Sedex is one of the world’s leading ethical trade service providers, working to improve working conditions in global supply chains.
Sedex provides practical tools, services and a community network to help companies improve their responsible and sustainable business practices, and source responsibly. This includes SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) audits that Bureau Veritas conducts at thousands of sites globally each year.
COVID-19 has created challenges to the regular process of SMETA audits when onsite audits cannot happen due to local law, site preparedness, site risk assessment or local travel challenges.
Bureau Veritas was in a small workgroup at Sedex that started soon after lockdowns appeared around the world. That workgroup with 4 other audit firms created a remote assessment for use when an onsite SMETA for whatever reason cannot take place. This was the fastest new product creation in the history of Sedex and resulted from requests from many sites, suppliers, retailers, and brands.
It included working with some of the large retailers and brands to ensure it would be acceptable for wide use.
The Sedex Virtual Assessment (SVA) was launched at the end of June 2020 and can now be deployed by Bureau Veritas, or one of the few audit firms currently who have applied and met the required conditions. It is linked in to the process of regular initial, partial follow up and full follow up audits so helpful to existing programs.
SVA follows the same topics as SMETA, but does so with the auditor joining the audit remotely via an app. There is still a site tour, document review, payroll and hour analysis and group interviews to help sites demonstrate working conditions.
Sites can now apply to Bureau Veritas for the Sedex Virtual Assessment. The first stage of application is to ensure that the essential requirements are met, and that their master clients will accept the SVA. Bureau Veritas will guide the way through this to any site applying.
To explain the process of SVA, Bureau Veritas delivered a webinar, please click here to watch the replay.
Bureau Veritas will only be using fully qualified SMETA auditors for Sedex Virtual Assessments and auditors with experience auditing in the relevant country. We will use existing remote auditing techniques and experience, and the technical guidance we helped develop for Sedex to allow the industries to continue their responsible sourcing journey through safe and ethical supply chain assurance.