Sedex response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The recent outbreak of coronavirus (covid-19) has become an increasingly global challenge. The virus has caused widespread business and worker rights related concerns. As always, people working in international supply chains are Sedex’s main priority, and we believe it is important to protect worker rights, while maintaining business continuity where possible, during and after the coronavirus outbreak.

Here is our Guidance for Sedex Members during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sedex is here for our customers throughout the unfolding coronavirus situation, and our Member Services Team continues to be available on our regular channels 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. To ensure the health and safety of our staff, we have closed all global offices in Australia, Japan, India, China, UK and Chile, and all staff continue to work remotely from home for the foreseeable future.


Update on audits in high risk areas

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, health and safety precautions and lack of transport, some Affiliate Audit Companies (AAC) are being restricted from performing audits in high risk virus areas, such as China, Italy and Iran. Sedex is currently exploring approaches to minimise disruption to audits and responsible sourcing activities, to continue promoting safe working conditions for workers. We will inform you of updates in due course.

Sedex would like to note that SMETA audits need to be conducted in person, and virtual or remote audits are not permitted. If your site is being audited and has decided to postpone the audit for safety reasons, please inform your audit firm as soon as possible. Audits can be performed in low risk areas.


Sedex recommendations

Sedex recognises that these circumstances may cause interruption to some businesses, their suppliers and production. We would like to ask that members have patience and understanding that audits may be delayed, and the health and safety of auditors and business staff is a priority.

We recommend that our members review and update their own audit schedule and planning and keep the lines of communication open with suppliers and auditors to limit impact where possible.

Members can consider the following actions to minimise the impact of supply chain disruption and help to ensure safe working conditions:

  1. Map and identify suppliers located in high-risk geographies, in order to understand the extent of the potential challenges.
  2. Understand products and services in your supply chain that are likely to be delayed or impacted, and plan for worst-case scenarios.
  3. Source personal protective equipment such as face masks and hand sanitiser for staff.
  4. Review the possibility for employees in high-risk areas to work from home and avoid public transport.
  5. Review the need to travel internationally and attend large scale events in high risk areas.

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