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Social Audits

Compliance with social standards is becoming increasingly important. But what standards are there, why are social audits important and what requirements do auditors have to meet? We provide an overview.

Why social audits?

The topic of social responsibility is coming to the fore with more and more consumers. Surveys show that consumers are willing to pay more for products with a positive social impact. For instance, companies demand local procurement, sustainability and fair treatment of employees. Governments around the world are also establishing regulations to force companies to keep a watchful eye on their supply chains and conduct their business responsibly. As a result, more and more national and international companies require social audits of their global suppliers. Only in this way can these companies become or remain part of the supply chain. Demonstrating compliance also helps companies create, improve and maintain a positive public image. Companies that fail to comply with these values can cause damage to their reputation, which can affect sales and profitability, and they can lose opportunities in their customers' supply chains.

What is a social audit?

A social audit, like other audits that TÜV NORD offers, is a formal independent review of a company against internationally recognised codes and standards. There are numerous codes and standards, such as BSCI, SEDEX/SMETA, SA 8000, ONR 192500, etc., to demonstrate the requirements for companies in the supply chain. The required code/standard depends on the individual customer. All standards are based on the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code (ETI) and the International Labour Organisation ILO.

How comprehensive is a social audit?

The scope of a social audit depends on the code/standard and can vary.

What are the contents of social audits?

  • Prohibition of child labour
  • Ban on forced labour
  • Health and safety of workers
  • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
  • Prohibition of discrimination, harassment and abuse
  • Prohibition of undue disciplinary action
  • Working hours
  • Equitable pay
  • Management system for implementing social criteria
  • Environmental aspects
  • Business ethics

What qualifications does an auditor need?

Auditors from TÜV NORD who have experience with OHSAS/ISO 45001, ISO 14001 or SA 8000 are suitable for further qualification as social auditors.

Which social audits are there?

TÜV NORD has been providing social standard services for SEDEX/ SMETA, amfori BSCI and SA8000 for almost ten years. In particular, the accreditation requirements have been increasing for five years. For this reason, TÜV NORD's quality management system has been continuously improved to meet the expectations of the standard holders and customers.