Major differences between SMETA 5.0 and the new SMETA 6.0 Audits.
The update in SMETA 6.0 is based on user’s feedback and reflect the changes in international landscape for business. In SMETA 6.0 some sections have been added, others have been strengthened, and the report has been updated.
Overview of changes
The United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) for Business and Human Rights
Universal Rights Section covering UNGP is added as a new section, that is, 0.A
This is with context to business activity for preventing and addressing the risk of unfortunate impact on human rights and there are some expectations from that businesses identify the impact of their activities on human rights of people and communities. SMETA 6.0 includes an investigation on how Universal Rights are protected within global supply chains. Its focus is on assessing how a site understands and manages the impact as defined in the UNGP.
Findings in this section is recorded as ‘observations’ until experience gained allows a definition of non-compliances.
Modern Slavery is added in section 8(Sub section Responsible Recruitment) and Responsible Recruitment is a new section introduced in the SMETA report under Regular Employment
Modern Slavery act means now the companies have a legal requirement to disclose the actions they are taking to ensure there is no modern slavery in their business or supply chains. The evidence of Modern Slavery is often hidden in the lower levels of a supply chain, especially where the recruitment of labour does not follow established practices. The audit procedures must be supported by these annual published statements and these are the additions which have been included in SMETA 6.0.
Now from the experience gained it is possible to record non-compliances where unethical business practices are taking place and the issue does not fit into any other code clause in Business Ethics section of SMETA 6.0. A four-pillar audit contains the topic of Business Ethics and to date SMETA has recommended that any findings should be recorded as observations rather non-compliances while establishing an understanding of unethical Business Practice. These are the items which can be recorded under this section include illegal operations or documentation or any fraudulent activity, including bribery within the audit process and lack of policies or inappropriate training will also be recorded.
SMETA 6.0 reflects the needs of all its users and allows the reporting against the company’s own code as well as well as the established international standard of the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code. On fully completion of the audit documentation company will allow the reader to utilize other standards, if required.
SMETA 6.0 is Simplified
From the feedback of practitioners to streamline reporting in some areas new version 6.0 added more positive reporting which gives more guidance on good examples. The new version of SMETA 6.0 has simplified this section allowing more time for other indicators which are to be investigated because the detailed reporting of wages and hours at an individual level takes a lot of the audit time. It also encourages reporting of good examples.