Sedex is a nonprofit organization committed to increasing the spread of ethical principles along the global supply chains and is the widest platform in Europe that collects and processes data on the ethical behaviour of supply chains.

The Sedex methodology has not created a new certification standard, but has proposed a procedure (SMETA) to conduct audits on a Company’s own suppliers, which collects the best practices in conducting ethical and social audits.

CSQA as a member of the independent federation CISQ, the only Italian representative of IQNet, is able to offer the SEDEX-SMETA inspection service (see list of authorized structures).


SMETA is the acronym of "Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit" and was developed by the Sedex Associate Auditor Group (AAG) through a multi-stakeholder consultation to provide a benchmark for best practices that enable social auditing and reports drafting.
Key features of SMETA:
  • It is a procedure designed to reduce duplication of audits or other monitoring tools to verify compliance with ethical requirements.
  • Describes a methodology for conducting audits through a collection of best practices in the field of ethical auditing.
  • Beneficiaries are all stakeholders involved in the process: retailers, manufacturers, and suppliers.
  • It is proposed as a tool for improving the transparency of audit methods.
The SMETA audit can be conducted on the basis of:
  • 2 pillars: working conditions, health and safety;
  • 4 pillars: working conditions, health and safety, work environment, business practices.
SMETA includes:
  • A common guidance for auditing (BPG, Best Practice Guidance).
  • A report with a common format for audits.
  • A format for a common corrective action plan.
  1. The supplying company fills in the Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) with the 2 or 4 pillars.
  2. The SAQ is made available to the customer.
  3. The customer carries out a supplier's risk assessment based on the information contained in the SAQ (e.g. product/service category, type of purchase, employee relations, subcontracting level and nature, commitment by the supplier).
  4. Based on the risk assessment, the customer choses the audit program.
  5. The SAQ is made available to the auditor for audit planning that may be:
    • Announced
    • Unannounced
    • Semi-announced
    • A combination of these types of audit, based on the customer's assessment.  The supplier contacts the auditor for the audit request.  
  6. Many types of 'social' audits can be loaded into the Sedex System (system used to manage SMETA audits) and it is up to each Sedex's retailer to decide whether or not to accept these audits.


  • improves social performance throughout the chain;
  • it allows for careful management of your suppliers;
  • lowers ethical risk;
  • reduces duplication of audits;
  • provides a comprehensive procedure in full transparency.