Sedex opens for virtual assessments after successful pilot. DNV GL approved provider

Personal privacy and security is essential when conducting social and ethical assessments remotely. Establishing sound processes and tools for how to execute in a trusted way has been essential to Sedex before allowing full-scale virtual assessments.

DNV GL is one of only 4 Affiliate Audit Companies (AACs) approved by Sedex to deliver virtual assessments and has been central in the development process together with other providers.

Conducting social audits on supplier remotely requires specific frameworks and digital tools to guarantee scheme owners, suppliers and involved workers the right level of anonymity and security.

Assessors deal with sensitive information from payroll, health of workers and union applications. Topics surfacing could include sexual harassment or inferior working conditions. The identity of workers interviewed must be verified, requiring allocation of a unique worker identification.  Auditing companies must check, verify and register the information. There must be absolute confidence that only allowed evidence is recorded and stored and that only the auditing third party has access to all information collected.

“We are very proud to have contributed to the development of a methodology and processes that now enables and ensures the quality of virtual social assessments,” says Antonio Astone, Supply Chain Solutions Manager, DNV GL-Business Assurance. “Meeting the stringent requirements and stakeholder expectations demands robust processes enabled by the right technologies. Combining existing technologies that brings confidence, reliability and accuracy in remote audits while ensuring privacy, anonymity, data protection and security brings trust into every audit and confidence to stakeholders.”

The new normal imposed by COVID-19 has and continues to put tremendous pressures on businesses and global supply chains. Continuing supplier qualifications and assessments has been essential but for many made impossible to execute given the situation. Many suppliers subject to social and ethical audits are part of business-critical value chains. However, delivering to brands, retailers and manufacturers means compliance with their code of conduct or other social and ethical standards like SMETA.  Stopping such audits could be detrimental to the reputation of any company, so continuing supply chain management is equally important during a crisis.

Sedex Virtual Assessment is aligned with SMETA and provides a practical alternative where SMETA audits cannot take place. The new delivery mode from Sedex ensures continuity in a time of crisis as well as contributing to progress long-term. Digital solutions developed for virtual assessment can also be applied and supplement physical audits once those are again allowed.

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