Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA)

Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) is the most widely used format for social audits in the world. It’s a standardized approach used by Sedex, a global membership organization, to assess labor, health and safety, environmental performance, and business ethics within a company’s own operations or at a supplier’s site.

Here’s a breakdown of SMETA:


  • Helps businesses understand the social and ethical aspects of their supply chain.
  • Identifies potential risks and areas for improvement related to labor practices, health and safety, environment, and business ethics.
  • Provides a standardized format for conducting audits, allowing for easier comparison and collaboration across different organizations.

How SMETA works:

  • Conducted by approved Sedex Affiliate Audit Companies (AACs), which are independent auditors who have been trained and certified by Sedex.
  • Uses a structured questionnaire and scoring system to assess a site’s compliance with various criteria based on recognized standards like the ETI Base Code and local legislation.
  • Results in an audit report that details the findings and recommendations for improvement.

Benefits of using SMETA:

  • Reduced audit fatigue: Compared to individual audits for different customers, SMETA provides one standardized format, reducing the burden on suppliers.
  • Improved transparency: Sharing SMETA reports through the Sedex platform allows for increased transparency and collaboration within the supply chain.
  • Benchmarking and performance tracking: Organizations can track their own and their suppliers’ performance over time and compare it to industry benchmarks.
  • Risk management: Identifying and addressing potential social and ethical issues early on can help mitigate risks and protect brand reputation.

It’s important to note that:

  • SMETA is not a certification, but simply a format for conducting audits.
  • The depth and scope of an SMETA audit can vary depending on the specific needs of the organization requesting it.
  • While widely used, SMETA is not the only option for social audits, and other standards such as SA8000 may also be used.

Overall, SMETA plays a crucial role in promoting ethical and responsible practices within global supply chains. By providing a standardized and transparent approach to social auditing, it helps businesses understand their social performance and take steps to improve it.