FAQs

About Sedex

What is Sedex?

Sedex is a not-for-profit membership organisation dedicated to making it simpler to do business that’s good for everyone. See our About us page to find out more.

How do I join Sedex?

Sedex offers memberships for buyers (A & AB memberships), suppliers (B membership) and auditors. How you join Sedex will be determined by which membership type is best for your organisation. See our Membership page to find out more.

What codes is Sedex based on?

Sedex itself does not specify a particular code or state that suppliers have ‘passed’ or ‘failed’.

Sedex Advance stores information on ethical and responsible practices covered by ILO Conventions, ETI Base Code, SA8000, ISO14001 and industry specific codes of conduct. Sedex members can use the information on the system to evaluate suppliers against any of these codes or the labour standards provisions in individual corporate codes.

How does Sedex differ from other organisations such as the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI)?

Sedex offers Sedex Advance, a collaborative platform for buyers, suppliers and auditors to store, share and report on information quickly and easily. Sedex does not set any standards or determine the policy of its members. What we offer is a tool for facilitating access to information and collaboration.

Is Sedex just adding another level of bureaucracy?

No, we believe that Sedex can actually help to reduce bureaucracy. Sedex aims to prevent the unnecessary duplication of information, therefore driving convergence in ethical trade. By becoming a member of Sedex, suppliers only have to fill out one questionnaire and can share this with multiple customers.

Is the information on Sedex accurate?

The rules of Sedex require members to use their best endeavours to ensure that the information they place on Sedex Advance is correct. However, we do not verify or validate this information. If you need validation of the data we suggest that you request a third party ethical audit to be conducted at your supplier’s site.

I’m a supplier and I already provide self-assessment and audit information to my customers; what are the benefits of Sedex for me?

Sedex provides an efficient and cost effective way of communicating with your customers, as you can share one set of data with multiple customers. This helps reduce the need for multiple audits, allowing both you and your customers to concentrate on making improvements.

How can the Sedex Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) help my company?

Completing the SAQ can help you to identify important ethical, social and environmental issues in your business. The SAQ can also be used to help compile a company’s code of conduct.

I already have an assessment system for my suppliers; why should I join Sedex?

Sedex Advance provides a collaborative platform for buyers, suppliers and auditors to store, share and report on information quickly and easily. It can be accessed by any supplier or site, anywhere in the world, providing they are able to use the internet. Sedex Advance allows you to access and analyse ethical assessments, action plans and corrective actions, and to track progress over time.

My team works with suppliers to develop action plans; how will this work with Sedex?

Suppliers enter the agreed actions into Sedex Advance and can then use the platform to report on their actions and progress.

If I join Sedex, does that mean I don’t need an ethical trading programme?

No, Sedex provides a collaborative platform to store, share and report on information quickly and easily. It does not replace an ethical trading programme, although you can use the information on Sedex to help inform your ethical trading programme.

Everyone in the supply chain needs to verify the accuracy of the information submitted and act on that information in order to drive improvement.

As Sedex Advance enables sites to share the same data with many customers, there is a strong incentive for suppliers to join. This helps reduce the duplication of information, allowing both parties to concentrate on making improvements, rather than on numerous self-assessments and audits.

Sedex membership

What membership type is best for my organisation?

The different types of Sedex membership reflect the different types of organisations in global supply chains.

  • Buyer (A) membership is typically suitable for retailers, NGOs, charities, and government organisations who wish to manage and run reports on ethical trade information in their supply chain.
  • Buyer/Supplier (AB) membership is typically suitable for agents, importers, farms/growers, manufacturers etc. with five or more suppliers, who wish to share their ethical data with customers and also to view and run reports on ethical trade information in their own supply chain.
  • Supplier (B) membership is typically suitable for farms / growers, manufacturers, service centres etc. with fewer than five suppliers who only wish to enter and share ethical information on their own site(s) of employment with their customers.

We also have membership options for auditors.

Who pays for our membership?

We try and keep Sedex membership fees to a minimum. One of the goals of Sedex is to prevent the duplication of information, helping companies to save time and money. We therefore encourage companies to pay for their own membership.

