Sedex launches industry-first Virtual Assessment tool for COVID-19-era assessment
We are delighted to announce the launch of Virtual Assessment – a new remote assessment tool designed to conduct remote assessments of sites and workplaces. The assessment enables Sedex members to continue assessing their sites and suppliers and maintain supply chain visibility, which is crucial during these challenging times.
This first-to-market tool enables businesses to continue supply chain assessment while restrictions relating to COVID-19 remain in place around the world.
What is Sedex Virtual Assessment?
Sedex Virtual Assessment uses video technology to allow auditors to assess a site remotely. Following a thorough planning stage, auditors conduct a virtual site tour via video alongside examination of a site’s documentation and management systems.
Sedex Virtual Assessment is aligned with Sedex’s SMETA methodology, designed to provide as much insight into performance and working conditions as possible where in-person audits are not possible.
This is particularly important in the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, when restrictions mean that access to sites for in-person audits is limited. Virtual Assessment also provides flexibility when on-site audits are an option but not ideal, such as sites in extremely remote locations – the tool has already been used in Guatemala and Papua New Guinea, amongst others.
We are delighted to bring Sedex Virtual Assessment to our members. In these uncertain times, it is more critical than ever for companies to maintain transparency and protect workers throughout the global supply chain. Site assessment is an integral part of this – at Sedex we knew we should empower our members to continue this activity while respecting necessary safety restrictions around the world.
Magali Martowicz, Director of Responsible Sourcing
A Virtual Assessment can be used:
- For a full initial assessment
- For periodic assessments (e.g. annual)
- For follow-up assessments
- Only for announced audits
Site suitability criteria applies – learn more here.
What are the benefits of a Virtual Assessment?
- Site assessments can continue during restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic – when international travel is prohibited, or during localised lockdowns
- Aligned to SMETA to thoroughly assess performance and working conditions, and to align data with a company’s previous audits for data analysis.
- Site accessibility even for remote, hard-to-reach locations or regions where only one site requires assessment. Sedex Virtual Assessments have already been completed in Papua New Guinea, Guatemala and Cameroon.
- Cost savings by reducing travel costs to transport auditors to remote areas or countries.
Virtual Assessment: the story so far
Sedex and selected members have been testing Virtual Assessment since June 2020. Early signs are encouraging, with an increasing number of Virtual Assessments scheduled and completed month-on-month.
Sedex Virtual Assessments accounted for almost 2% of all audits uploaded to the Sedex platform in September 2020.
Continental breakdown of sites with Sedex Virtual Assessments completed
Uptake has been strongest in India, where more than 20% of Sedex Virtual Assessments have been conducted to date. Types of sites assessed include manufacturing and rural agriculture.
Sedex is pleased to support its membership base during these challenging times by developing new solutions at pace. This year, we have also released our new worker voice tool in partnership with &Wider, as well as launching our COVID-19 Modular SAQ that supplements our core Self-Assessment Questionnaire. We will continue improving Sedex Virtual Assessment and other remote assessment tools to facilitate supply chain transparency, supplier assessment and an understanding of worker conditions.
I am thrilled to offer the first available virtual assessment tool to Sedex members. We knew our members wished to continue assessing sites despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we pivoted quickly to develop Virtual Assessment as a solution.
We’ll continue to invest in this tool and I look forward to introducing Virtual Assessment to an increasing number of our members, so they may continue to assess their supply chains even in these difficult circumstances.
Allison Hudson, Director of Member and Customer Relations