What is Social Compliance Audit and Why You Should Conduct It
A social compliance audit is a way to determine if a business is compliant with codes and standards for social responsibility such as the areas of health and safety, discrimination and harassment, working hours and conditions, wages, child and forced labor, and freedom of association.
Social compliance is being practiced mostly by manufacturers and retailers, also known as suppliers and brands.
The Importance of Social Compliance
According to the president of the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines, Robert Young, “Social compliance is now a global standard, and a responsibility both by the exporter and the importer. Today, it is a fundamental consideration when evaluating a factory’s ability to compete in the international market.”
Social compliance has become a central focus and concern by the global market with companies expanding their sourcing efforts in developing countries and also due to an increase in consumers’ social awareness and pressure.
Social compliance can directly affect a company’s bottom line especially if the corporate brand and image are critical assets. More importantly, it demonstrates that a company maintains ethical practices, shows concern with sustainability, and treats their employees and stakeholders fairly.
Social Compliance Audits
Assessment for social compliance can be performed by a buyer’s in-house auditors or third-party auditors at the supplier’s facilities.
Among the certifications and standards for conducting social audits, the SA8000 is a pioneering initiative and is considered as the main social certification program.
Unlike ISO 2600, SA8000 is auditable by a third party organization wherein companies that submits to this audit can obtain a certificate of compliance. SA8000 audit checklists cover the following areas:
- Underage labor
- Collective bargaining
- Document review
- Freedom of association
- Harassment and abuse
- Health and safety
- Prison or forced labor
- Excessive work hours
Using Rapid Audit for Social Compliance Audits
Many retailers and importers today are concerned about social compliance. Using Rapid Audit to assess your supplier’s social compliance can help simplify the collection of audit data and evidence by eliminating your paper-based checklists. Conducting multiple audit campaigns, getting the results in real time, and most importantly, protecting your brand is made easier with Rapid Audit.