Partial follow-up audit: only checks progress against issues found during the previous audit.
  • Desktop follow-up audit: can be used for certain corrective actions for which a factory visit is not required and can instead be verified remotely e.g. through photograph evidence or documents provided via email.

What other services can I choose besides SMETA audit?