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Unveiling the Upcoming New SMETA Audit Methodology

Enhancing Supply Chain Sustainability

In the realm of supply chain sustainability, the SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) methodology has long been recognised as a trusted assessment tool. It empowers businesses to engage in responsible sourcing, safeguard workers’ rights, and maintain ethical practices throughout their supply chains. Sedex is updating the SMETA audit methodology in 2024, aiming to provide a more focused assessment that helps identify harder-to-detect issues on site. This article delves into the key changes and benefits of the new SMETA methodology, shedding light on its potential to enhance supply chain sustainability.

Overview of SMETA Audit Methodology

The current SMETA audit methodology serves as a comprehensive framework for assessing labour practices, health and safety, environmental impact, and business ethics. It enables businesses to evaluate their supply chain practices and identify areas for improvement.

Need for Change

Recognising the evolving landscape of responsible sourcing and the need for more targeted assessments, Sedex has decided to update the SMETA methodology. The aim is to address the limitations of the current methodology and provide a more effective tool for identifying root causes of issues and aiding in their resolution.

Key Changes in the New SMETA Audit Methodology

The upcoming SMETA methodology introduces two major changes from SMETA 6.1. Firstly, it incorporates “Workplace Requirements,” which explicitly list what auditors should assess against the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) Base Code and local legislation. This addition provides clear compliance direction for suppliers and satisfies buyers’ need for adherence to the code.

Secondly, the new methodology introduces a “Management Systems” assessment against each area of the ETI Base Code, covering four fixed criteria. This assessment helps identify recurring risks, hidden issues, and potential future issues.

Read more about the Workplace requirements and Management systems on our eLearning platform.

Implications for Businesses

The updated SMETA methodology brings several benefits for suppliers, buyers, and auditors.

  • Suppliers will gain clearer direction on compliance requirements, aiding in the identification of areas for improvement and supporting the closure of non-conformities.
  • Buyers will benefit from increased transparency in audited practices, enhanced trust in audit outcomes, and insights into the reasons behind issues.
  • Auditors will be able evaluate suppliers more thoroughly against the ETI Base Code and will be supported and directed to focus assessments of the highest risk areas.

Transition and Implementation

The transition to the new SMETA audit methodology will be a gradual process. By the start of early next year, Sedex plans to provide training sessions, webinars, and events to support businesses during this transition.

In-house trainers from audit firms will be trained throughout 2023 and next year to ensure auditors are well-equipped to implement the updated methodology.

Additionally, e-Learning modules will be developed for auditors, buyers, and suppliers to facilitate understanding and adoption.

We’ll be constantly updating this page with the latest links to upcoming training webinars and e-Learning courses. 


SMETA’s new methodology is a testament to Sedex’s commitment to promoting ethical trade and driving social compliance within supply chains. With the new SMETA methodology, businesses across the globe will be able to continue to effectively monitor their supply chains for compliance with international labour standards and environmental management processes.