With over 230,000 sites audited, Sedex SMETA is one of the most widely used social responsibility audit concepts in the world. To meet changing user expectations, Sedex has revised its SMETA audit methodology. The new version, SMETA 6.0, was released in early April. Find out what changes for users in this article.
What is SMETA 6.0?
Like its predecessor SMETA 5.0, SMETA 6.0 is an audit concept that describes how to conduct social audits based on the ETI Base Code in a credible and comprehensive manner. As one of the most widely used social audit methodologies in the world, it plays SMETA an essential role in creating transparency in the supply chain and enabling responsible sourcing. SMETA audits focus on working conditions and occupational health and safety, and optionally on environmental aspects and business ethics.
As the Sedex methodology is accepted by more and more buyers and audit results in the Sedex database can be shared with multiple customers at the same time, the unified methodology reduces the audit burden for suppliers.
Does DQS already offer social audits according to SMETA 6.0?
Yes. DQS CFS GmbH is a member of the Sedex Associate Auditor Group. Our auditors have been extensively trained to apply the SMETA methodology. Thanks to our worldwide auditor network, we can deploy local auditors almost everywhere.
What's new in SMETA 6.0?
Since SMETA is based on the ETI Base Code which has not undergone any major changes in recent years, the changes in SMETA 6.0 are limited: The structure and basic principles of the previous version remain unchanged. Suppliers who already fulfilled the requirements of SMETA 5.0 should therefore have no difficulties when switching to 6.0.
Nevertheless, there are some changes in the new version that are important for both suppliers and buyers:
- In order to better reflect the working conditions for temporary workers, an additional guide on temporary work has been created.
- Section 0.A - Human Rights: A completely new section is dedicated to respect for human rights in business practice. From now on, the SMETA audit will examine the extent to which the company is committed to respecting human rights and actively ensures that they are observed. This involves not only the rights of the company's own employees, but also the rights of local residents and other stakeholders whose human rights could be restricted by corporate activities. However, SMETA 6.0 is not a comprehensive human rights audit - rather, it is about checking whether respect for human rights is anchored in the management system.
- Good practice indicators are now included in each section to ensure that audit reports provide information not only on non-conformities but also on good practices.
- Section 8 - Regular Employment includes a set of new audit criteria related to recruitment. The aim of the new criteria is to create more transparency on the situation of temporary and contract workers.
- The chapter on business ethics has been fundamentally revised. Whereas in version 5.0 all comments made by the auditor were still to be classified as observations ("Observations") instead of deviations ("Non-Conformities"), in version 6.0 a failure to meet the criteria automatically results in a deviation. The focus of the chapter is on the prevention of bribery, corruption and fraud as well as legal compliance.
When does SMETA 6.0 go into effect?
SMETA 6.0 was published at the beginning of April 2017. As of June 2017, SMETA 5.0 will no longer be available. To ensure that your audit results continue to be recognized by your customers in the future, we recommend upgrading to version 6.0 as soon as possible.
Where can I find the relevant documents?
The SMETA guidelines have been divided into two parts: One part describes the audit methodology ("Best Practice Guidance" - BPG), while the second part deals with the evaluation criteria. Both documents can be downloaded free of charge and without registration from the Sedex homepage after publication. The Sedex audit report and action plan templates are also available for download there.