What is social compliance?

Social compliance is a continuing process in which organizations endeavor to protect the health, safety, and rights of their employees, the community and environment in which they operate, and the lives and communities of workers in their supply and distribution chains. Social compliance and social responsibility may address concerns about:

  • Labor rights for workers
  • Fair labor laws
  • Harvesting and the use of conflict minerals
  • General environmental
  • Sustainability questions.

what is the importance of social compliance audits?

Social compliance auditing is practiced mainly by retailers and manufacturers, also called purchasers or brands. Auditing allows brands to maintain oversight of the social practices of their supply chain, including maintaining company-established codes of conduct regarding purchasing and following local labor, health, and safety laws.

Attention to social compliance also serves to protect your brand reputation among consumers. The information garnered during social compliance audits and by producing continuous improvement plans for suppliers and retailers can help companies address critics and articulate an understanding of worker conditions and necessary improvements.

Why is it important for your company to be socially responsible?

Behaving in a socially responsible manner means ensuring the protection of the health and safety of workers, including those within our supply and distribution chains; defending human rights and protecting the community and the environment in which we operate. Some of the main benefits that this brings to your company include the following:   

  1. Show customers and stakeholders that your company and employees comply with local laws, international standards, and ethical practices applicable to your region and industry.  
  2. Create a higher level of trust in your company.  
  3. Collection of valuable data to improve decision making 
  4. Enhanced relationships with all stakeholders  
  5. Attract and retain talent and promote employee engagement 

How to achieve social compliance in the apparel industry?

Complying with a certain set of standards, good practices and governmental regulations is crucial, regardless of the industry. However, in the apparel industry, companies often face a challenging turning point when outsourcing some of their processes, such as: sewing, washing, embroidering, etc., as they need to secure their third-party providers adhere to certain practices. 

One of the biggest challenges, considered by social schemes (BSCI, SMETA), is to guarantee the safety of the company’s workers. For certain regions, the textile industry is mostly underpaid, meaning that workers are paid less than the minimum established wage or even paid per piece worked. Therefore, part of the job of the social auditor is to verify that workers are allowed a salary that meets the minimum requirements for them to have access to decent living conditions. In other regions, the main difficulties come from extremely high staff turnover rates. The direct and indirect costs of replacing staff members often include the cost of retirement, selection processes, training, and lost productivity.  

In order to ensure the production of high-quality products while meeting production targets and maximizing profitability, it is essential that garment factories consider conducting a social compliance audit such as those provided by ALGI. These can be used as a measuring tool to determine whether a factory’s social compliance standards are being met and be a differentiating factor within the industry. 

Why is sustainability a business approach?

In order to adapt to the new ways of working, businesses will have to aim beyond driving profitability, creating value not only for their shareholders but also for society. This is done by targeting humanity’s toughest challenges as their own and thinking beyond traditional initiatives for corporate social responsibility.  

Nowadays, companies face the need to define competition on a broader scale, adding new depths of value through a holistic well-being approach, environmental sustainability, and an ethical corporate culture. In order to achieve this, organizations require radical business model innovations to enable circular economies for precious resources.  

Furthermore, stakeholders are pressuring companies and investors to go beyond financial returns and take a more holistic view of their impact on society. Changes are best approached when they scale up from details, to the most innovative decisions, creating movements that drive better results. Become part of an ethical and sustainable culture and begin to identify the gaps that prevent your company from reaching its full potential, to then create a plan to remedy them.

why is being social compliant important for your company?

  • Brand reputation among consumers
  • Trains the community on participatory local planning.
  • Encourages local democracy.
  • Encourages community participation.
  • Benefits disadvantaged/minority
  • Promotes collective decision making and sharing responsibilities.
  • Develops human resources and social capital

What are the objectives of a social audit?

  • Creating awareness among beneficiaries and providers of local social and productive services.
  • Increasing efficiency and effectiveness of local development programmers
  • Scrutiny of various policy decisions, keeping in view stakeholder interests and priorities, particularly of rural poor.
  • Estimation of the benefits for stakeholders of timely certification

How are social audits conducted?

A social audit is a way of measuring, understanding, reporting and ultimately improving an organization’s social and ethical performance.  Social audit is conducted based in local labor, CoC/standard, health and safety laws.

What is an Audit?

Systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining evidence and the respective objective assessment, to determine the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled.

FIRST PARTY AUDIT OR INTERNAL AUDIT

An audit performed by the organization itself, using internal or external auditors to it.