If I’m a Sedex member, does that mean I’m an approved supplier?

No, being on Sedex does not mean that you have met any ethical standards or are in compliance with any code. What it does mean is that you have committed to continuous improvement. It is up to each customer to assess their suppliers’ information on Sedex and to decide whether it meets their own standards.

How can I become more involved with Sedex?

As a membership organisation we thrive on input from our members. We have a Board of Directors made up of buyer and supplier members and a number of working groups covering system development and auditing. If you would like to find out more about getting involved in these groups please email helpdesk@sedexglobal.com or call +44 (0)20 7902 2320.

What happens if I don’t join Sedex?

If you have been requested to join Sedex by one of your customers it is likely that they see Sedex as an important part of their responsible sourcing practices. It is becoming increasingly common that companies see Sedex membership as a condition of supply. You should see membership as something that can benefit not only your customers but also your own company. If you are unsure of how it can benefit you please contact us directly or click here for more information.

The Sedex system – Sedex Advance

I am having problems logging in, what can I do?

If you have forgotten your password, click ‘Reset my password’ on the Sedex Advance login page. For any other problems please contact the Sedex Helpdesk.

I have not received the email to activate my user profile or re-set my password, what can I do?

If you have entered your email address but have not received an email from Sedex please:

  • Ensure that you entered the email address which you had previously registered on Sedex (existing users only)
  • Check the email address entered is spelt correctly
  • Check your spam/junk mailbox

If the email is not in your spam/junk mailbox please contact your IT team or IT provider as sometimes emails get blocked before they reach the spam/junk mail box. Afterwards, if you have still not received the email, please contact the Sedex Helpdesk.

I’m worried about the security of my information; how will my data be kept confidential?

Security of all data is of paramount importance to Sedex. The Sedex system, Sedex Advance, uses the latest encryption technology for online software to ensure your data is safe and secure.

Within the system, data can only be shared between companies who are in a supply chain relationship. As the owner of a site you must explicitly grant access to member companies within your supply chain.

Will my competitors be able to see my information?

No, members can only see information about other companies if they have been granted access.

I’m an agent and I can’t be sure on any particular day which of my sites supplies which of my customers; how will Sedex deal with this?

Sedex enables you to specify which of your suppliers supplies to each of your customers. You need to agree with your customer the best way of handling your supply chain, to ensure that they have access to the most accurate information possible.

Lots of my direct suppliers are agents; how will Sedex deal with this?

Agents need to register as Supplier (B) members on Sedex and record their trading relationships. The agent is then responsible for making sure that their suppliers register on Sedex and grant you access to their data.

In our experience many agents prefer to register for Buyer/Supplier (AB) membership in order to monitor their own suppliers.

Ethical audits

If I join do I need to have an ethical audit?

No; having an ethical audit is not a requirement of membership. You may wish to have an ethical audit based on your own internal policy or by the request of one of your customers.

Do I need to have my site independently audited before I can join Sedex?

No; Sedex stores self-assessment data as well as ethical audit reports. You are not required to have an audit in order to join Sedex. However, when you do have an audit carried out, you can make the audit report available on Sedex and use the system to communicate your corrective action plan and progress to your customers.

What audit protocol does Sedex use?

Sedex does not prescribe a specific type of audit. Sedex provides a place to store any and all ethical audit reports, with a summary of non-compliances held in a common format. However, Sedex has created the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) – a common audit methodology and report format compiled of best practice in ethical trade audit technique.

Who pays for audits?

Sedex does not specify who pays for audits. It is up to each site, supplier and retailer to agree who should bear the cost of auditing. However, Sedex seeks to minimise the cost of auditing by making a single audit report available to a number of different customers.

Does Sedex have a list of approved auditors?

No. Sedex does not restrict who can carry out an audit, although some companies may recommend certain auditors to their suppliers. The identity of the auditor is included on each audit summary and members can then decide whether or not the audit is acceptable to them.

Can sites amend third party audit reports which have been uploaded to Sedex?

No; audit reports that are directly uploaded to Sedex by a third party auditor cannot subsequently be altered by the sites.