The Sedex Self Assessment Questionnaire contains 4 major pillars – Labour Standards, Health & Safety, Environment and Business Ethics. All four pillars count on legal requirements, international standards and good practice.

A SMETA 2-Pillar audit contains 2-Pillar of Labour Standards and Health & Safety. These are inescapable modules for any SMETA audit. It also comprised of additional elements of Management Systems, Entitlement to work, Subcontracting and Homeworking and a shortened Environment assessment.

A SMETA 4-Pillar audit cover all the above elements; with the addition of pillars of Environment (extended assessment which replaces shortened assessment) and Business Ethics. These added pillars could not be required for all the Sedex members and it is very important that sites of employment and the auditors are clear when these additional modules are required. 

The basic 2-Pillars of a SMETA audit are managed by the standards contained in the Ethical Trade Initiative Base Codes. The additional pillars of Environment (extended version) and Business Ethics mentioned in 4-Pillar audit are managed by standards landed up at process of membership and multi-stakeholder consultation.

Frequency of Sedex audit:

Sedex does not govern how often sites should accept social audits, however buyer members typically need sites to follow ‘audit cycles’ depending upon the risk factor involved. For uniformity, Sedex members are recommending the below approach to audit recurrence: 

  • For High risk – annual audit
  • For Medium risk – 2-yearly audit
  • For Low risk – it depends upon the customer’s wisdom

Also note that the segmentation of sites into high, medium or low risk categories is usually depends upon the buying organisation of the site.

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