SECOND PARTY AUDIT OR A SUPPLIER AUDIT

Audit performed by parties with direct interest in the organization, such as their clients, according to a set of requirements defined by them.

THIRD PARTY AUDIT

Audit performed by external organizations, and in accordance with the defined standards framework (audits for certification purposes).

What is a virtual audit?

During the past few months, the world has shifted and is adapting to new ways of working due to COVID-19. A Virtual Assessment aims to provide a complete evaluation that follows the same criteria as an on-site audit, only this time, using technology as a tool for auditors and clients to communicate transparently about company processes, policies, procedures and personnel in real-time.  

This can be beneficial for companies affected by the current pandemic that wish to maintain their certifications/reports or for those who want to make significant internal changes that may increase their reputational value by becoming certified in sustainable growth and compliance. These audits are suitable for companies regardless of their location, and offer a more flexible solution and lowered costs, as travel expenses are no longer needed.  

In order for your company to be eligible for the Virtual Assessment, we evaluate whether it meets certain essential parameters and is able to conduct normal audit process virtually. This includes virtual access to documents through digital tools, privacy and confidentiality considerations, and the ability to conduct a site tour and interviews 

What is a social scheme/Standard?

The Social Standard connects brands with top social talent on emerging platforms (Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope & Facebook Book Live). Their influencers are content creators, personalities and story tellers with one common thread, highly engaged audiences.

Social compliance refers to a continuous process in which organisations endeavour to protect the health, safety, and rights of their employees, the community and environment in which they operate, and the lives and communities of workers in their supply and distribution chains. To ensure that a company meets social compliance standards, it may be necessary to conduct a social compliance audit.

For a long time, ALGI has been a member and part of the most reliable standards on the market, such as Sedex, SAI, amfori-BSCI, WRAP and others, offering our clients quality, transparency and the know-how of experienced auditors that guarantee we are your company´s best social compliance partner.

What is amfori-BSCI?

amfori is the leading global business association for open and sustainable trade. Their vision is of a world where all trade delivers social, environmental and economic benefits for everyone.

amfori – BSCI Audit cycle is two years with a follow-up audit prior to the completion of 12 month from the full audit date.

Can BSCI audit reports be revised?

The audit report is a document issued by an auditor that includes all the key observations made upon the conduction of an audit. It is an essential instrument not only to the company’s stakeholders, but to Government agencies and public at large, as well. 

However, there are certain situations in which further revision is required, due to apparent errors or factual inaccuracies. Reports can be reviewed through the platform in which they have been published, as it is possible to unlock them after submission upon request of the auditor. Nevertheless, reports can only be revised under specific circumstances, such as changes in the company address, changes in the auditor’s name, changes in the company’s name, changes in audit findings, changes in the date of the audit or changes in the attached file. 

Taking into account the additional enhancements that will modify the current BSCI platform, audit reports will be available for review only as of January 1, 2021. Currently, for an audit to be reviewed, the auditor must request the scheme manager to unlock the report and specify the items to be revised. 

What is amfori BEPI?

amfori BEPI was founded in 2013 and provides a comprehensive range of services that enable companies to drive focused environmental improvements in their supply chain and to trade with purpose. 

What is a Higg FEM audit?

Higg FEM is a tool develop by SAC. The Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) informs manufacturers, brands, and retailers about the environmental performance of their individual facilities, empowering them to scale sustainability improvements. 

The Higg FEM provides facilities a clear picture of their environmental impacts. It helps them identify and prioritize opportunities for performance improvements. 

What is a Higg vFSLM audit?

The Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (Higg FSLM) promotes safe and fair social and labor conditions for value chain workers all over the world. Facilities can use the scored assessment to understand hotspots and reduce audit fatigue. Instead of focusing on compliance, they can dedicate time and resources to making lasting systemic changes. 

What is SA8000?

SA8000 is an auditable certification standard based on international workplace norms of international Labor Organization (ILO) conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the local labor law. Those seeking to comply with SA8000 have adopted policies and procedures that protect the basic human rights of workers.

SA8000 Audit cycle is three years with surveillance audits every six months.

What is SLCP?

The SLCP is an independent multi-stakeholder program which has developed the Converged Assessment Framework (CAF) (this includes a Data Collection Tool and verification methodology) as well as data hosting and sharing process. 

Do you know the difference between Higg FSLM and SLCP?

The Higg Index FSLM is a self-assessment tool completed by a facility or client interested in receiving a score that can make their social compliance fingerprint comparable to other industries.   

