Ethical standards to give value to company policies

Italian organizations have always been sensitive to the issues of ethics in the world of work , understood both as a responsibility towards their employees and collaborators, and towards the territory in which the production activity takes place.

At the moment, the attention on these issues is even more accentuated, and companies are increasingly looking for ways to demonstrate their commitment to these aspects, above all to respond to the requests of their customers (especially large-scale distribution and major international brands), but also in terms of marketing.

There are many tools for communicating your vision of an ethical business to stakeholders:
  • some companies choose certification against international standards such as SA8000 or SR10 ;
  • others instead adopt international reporting standards (for example GRI 4 and AA1000 ) for the preparation of the Sustainability Report ;
  • other companies, on the other hand, driven by their international GDO customers, adhere to the SEDEX platform and undergo inspection by a third party for the assessment of the requirements set out in the SMETA check list.
CSQA has been active on this front for some time.

In partnership with IQnet , CSQA offers the certification service both against the SA8000 standard and against the SR 10 standard .

SA 8000

SA8000 is a certification of the management system for Social Responsibility, recognized and widespread internationally. This certification is applicable by companies of all sizes and all product categories of the treated product.
The SA8000 standard has recently been revised , with the introduction by the standard owner (SAI) of the Social Fingerprint tool. The objective is to monitor the effective improvement over time of the ethical performance of the organisations. The Social Fingerprint is a checklist that allows organizations to "self-assess" in order to gain awareness of which areas of weakness are and to work on to improve their score.
The self-assessment is still validated by the certification body .
The Social Fingerprint of each organization becomes a public document , and therefore makes it possible to compare certified organizations .

The areas covered by this standard are as follows:
The decision to embrace this standard may be linked to the need to satisfy a specific request from one or more customers, but also to the desire to communicate on these issues .
Certified companies have a logo that they can use on company documents and/or on the website.


SR 10, on the other hand, is a certifiable standard developed by IQNet (of which CSQA is a partner through membership of the CISQ Federation) which aims to help organizations implement the principles defined in ISO 26000 (non-certifiable standard).
SR 10 evaluates the ways in which social responsibility issues are integrated within company strategies ; the organization can demonstrate to customers and stakeholders through certification that it is actively engaged on this front.

The strength of this standard, which embodies all the principles of ISO 26000 and of international organizations that deal with social responsibility issues, lies in requiring organizations to adopt an approach according to the Deming Cycle aimed at continuous improvement.


The Social Report , also known as the Sustainability Report , is instead a reporting tool and requires the organization to draw up a balance taking into consideration the relevant parameters, which range from the economic, environmental and social fields.

There are internationally recognized Guidelines that guide organizations in drafting the document. The most widespread and internationally recognized models are G4 by GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) and AA1000 - Assurance Accountability 1000 (by ISEA Institute for social & ethical accounting).
The Sustainability Report refers to one year and is generally drawn up through the activity of an internal work group within the organisation. The document, generally in its almost final version, can be sworn by a third party, who assesses the consistency of the document with the methodology adopted and who draws up a sworn letter.

SEDEX extension

Another initiative in the field of social responsibility was born within SEDEX , a non-profit organization based in London which aims to promote ethical issues in supply chains around the world.

Sedex has created SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit), an audit and reporting methodology.
The project was born with the aim of harmonizing the ethical requirements and reports that every retailer asks of its suppliers , trying to reduce costs and the commitment of each subject by avoiding duplication of audits on the same issues.

In this regard, an IT platform with personalized access has been created, so that each person can see the areas of his or her interest.
Companies participating in a supply chain can enter this system, regardless of the product category. Generally entry into this system is required by the retailer; it can rarely happen that a company independently chooses to enter the system, I intend to use this as a tool to enter certain markets/distribution chains more easily.

The version of the SMETA Methodology 6.0 came into effect on 1 June 2017 and will replace version 5.0.

The main changes concern the following aspects:
  • the topic of human rights based on the UN document UN Guiding Principles for business & human rights is introduced
  • increase transparency regarding the recruitment process
  • address the issue of forced labor in a more structured way
  • introduction of new requirements under the UK Modern Slavery Act
  • has financial requirements and allows auditors to issue non-conformances in this area

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