Sustainable Growth Company
+44 (0) 1484 681 796
17 Allergill Park, HD9 3XH

SEDEX is a web-based system that’s designed to manage data for organisations reviewing their suppliers. They developed the SMETA audit as a template for auditing supply chains with two main aims; to ease the burden on suppliers facing multiple audits from various organisations, and to drive improvements in the ethical performance of global supply chains.

The SEDEX Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) is the audit methodology created by the SEDEX membership to give a central agreed audit protocol which can be confidently shared. It was developed by the SEDEX Associate Auditor Group (AAG). The latest version is SMETA 5.0.

The SMETA Audit is the most commonly used ethical audit format; over 230,000 SMETA’s have been conducted in 150 countries and they account for 78% of the audits on SEDEX. SMETA is designed to reduce duplication of effort in ethical trade auditing; this was in response to member demand for an ethical audit report that could be easily shared.

Rather than a code of conduct, SMETA is a description of an audit procedure which has a compilation of good practice in ethical audit technique. SEDEX introduced SMETA to use the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code and the local law as its monitoring standards. There are two varying approaches available within the SMETA auditing process; 2 Pillar and 4 Pillar SMETA Audit Reports.

At Sustainable Growth Company we have extensive research of ethical trading issues and social auditing through our long association with B&Q and its supply chain of almost 20 years. Our social and SMETA audit team is led by Peter Warbrick. Peter is a highly experienced CSR, ethical and social systems lead auditor and trainer and has audited on behalf of major retail organisations and their suppliers over many years. Peter leads an experienced team of auditors who are all qualified in SMETA auditing.

SGC conducts audits in accordance with SEDEX Members Ethical Trade Audit best practice guidelines and measurement criteria. Our particular approach to SMETA audits has been developed through review of hundreds of reports. Our focus is to identify root causes of non-compliance, not merely the symptoms.

SEDEX Audit Process and Requirements

  • Audit length varies upwards from one day depending on size of workforce
  • Our SMETA auditors will organise with you a suitable date for the audit
  • A detailed agenda will be prepared and agreed before the visit
  • The agenda will include site tours, interviews and meetings with key staff, plus conversations with staff encountered during site tours
  • Prior to the audit, we access to the self-assessment questionnaire (this should already be completed)
  • The site tour will include all areas
  • The audit will include a group interview with a number of staff selected by the auditor
  • During the audit we need to access a range of documented information
  • Following the audit, a full report will be provided (which can then be uploaded onto SEDEX)
  • Where applicable, a corrective action plan will be required for each nonconformity identified.


Useful information:


2 Pillar/4 Pillar Approach

ETI Base Code

Audit Process and Requirements

Sustainable Growth Company
SGC specialises in sustainability, corporate social responsibility, risk management, environmental management, health and safety, compliance, management systems and emissions trading.
Contact Information
Company information
Sustainable Growth Company Limited
Registered office: 17 Allergill Park, HD9 3XH Company number: 02578553