The score obtained can then be verified by a VB (Verification Body) accredited by SLCP to support the accuracy of the answers provided by the facility in the FSLM tool. In order to do so, the client needs to first purchase the verification on the Higg Platform. The assessment then converts into a vFSLM (verification Facility Social & Labor Module), which becomes the SLCP verification.   

Therefore, the assessment will appear on the SLCP Gateway of the selected VB, for them to assign the verifier who will proceed with the verification on site. 

What is SMETA?

SMETA is an audit methodology, providing a compilation of best practice ethical audit techniques. It is designed to help auditors conduct high quality audits that encompass all aspects of responsible business practice, covering SEDEX’s four pillars of Labor, Health and Safety, Environment and Business Ethics.

SMETA is designed for suppliers to share one audit with multiple customers, meeting multiple customer requirements and reducing duplication in ethical auditing based on the ETI base code.

The Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) is a ground-breaking alliance of companies, trade unions and voluntary organizations which promotes the implementation of corporate codes of practice which cover supply chain working conditions. Their ultimate goal is to ensure that the working conditions of workers meet or exceed international labor standards.

It is composed of two key elements: the ETI Base Code and the accompanying Principles of Implementation. ETI has developed a code of labor practice reflecting the most relevant international standards with respect to labor practices and the local labor laws.

SMETA audits are only valid when registered on SEDEX Advance, a collaborative platform for buyers, suppliers and auditors to store, share and report on information quickly and easily.

What is a Textile Exchange?

Textile Exchange is a global nonprofit that creates leaders in the preferred fiber and materials industry. 

What is WRAP?

The WRAP Principles are based on generally accepted international workplace standards, local laws and workplace regulations, and include the spirit or language of relevant conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO). The Principles encompass human resources management, health and safety, environmental practices, and legal compliance including import/export and customs compliance and security standards.

Attaining a WRAP certification involves a 5-step process. It begins with the production facility filing an initial application with WRAP and paying the registration fee. Then the facility will conduct a self-assessment of its compliance with WRAP’s 12 Principles, which is followed by an additional audit conducted by one of the accredited monitoring partners. The audit report is sent to WRAP, where it is decided whether a certification is granted.

WRAP audit can is validating according the type of certification:

  • Silver Certificate (valid for 6months)
  • Gold Certificate (valid for 1 year)
  • Platinum, Certificate (valid for 2 years)

Are audit reports public?

An audit report is a detailed statement in which the auditing firm acknowledges a series of key improvement opportunities within the auditee’s current processes. It is designed to measure an organization’s performance and provide evidence to their clients of the organization’s current stand under the parameters of any given social scheme.  

However, the decision to make this reports public, relies entirely on the organization’s board/senior management team, this guarantees the confidentiality of the obtained information. Nevertheless, by disclosing the information contained in the Audit Report, not only is the company evidencing its attempt to improve its performance, but also promoting transparency, accountability and trust among its stakeholders. By continuously striving to meet and exceed its social responsibility benchmarks, the auditee can improve its public perception and build a positive reputation in the long run. 

Are audit firms audited?

When it comes to compliance, auditing is crucial to ensure that companies effectively represent their social and ethical commitment. This is guided by a management system that is not only driven by financial growth, but also follows national laws, external regulations and internal guidelines. Audits can help a company identify their weaknesses in regulatory compliance processes and create paths for improvement. Ideally, the guidance provided by the auditing firm can help reduce risks and provide all stakeholders, a sense of security. This procedure and its benefits can also be applied to the firm conducting the audit. 

Following the need for credibility and reliance, firms that conduct audits, such as ALGI, undergo auditing processes as well. These can be conducted by the various social schemes we evaluate, in order to guarantee our audits, reports and operations are reliable and of great quality. In order to be certified by a social scheme, we are subject of a thorough evaluation of our management systems along with periodical visits and revisions. During the context of COVID-19, these audits have now successfully shifted to virtual evaluations, as to keep securing the best interest of our clients. 

Why should you choose ALGI?

Personalized Services: We commit to the delivery of a responsible service, our scheme and code of conduct specialized team, will assist you during the pre and post audit activities so that the audit entailment and social compliance requirements are well understood.

Impartiality Transparency and Confidentiality: In our commercial agreement and customer service, and of course, during the auditing and reporting process.

Operational Quality:

  • By allocating the most competitive and reliable Audit Team
  • By strictly adhering our service to the scheme or international standard criteria
  • By being specialized in the country/industry

Best Cost-efficient service:

  • Most precise and neat Audit Report that can help you improve your social compliance management system
  • Technical accuracy in the definition of audit man-days according to your business and the scheme’s requirements
  • Responsible audit fees

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