SMETA Ethical Audits

Supply chain monitoring is essential to human rights due diligence, and an important tool to help identify risks. Gain confidence with SMETA audits.

Consumers value companies that provide evidence of their commitment to ethical trading and human rights. Farmers, manufacturers, processors, industries and service companies can all use social audits to demonstrate responsible practices and ensure transparency in the supply chain. That gives your organisation a competitive advantage, builds loyalty and helps protect your brand.

Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) is a widely recognized global social compliance scheme. Based on the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) Base Code, SMETA methodology enables a business to assess the risk in a supplier’s working conditions in terms of labour, health and safety, environment, and business ethics as well as the supply chain.

With one of the world’s leading collaborative platforms, SMETA provides visibility and transparency for buyers and suppliers to store, share and report on ethical and social audit information.

SEDEX has more than 55,000 members in 180 countries, and its Affiliate Audit Companies (AACs) have conducted over 280,000 audits worldwide. NSF is an AAC of SEDEX, which means we are a third party authorised to perform SMETA audits on your behalf. Being granted AAC approval indicates NSF’s commitment to correctly using SMETA, the SEDEX social audit methodology, and to conducting audits with quality and integrity. NSF delivers SMETA audits globally.

NSF is a member of the Association of Professional Social Compliance Auditors (APSCA), which enhances the professionalism, consistency and credibility of organisations conducting social compliance audits. This ensures that social compliance audits are delivered by APSCA Registered or Certified auditors with the highest integrity, competency and ethics.

Identify Good Practices and Unsafe Ones in the Workplace and the Supply Chain

A social audit examines the working conditions at a site and its supply chains, enabling organisations to verify their suppliers, assess labour management, monitor health and safety for workers, and evaluate environmental and business ethics, such as preventing child and forced labour. SMETA social audits can be performed at businesses of any type, sector, size and geography.

NSF can guide you through the process, assisting you with your self-assessment or conducting your SMETA audit to show your adherence to good labour, health and safety, environmental, and business practices. Your social audit will be conducted by a professional, qualified member of the independent Association of Professional Social Compliance Auditors (APSCA).

SMETA Audits Look at Key Pillars in the Supply Chain

A SMETA audit is based on ETI Base Code, along with local regulations and national laws. Supplier Code of Conduct requirements can also be used as a reference for compliance. The 2-pillar audit comprises:

  • labour Standards
  • Health and Safety
  • Additional elements of Management Systems, Universal Rights (covering United Nations Guiding Principles, or UNGP), Responsible Recruitment Practices, Subcontracting and Homeworking, Entitlement to Work and a shortened Environment Assessment.

The SMETA 4-pillar audit includes the above plus:

  • Business Ethics
  • Environmental Management

Put Your Trust in a Comprehensive Audit

NSF can conduct your SMETA audit to evaluate your supplier’s site or your site and its processes, documentation and systems. The audit will review:

  • Wages
  • Right to work
  • Working hours
  • Health and safety
  • Temporary workers
  • Provision of rest time
  • Fair treatment of staff
  • Recruitment processes
  • Supply Chain Monitoring Management Systems

Our methodology includes:

  • Verifying the conditions at the site, including the work area and any other relevant areas
  • Reviewing records and policies related to Code of Conduct sections
  • Conducting management interviews
  • Conducting worker interviews
  • Triangulate all information to validate findings

Once the audit is completed and approved, NSF uploads the audit report and non-conformances on the SEDEX Advance platform with visibility to all the retailers linked to their profile. This global platform makes it easy for specifiers to check a supplier’s compliance with social practices.

When an onsite audit isn’t possible, a Sedex Virtual Assessment enables the assessor to assess the performance of a site remotely using video-conferencing tools. During the assessment, the auditor leads a virtual site tour and examines the site’s management system and documentation. Interviews with workers or worker surveys will also be used to gather valuable evidence.

Combine SMETA With Other Audits

In addition to a SMETA audit, you may be interested in other audits, certifications, or second-party programs. Also ask about our GFSI-benchmarked certifications (BRCGS, SQF, IFS and FSSC 22000) and agricultural standards (including GLOBALG.A.P., CanadaG.A.P. and PrimusGFS), as well as our seafood, risk, sustainability, quality, and health and safety services.

APSCA Code of Conduct

You can find the APSCA Code of Conduct here.

Report Unethical Behavior and Misconduct

If you want to report unethical behaviour and misconduct against the APSCA Code of Conduct, please access our Code of Ethics and the no-retaliation policy. To submit a confidential, anonymous report online, go to

No Retaliation; Code of Ethics Administration

NSF strictly prohibits any form of retaliation against any employee, auditor, independent contractor, or partner organisation as a result of a report of a potential violation of this Policy or as a result of cooperating in an investigation of a suspected violation of this Policy.

The Chief Legal Officer is responsible for the administration of this Code of Ethics under the governance of the Audit Committee of NSF's Board of Directors.

Share this Article

How NSF Can Help You

Get in touch to find out how we can help you and your business thrive.