Social audits according to the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) VAP program.

The Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) is an alliance of more than 150 leading companies that have agreed to a uniform code of conduct and audit procedures for their suppliers. Social audits are conducted under the name "Validated Assessment Program" (VAP) to ensure compliance with the RBA Code of Conduct.

External confirmation by an internationally recognized certifier

High level of transparency in the supply chain

Evidence of performance and commitment

Improved public visibility

Description of the standard

The Responsible Business Alliance (RBA)

What started in 2004 with a small group of electronics companies is now a global alliance of over 150 companies with combined annual sales of over €5 trillion. All companies that have joined the Responsible Business Alliance have not only committed to comply with the Code of Conduct themselves, but also expect their suppliers to do the same.


VAP program: Demonstrating compliance with the RBA Code of Conduct

Promises alone, however, cannot make a difference - they must be followed by actions. This is where the Validated Assessment Program comes in: RBA has developed an audit protocol that ensures compliance with the Code of Conduct. DQS is one of the few audit companies approved to conduct RBA social audits.


The RBA Code of Conduct

The audits are based on a code of conduct covering the following topics:

  • Social standards
  • Health and safety at work
  • Environment
  • Business ethics
  • Management system

The Code of Conduct is available in more than 20 languages. There is also a guide to ensure consistent interpretation of the requirements.

What types are there?

The RBA VAP Audits

Social audits are conducted to verify that RBA members and/or their suppliers comply with the requirements of the Code of Conduct. As part of the audit, our auditors interview employees, inspect facilities and conduct a random document review.

If any deviations are found, the causes must be analyzed and corrective and preventive measures implemented. When there are no more open non-conformities, you can participate in the VAP Recognition Program. The VAP Recognition Program offers suppliers the opportunity to highlight their performance and commitment. There are three levels of performance:

  • Platinum for sites with a minimum of 200 points.
  • Gold for sites with a minimum of 180 points
  • Silver for sites with a minimum of 160 points.

Click here for more information on the RBA VAP audit.


How does an RBA audit work?

RBA VAP audits are awarded via RBA's bid process. To do this, go to DQS and all other approved bodies, so-called independent third-party audit firms, are then requested by RBA via an online platform to submit a bid for the audit and RBA awards the assessment. 

In the second step, you complete an online questionnaire, the so-called Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ). This serves as input for the VAP audit.

A VAP audit of an individual manufacturing facility typically takes 2 to 5 days, depending on the size of the company, and includes a thorough document review, discussions with management and employees, and a detailed site visit. In a final discussion, your DQS auditor will provide you with a detailed presentation of the results and possible improvement potential for your company.

If non-conformities are identified during the audit, they are classified as minor, major or priority, depending on their severity. Deadlines are set for the three categories, within which you must implement corrective and preventive actions to prevent recurrence. Once the corrective actions have been implemented, they are approved by the audit team.

The basic idea behind RBA VAP audits - analogous to other industry solutions such as TfS or RSCI - is to share audit results with all RBA participants. With your RBA VAP audit result, you can prove to your customers and other RBA participants that your audited site operates in accordance with the RBA Code of Conduct.


How much does the RBA audit cost?

The cost of an RBA audit is determined by a number of factors. In addition to the size of the company, the risk rating carried out by RBA for the site to be audited has an influence on the determination of the audit time. The audit time identified in this way in turn influences the total price for an RBA audit.


Why DQS is the perfect partner for an RBA audit

  • Global network of offices and experienced auditors
  • Knowledge of national laws and regulations as well as local cultures and languages
  • High level of expertise in all industries
  • Smooth audit planning and in-depth audit reports
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