SEDEX – A brief explainer

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SEDEX is short for Supplier Ethical Data Exchange. Established in 2004, as a non-profit membership organisation, it is dedicated to improving ethical and responsible business practices in the global supply chain. The SEDEX database is the world’s largest online platform where registered companies can openly manage and share responsible sourcing and supply-chain data.

Audits are conducted on the basis of the SEDEX Member Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) standard which is used for Ethical Trade Audits. SMETA audits are based on ETI Code which include the implementation of 4 key pillars – Business Ethics, Labour Standards, Health & Safety and the Environment – in the supply-chain. The ETI Code is founded on the conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and is recognized internationally for labour practices. Requirements of SEDEX audits are based on ETI principles.

Who is it for?

SEDEX is a common platform designed for both suppliers who need their sites to be audited and also for buyers who need to find authentic suppliers complying with their sourcing requirements.

The SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) standard was created and designed to reduce duplication of efforts in ethical trade auditing, thus benefiting buyers, brands and suppliers. It was developed in response to a need for a common ethical audit report format that could be easily shared.

Some of the world’s reputable brands are members on SEDEX including Waitrose, Hallmark, PepsiCo, CocaCola, Sainsbury, Barclays, The Body Shop, The White Company, DKNY, Officeworks.

General steps in an audit

Step 1 : Filling the Self-evaluation Form – The applicant will need to complete a self-evaluation form for all the sites to be audited.

Step 2 : Conducting On-site SEDEX audit – URS-ME auditors will visit each site to be audited to assess the compliance of your documentation and processes with the SMETA standard. Duration of an audit usually depends on number of employees and sites.

Step 3 : Create Report and Corrective Action Plan – Once the audit is complete, our auditors will prepare a detailed audit report alongwith the corrective action plan which can be used to submit to the SEDEX platform. The same can be reviewed with us on completion.

Benefits of a SEDEX audit

  • Reduces supply chain audit duplication by providing a widely acceptable single format for Social Compliance Audits
  • Enables companies to effectively share and manage their supply-chain ethical information
  • Helps your organisation stand out from the competition with third-party evidence of your social and ethical commitments
  • Improves brand image by demonstrating to partners and customers your commitment to the principles of ethical and social responsibility
  • Mitigates risks in the fields of social responsibility and sustainability
  • Drives continual improvement of the supply-chain and supplier relations
  • Reduces non-compliance with labour laws and regulations
  • Promotes health and safety best practices among employees

Joining the SEDEX

When you join Sedex, you get access to all available services and join a global community of leaders in responsible sourcing. For buyers, SEDEX makes it simple to understand how supply chains are performing and to identify and act on opportunities for improvement. For suppliers, SEDEX makes it easy to share information with multiple buyers in an agreed format. This frees up time spent on unnecessary duplication.

Read more about how URS-ME can help you with SEDEX.