Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit

The Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) was developed by the Sedex Associate Auditor Group (AAG). See our SMETA in Numbers infographic for a quick summary of SMETA.

The latest version of SMETA was launched on 28 November 2014. SMETA 5.0 incorporates four elements:

SMETA in NumbersSMETA is designed to reduce duplication of effort in ethical trade auditing, benefiting  retailers, consumer brands, and their suppliers. It was developed in response to member demand for an ethical audit report format that could more easily be shared.

SMETA is not a code of conduct, a new methodology, or a certification process, but describes an audit procedure which is a compilation of good  practice in ethical audit technique.

The SMETA documents are designed to be used  in conjunction with current established practices by experienced auditors to help them to conduct high quality audits that will be accepted by multiple retailers and brands.

Recently the AAG has also produced a Guide to Completing a SMETA Report and a Guide to Completing a SMETA Corrective Action Plan Report. These have been put together using fictitious information to demonstrate to SMETA users how to complete a SMETA report and gives more explanation of the type of information required. Please note the example uses typical information from China; it may vary for other countries.

Companies who are not members of Sedex are also encouraged to use SMETA. By making SMETA publicly available, we hope to promote greater transparency of audit methodology as well as to share knowledge about auditors’ qualifications and the practices that underpin SMETA reports.

SMETA guidance includes:

  • suggested time plan for the audit
  • number of worker interviews suggested for the size of company
  • training and experience requirements for auditors
  • suggested pre-audit communication
  • detailed audit execution

SMETA methodology:

  • uses the ETI code and local law as the measurement tool
  • includes the two modules of Health and safety and Labour standards as well as the optional pillars of Environment and Business Ethics.

If you have any feedback on any of the SMETA documents, please contact the Sedex Helpdesk or complete the online feedback form:

SMETA supplements

SMETA supplement for Service Providers  Guidance supplement for Assessing Working Conditions for Employees of Service Providers and Contractors working at sites of Sedex Member companies or remotely from their employer’s operation (Version 2, July 2013, replaces version 1, June 2010).

Sedex Guidance on Operational Practice and Indicators of Forced Labour Guidance on how to spot the signs of actual, likely or possible cases of forced labour for both auditors and audit readers.

Shadow SMETA Audit Feedback Form

In our drive for continuous improvement we are keen to hear from anyone who has observed a SMETA being conducted.

We have devised a questionnaire which will take just a few minutes to complete. Responses will be used  to inform the AAG  of best practice in auditing and to help Sedex improve the SMETA best practice guidance and report formats.

Please click on the appropriate link below to complete a shadow audit feedback form online.
 Buyer (A) & Buyer/Supplier (AB) Members
 Supplier (B) Members

Pre-Audit Information Pack

This information pack provides suppliers / supplier sites with essential pre-audit information to help them prepare for a SMETA. It has been assembled from an auditor’s perspective, and for an auditor’s use, as this group is often the first contact a supplier has with the Sedex system.

Other types of members (and non-member users of SMETA) may also find it useful for informing their suppliers of the audit process. Additionally, we hope that supplier sites will find it helpful in preparing for a SMETA audit.

By making the pack widely available in a standard format the AAG hopes to further increase the consistency of the SMETA process. The guide has been put together in stand-alone sections so that  users can select the parts which are appropriate for them.

Download the Pre-Audit Information Pack

SMETA support documents for members

The Sedex working groups have produced a series of documents which members may find useful when involved with SMETAs. These are available to Sedex members only, via the Sedex Knowledge Hub. To access the Knowledge Hub, log in to Sedex Advance and click on ‘Help’ button in the top right-hand of the page. 

  • SMETA documents in Chinese: Designed to help members to prepare for an audit
  • Guide to Social Systems Auditor Competencies: To assist members when selecting auditors based on defined competencies
  • Non – Compliance Guidance: A common approach to examples of non compliances, grading of severity, and suggested timeframes for correction.
  • Corrective Action Guidance: suggested possible corrective actions following a SMETA.
  • Draft Guidance for an assessment process of Environment and Business Ethics: A procedure for looking at the environmental and Business Ethics performance of a site as part of a SMETA