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SEDEX Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) is an audit methodology encompassing all aspects of business practice ethics. It provides a compilation of best practice ethical audit techniques 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 was designed to minimize duplication of effort and provide members with an audit format they could easily share. SMETA reports are published in the SEDEX system, ensuring transparency and efficient information sharing. It was developed to help protect workers from unsafe conditions, overwork, discrimination, low pay and forced labor.

SMETA audits conducted by one of the approved auditor companies 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 with a condensed environmental assessment. The two additional pillars of a 4-pillar audit are Business Ethics and an extended Environmental assessment. 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
  • Environmental assessment (condensed)

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

  • Environmental assessment (extended)
  • Business Ethics

Additional Considerations:

  • Mangement Systems
  • Entitlement to Work
  • Subcontracting and Homeworking

SMETA is the world’s most widely used audit. Businesses use SMETA to understand and make improvements to working conditions and environmental performance in their business and supply chain

How are SEDEX and SMETA related?

The Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX) is a not-for-profit, membership organization that works with buyers and suppliers to achieve improvements in responsible and ethical business practices throughout global supply chains. 

SMETA (SEDEX Members Ethical Trade Audit) is the audit procedure created by the SEDEX membership which is a compilation of good practice in ethical audit technique. Using SMETA, a supplier can have one audit conducted and share it with multiple customers, rather than having a different audit conducted for each customer. The SMETA documents are designed to be used by experienced auditors in line with current established practices.
SMETA has been developed to provide guidance for both 2-Pillar and 4-Pillar audits, allowing individual supply chains to choose their requirements. The guidance can be adopted and tailored to carry out audits against a range of other labor codes based on the conventions of the International Labor Organisation (ILO).


SEDEX is one of the world’s leading ethical trade service providers, working to improve working conditions in global supply chains. They provide practical tools, services and a community network to help companies improve their responsible and sustainable business practices, and source responsibly. SEDEX developed SEDEX Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) as an audit methodology for ethical trade.

Benefits of SMETA Certification

How SMETA benefits your organization

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 and will help:

  • Reduce audit fatigue by providing one format for audits that is widely accepted
  • Motivate the workforce, while improving efficiency in the workplace
  • Enhance ethical trading programs currently in place
  • Answer questions on ethical performance from non-government organizations and customers

Why Get Certified for SMETA?

Using SMETA, companies (such as Walmart) can identify good practices in employment conditions. Auditing using SMETA offers benefits such as providing evidence that your company has a commitment to ethical trading, which is increasingly valued by consumers. It ensures:

  • 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

Companies often hire expert consultants to simplify the certification process and reduce the burden on existing management teams in leaning new standards, ensuring compliance, developing documentation and more. This ultimately makes it more cost effective for companies to hire consultants to support them through the process than pursuing it on their own.

Quality Systems Enhancement is the only company that offers guaranteed certification through our 10-Step Approach™. QSE management consultants emphasize developing simplified, documented Management Systems which meet or exceed the requirements of any standard. This 10-Step Approach™ has a built-in discipline to involve all employees, including top management, right from the beginning to achieve long-term, desired results. Our approach is so complete that we have helped over 800 companies obtain certification, of which, the majority have obtained certification with zero deficiencies.

Support Services Offered by QSE

SMETA Training:

  • QSE offers comprehensive training programs to help organizations understand and implement the Walmart Global Ethics & Compliance Audit requirements effectively.
  • Our training sessions are tailored to suit your specific needs, whether you are new to the standard or looking to enhance your existing knowledge.
  • Our experienced trainers provide practical insights and real-world examples to make the learning process engaging and informative.

SMETA Consulting:

  • QSE’s team of expert consultants specializes in guiding organizations through the process of achieving compliance with Walmart Global Ethics & Compliance Audit requirements
  • We offer customized consulting services that address your unique challenges and objectives.
  • Our consultants work closely with your team to develop a tailored strategy for successful implementation and certification

SMETA Auditing:

  • QSE conducts thorough audits to assess your organization’s conformity with the Walmart Global Ethics & Compliance Audit requirements
  • Our auditors have extensive experience in evaluating compliance and identifying areas for improvement
  • We provide detailed audit reports and actionable recommendations to help you continually improve your SMETA management system.

About QSE

Quality Systems Enhancement (QSE) was founded in 1992 by Baskar Kotte in Roswell, Georgia. Throughout the years, QSE has grown to include consultants from all over the world including the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, and more.

QSE has helped over 800 companies to achieve registration in very diverse industries such as automotive, aerospace, electronics, healthcare, packaging, telecommunications and more. QSE is also a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and a member of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) throughout the following states: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, and Kentucky.

Our proprietary 10-Step Approach™ to certification addresses each element in the standard and includes a mix of specialized training, consulting and auditing. We have used this approach successfully registering over 800 companies. Our approach has provided a one hundred percent success rate the first time through. Many of these successes were “zero deficiency” audits.

When utilizing this approach, we guarantee registration in as little as seven to eight months.

Of course, a variety of options are available to you based on your particular needs or budget requirements. We provide a no-obligation visit to assess your needs and offer a program that is customized to your company.

Documentation is at the core of every management System. We believe in a one-level documentation system as opposed to the two / three / four level documentation structures preferred by many others. Our documentation rarely exceeds 200 pages, including all attachments. One of the intangible benefits of our simplistic one-of-a-kind documentation is that it is easy to maintain – and that is a great advantage when it comes to maintaining your compliance. We guarantee that our documentation addresses all the requirements of any standard and once implemented, will work for your company. Guaranteed!

Quality Systems Enhancement Inc 
Office: 770-518-9967
Toll Free: 888-404-4476

Need Certification?

Quality System Enhancement has been a leader in global certification services for the past 30 years. With more than 800 companies successfully certified, our proprietary 10-Step Approach™ to certification offers an unmatched 100% success rate for our clients.

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