Forced labour and human trafficking tackled by world’s most popular ethical audit

Version 6.0 of the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) has been fully reviewed and significantly updated to include new guidance around freely chosen employment, workers’ rights, and more.

Sedex has launched the latest version of the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA). SMETA is an audit procedure which is a compilation of good practice in ethical audit technique, helping auditors conduct high quality audits that encompass all aspects of responsible business practice.

SMETA 6.0 is a product of the most comprehensive review of the audit format to date, covering the SMETA format itself as well as the existing Best Practice Guidance and the new Measurement Criteria documents.

What’s new in SMETA 6.0?

Following extensive consultation across the Sedex membership and beyond, it has been improved and expanded in the following key areas. SMETA 6.0:

  • Introduces the topic of universal rights, encouraging best practice based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
  • Aims to increase transparency in recruitment practices and the quality of reporting around the recruitment process
  • Is designed to better tackle forced labour by highlighting the movement of workers across the globe
  • Includes new details on the UK Modern Day Slavery Act 2015
  • Improves the measurement of positive impacts at a site, using performance indicators such as worker turnover
  • Features an expanded business ethics module, to include financial requirements, and to allow auditors to raise non-compliances in this section
  • Has a refreshed and streamlined format, to reduce duplication

“SMETA was, and continues to be, developed by and for Sedex members,” commented Jonathan Ivelaw-Chapman, Sedex CEO. “We would like to thank all members who have given feedback since the launch of SMETA 5.0 in November 2014. Their input has helped shape the evolution of SMETA and advance ethical auditing standards worldwide. By introducing the topic of universal rights, encouraging transparency in recruitment practices and helping to better tackle forced labour, SMETA 6.0 continues to push the auditing community forward.”



Media contact:

Sedex: Jessica McGoverne | Marketing Communications Executive | | Twitter: @SedexCSR

SMETA contact

Sophie Preisig | Sedex Stakeholder Forum Manager | +44 (0)20 7902 2320 | | Twitter: @SedexCSR

About Sedex:

Sedex ( is a global not-for-profit membership organisation making it simpler to do business that’s good for everyone. We’re home to one of the world’s largest collaborative platforms for sharing responsible sourcing data on supply chains, used by more than 40,000 members in over 150 countries. Our services enable members to bring together many kinds of different data, standards and certifications around labour rights, health & safety, the environment and business ethics, to make informed business decisions, and to drive continuous improvement across their value chains. We are also home to SMETA, one of the most widely used social audit procedures in the world.

About SMETA:

SMETA is an audit procedure which is a compilation of good practice in ethical audit technique. It is not a code of conduct, a new methodology, or a certification process. SMETA is one of the most widely used ethical audit formats in the world. An estimated 270,000 SMETAs have been conducted to date with over 90,000 of those on the Sedex Advance system.

SMETA is designed to reduce duplication of effort in ethical trade auditing, benefiting retailers, consumer brands and their suppliers. Using SMETA, a supplier can have one audit conducted and share it with multiple customers, rather than having a different audit conducted for each customer. The SMETA documents are designed to be used by experienced auditors in line with current established practices.

SMETA methodology uses the ETI code and local law as the measurement tool. It includes four modules:

  • Health and safety
  • Labour standards
  • Environment (optional)
  • Business ethics (optional)

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