SMETA Audits

The Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audits (SMETA) methodology enables organisations to assess their sites and suppliers to understand working conditions in their supply chain.

A social audit is one of the best ways to understand the working conditions at a supplier site. SMETA is the leading industry social audit criterion in the world. It assesses a site based on its organisation’s standards of labour, health and safety, environment and business ethics.

Key Benefits of the SMETA Audit

Some of the key benefits to organisations that are SMETA certified include:

Demonstrate Your Commitment To Human Rights

In a SMETA audit, an organisation’s responsible business practice can be assessed and measured across four areas: standards of labour, health and safety, environment and business ethics.

Reduce Audit Duplication In Your Supply Chain

Suppliers can share one audit with multiple customers via the SEDEX platform to meet multiple customer requirements and reduce duplication and audit fatigue.

Minimise Social Responsibility And Sustainability Risks

A social audit is one of the best ways to understand the working conditions at a supplier site. An auditor physically attends the site or workplace, enabling the auditor to assess the conditions on the ground.


The Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) is a social audit methodology that assesses all aspects of responsible business practice.

With today’s regulatory conditions and consumer expectations, companies need to understand and control risks in their supply chain. SMETA enables businesses to assess their sites and suppliers based on their standards of labour, health and safety, environment and business ethics.

SMETA is the most widely used social audit in the world with over 40,000 audits uploaded onto the SEDEX platform every year. It was designed to minimise duplication of effort and provide members and suppliers with a reliable and consistent audit format.

It combines the requirements of the ETI Base Code, which is founded on the conventions of the International Labour Organisation, as well as relevant local laws.
SMETA Audit Methodology

SMETA audits can be conducted against two or four auditing pillars:

  • Two Pillar Audit: The Two Pillar Audit must assess Labour Standards and Health & Safety, Management Systems, Entitlement to Work, Subcontracting and Homeworking, and environment
  • Four Pillar Audit: The Four Pillar Audit is the same as the Two Pillar Audit, but includes an Environmental assessment and Business Ethics
Why Undertake a Social Audit?

Social audits enable businesses to assess their suppliers, monitor health and safety for workers, and signal zero tolerance of human rights abuses such as child and forced labour.


Once an audit is complete, buyer and supplier businesses can work together to address any issues, based on a Corrective Action Plan (CAPR). You need only complete a SMETA audit at a site once and you can share it with multiple customers via the Sedex platform.

About SMETA Auditors

Only audit companies (and their auditors) that meet a set of criteria set out by Sedex can conduct SMETA. These are known as a Sedex Affiliate Audit Company (AAC), and are independent organisations from Sedex.


Intertek is one of the largest providers of Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audits (SMETA)  conducting on-site SMETA audits at factories around the globe to assess how labour, health and safety, environmental and business ethics standards are being met. Sedex members are then allowed to store, share and report on this information in a secure, online database in an effort to improve working conditions in the global supply chain.

The Road to an Effective Human Rights Due Diligence Program in the Supply Chain

Expectations from investors, business partners, non-governmental organisations and governments have never been higher for businesses to make meaningful progress towards ‘knowing and showing’ their respect for human rights. Corporate human rights due diligence is slowly becoming expected conduct for all types of businesses, regardless of the size of sectors.

Are You Ready To Take The Next Step to Certification?

Request a callback from one of our certification experts to have a no-obligation discussion SMETA Certification with SAI Global.

Frequently Asked Questions

Explore some of the most frequently asked questions relating to SMETA certification.
Who Is Sedex?

Sedex stands for Supplier Ethical Data Exchange. They are the not-for-profit member organisation that leads work with buyers and suppliers to deliver improvements in responsible and ethical business practices in global supply chains.

Sedex created the SMETA audit procedure, to standardize the way responsible supply chain activities are assessed.

What are the Four Pillars of a SMETA Audit?

A SMETA audit can be conducted either as a Two Pillar or Four Pillar audit.

A Two Pillar Audit consists of the following aspects:

  • Labour Standards
  • Health & Safety
  • Additional Elements
    • Universal Rights covering UNGP
    • Management Systems
    • Entitlement to Work – Subcontracting and Homeworking

The two additional pillars in a Four Pillar Audit include:

  • Environmental
  • Business Ethics

All four pillars take into account legal requirements, international standards and good practice.

How Long Does a SMETA Audit Take?

The length of a SMETA Audit depends on the number of employees in your organisation. Our experience and process allows for an audit to typically last from one to four days on site.

At the end of the audit, a corrective action plan is left with you, and a full report is provided and uploaded to the SEDEX database.

After the auditing process is complete, we work with you to verify the completion of your corrective action plan.