A social audit is a certain type of certification audit that check your vendors for any unethical activities in their companies. The ethical or social audit is based on a strong checklist known as the SA 8000. Generally, the practices that categorize as unethical practices include:
If any of these violations are observed, then it can create serious troubles for the vendors and in certain cases for your business too.
Vendors who do not fulfill the requirements of the Ethical Audit or SA 8000 might end up in trouble sooner or later. Furthermore, violations of social ethics indicate that your vendor has little regard for ethical values and can substantially damage your businesses’ image. In addition, you can benefit in multiple ways by conducting social audits of your vendors, for instance:
Social audits are inspections of external production houses, factories, or packaging facilities to check whether the operation complies with social and ethical responsibilities, health and safety regulations, and labor laws. Conducting social audits is a great way to ensure that your internationally outsourced products are being made in a responsible and ethical manner. Here are a few different ways companies can go about conducting a social audit:
Independent third-party social audit:
One way is to hire an independent social auditing firm to carry out the inspection on behalf of the company. This firm should have extensive knowledge of applicable social and ethical standards such as SA 8000 and SMETA, as well as health and safety regulations and labor laws in the countries where they are conducting the audit. They will also be familiar with the company’s own standards, so they can ensure that the manufacturer is meeting all of the necessary requirements.
Direct Audit is another option for companies to conduct the audit themselves with the help of their own auditors. This option can be less expensive than hiring an external auditing firm, but it can be more difficult to ensure that all relevant areas are covered and that all standards are met. However, it can be more challenging to ensure that employees conducting the audit have the appropriate knowledge and expertise to do so effectively.
The final option is to participate in a social audit certification program, which is carried out by an external certification body. This type of audit is often required by retailers in order to do business with them. During the certification audit, the auditor will assess whether the company meets all of the requirements for the chosen standard, such as SA8000, SMETA, BSCI, or GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards. If the manufacturer is found to be compliant, they will be awarded a certificate that they can then use to show potential clients that their products have been ethically and responsibly sourced.
Any non-compliance with social and ethical responsibilities, health and safety regulations and labor laws discovered during a social compliance audit should be immediately addressed. Depending on the severity of the infractions, corrective actions may include retraining employees, revising policies and procedures, or shutting down the operation until it is in full compliance. It is also important to remember that social compliance audits are not punitive; rather, they are designed to help operations improve their practices so that everyone involved can benefit.
Social compliance audits are an important way for companies to ensure that their products are being produced in an ethical and responsible manner. By ensuring that facilities meet all applicable social and ethical responsibilities, health and safety regulations, and labor laws, social compliance audits can help to protect the workers in those facilities and the company’s brand image.
Ace Sure will nominate a team that is well-versed in the SA 8000 checklist requirements to audit the vendor. Our expert team of auditors will check the vendor against the following requirements:
Social compliance audits involve the verification of documents related to the production process, such as safety manuals, employee policies, and environmental impact assessments. This helps to ensure that all relevant standards are being met. By reviewing these documents, auditors can get a better understanding of how the factory operates and identify any potential hazards.
After the document review, the auditor will conduct an on-site inspection of the manufacturing facility. This helps to verify that the information in the documents is accurate and that the facility is complying with all relevant standards.
Interviews with workers and management are an important part of the social compliance audit process. During these interviews, auditors ask questions about working conditions and the operation of the factory. This helps to verify that workers are treated fairly and that they understand and comply with all safety procedures. It also provides an opportunity to identify any potential problems that may not be apparent during the audit.
This information helps to identify any potential problems and allows auditors to make recommendations for improvement.
After the audit is complete, the auditor will compile a report detailing the findings. The report will include recommendations for improvement and may also include information about any violations of labor or safety standards.