Ethical Sourcing Audit (SMETA/SEDEX)

Through QIMA, we offer ethical sourcing audits (SMETA) conducted in accordance with SEDEX's Associate Auditor Group's Best Practices, to help brands and retailers secure their supply chains.

Social accountability is an important element of a company's sourcing, which helps ensure better product quality, fosters consumer loyalty, and emphasizes good corporate citizenship.

Through QIMA, we offer SMETA Audits, which are accepted by major brands and retailers to support your company's social responsibility mission. The audits are performed by APSCA auditors

What Is SMETA?

SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) is an ethical audit methodology which encompasses all aspects of responsible business practice. As a multi-stakeholder initiative, SMETA was designed to minimize duplication of effort and provide members and suppliers with an audit format they could easily share. SMETA reports are published in the SEDEX system, ensuring transparency and efficient information sharing.

The SMETA Audit Methodology

SMETA audits use the ETI Base Code, founded on the conventions of the International Labor Organization, as well as relevant local laws. SMETA audits can be conducted against two or four auditing pillars. The two pillars mandatory for any SMETA audit are Labor Standards and Health & Safety. The two additional pillars of a 4-pillar audit are Business Ethics and Environment. They were introduced to further deepen the social responsibility aspect of SMETA audits.

A SMETA 2-pillar audit comprises the following modules:

  • Labor Standards
  • Health and Safety
  • Additional Elements:
  • Management Systems
  • Entitlement to Work
  • Subcontracting and Homeworking
  • Environmental assessment (shortened)

A SMETA 4-pillar audit covers the above elements, plus:

  • Environmental assessment (extended)
  • Business Ethics

SMETA Expertise

Being a member of the Sedex Associate Auditor Group, QIMA can conduct SMETA audits in compliance with the latest Best Practice Guidelines (SMETA 6.1). Our highly qualified auditors carry out on-site observations, conduct interviews with factory management and workers, inspect documents provided by the factory, and present their findings in a SMETA Audit Report. Based on the audit report, our experts can prepare a SMETA Corrective Action Plan Report (CAPR), outlining the improvements that the factory must make to achieve compliance

SEDEX Virtual Assessment

QIMA is approved to conduct Sedex Virtual Assessments, a remote alternative to the standard SMETA Audit. The Sedex Virtual Assessment is based on the SMETA audit methodology and utilizes video conferencing technology to remotely connect an auditor with the factory site.

This initiative was launched in July 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and delays in audits taking place due to difficulties gaining physical access to factories caused by restrictions on travel and movement of people, as well as health concerns related to outside auditors visiting a factory site.

While a Virtual Assessment may be a suitable solution to reduce risk when physical access to a factory is not possible, it should not replace a complete in-person audit to verify social and labor conditions. An in-person audit should always be performed where possible.

To conduct a Virtual Assessment, a factory site must be checked for suitability prior to the assessment taking place. This includes reviewing internet connectivity, checking that there are suitable facilities for the assessment and worker interviews to take place, verifying that all areas of the site can be accessed, and assessing if the site is running at sufficient capacity to assess true conditions.

Why Conduct SMETA Audits?

  • Achieve greater visibility into your supply chain
  • Continuously improve your supplier relations
  • Receive independent verification of your ethical compliance
  • Eliminate the need for multiple certifications – SEDEX is internationally recognized
  • Strengthen your brand's standing in ethical compliance


  • Global footprint for supplier audit programs
  • Accredited to international standards (BSCI, Sedex, ICS, RJC...) or your own protocols
  • All-inclusive pricing (no extra charge for Auditor's expenses)
  • Detailed and actionable reports and KPIs reporting
  • An auditor onsite within 48 hours [1]
  • Easy online scheduling of services: book audits and check reports from the convenience of your online account and QIMA mobile app