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SMETA – Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (Verification)

SMETA: Documenting social responsibility and ethical behaviour

In the past, quality and price were the vital factors when selling raw materials, finished products and food. But this attitude has changed dramatically.

Today’s consumers expect that people and the environment in countries of origin are considered and protected. Most brand manufacturers and trading companies now explicitly select suppliers based on verification of social compliance.

Social responsibility is growing in importance and is a decisive factor in the future success of your business.

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Benefits of SEDEX auditing to SMETA ethical trade requirements

  • Proof of fair working conditions
  • Continual improvement of your management system
  • Enhanced ethical image
  • More effective risk management through transparency in the supply chain
  • Improved competitiveness in the global market

Audit procedure for SMETA certification (verification)

Bildlicher Ablauf einer SMETA Zertifizierung (Verifizierung) Bildlicher Ablauf einer SMETA Zertifizierung (Verifizierung) Bildlicher Ablauf einer SMETA Zertifizierung (Verifizierung) Bildlicher Ablauf einer SMETA Zertifizierung (Verifizierung)

Overview of the SMETA audit

There are two types of SMETA audits to choose from 

The 2-pillar format covers

  • working practices and standards
  • health and safety

The 4-pillar format additionally covers  

  • environmental audit 
  • business ethics

GOOD TO KNOW: Certification or verification?

Sedex SMETA is not a certification as such, but a verification. In contrast to a (successful) certification, a verification does not guarantee that the audited organization fulfils the requirements completely.

Verification to SMETA only testifies to the degree to which the audited organization fulfils the requirements.

FAQs on Sedex SMETA

What is a SMETA certification (verification)?

Social Compliance Audits can be carried out based on the criteria of the SMETA Standard (SEDEX Members Ethical Trade Audit ). This standard was developed by SEDEX, a not-for-profit membership organisation run on behalf of its members.

With this standard, buyers and suppliers can optimise responsible and ethical business practices in global supply chains.

SMETA is based on the criteria of the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code and applicable local legislation.

What are the prerequisites for auditing?

Following registration with SEDEX Advance, suppliers have to complete the SEDEX self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ).

Through comparison of supplier and customer information, problem areas can be identified which can be eliminated before the audit is carried out. This means that audits can be carried out more efficiently and cost-effectively and in a targeted way.

Who are the target groups for SMETA verification?

SMETA certification (verification) is suitable for manufacturers who supply members of SEDEX. The size of the organization, the geographic location or the manufacturing sector do not play a part.

SMETA is extremely useful for suppliers who wish to conduct an audit for a wider customer base, as the audits are linked via the SEDEX database so they can be viewed by different customers. This means time and money are not wasted with duplication is avoided.

What are the audit criteria?

The following criteria are audited:

  1. Employment is freely chosen
  2. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
  3. The working conditions are safe and hygienic
  4. Child labour shall not be used
  5. Living wages are paid
  6. Working hours are not excessive
  7. No discrimination is practised
  8. Regular employment is provided
  9. No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
  10. Environmental standards are upheld
  11. Corporate ethics must be in place

Further information

SMETA Zertifizierung (Verifizierung)

SMETA product data sheet

Complete information on SMETA at a glance...
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