Social Audits: Working Towards a Supply Chain without Surprises
In the last 15 years, almost all companies have created a code of conduct for their suppliers. Whether that code is more than a piece of paper, depends largely on the implementation and monitoring on site. In order to be sure that suppliers and sites respect human rights and protect their workers, social audits on site are indispensable. DQS has experienced social auditors across the globe, ready to assist.
As we all know, companies have a fundamental responsibility to ensure that they respect human rights. More than just a moral duty, legislators across the globe are turning human rights due diligence into a legal requirement. As a consequence, companies that ignore social risks are not only exposed to reputational damage, but also to legal consequences.
According to the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, this so-called human rights due diligence includes the entire sphere of influence of companies. In other words, companies are not only accountable for what happens within their own organization, but also for the protection of human rights in their supply chains.
These supply chains, however, can be long and complex. How do you know whether suppliers are protecting human rights? Social audits allow you to identify the actual state of the supply chain, to identify potential risks and to take corrective action.
What do we check during a social audit?
Contrary to what you might expect from the name, a social audit often covers more than just social aspects. Most standards and audit protocols cover the following aspects:
- Working conditions
- Occupational health & safety
- Environmental management
- Business ethics
During the audit, our auditors will conduct confidential worker interviews, in order to gain first-hand information on the working conditions. They will also cross-check records and documents such as pay slips, working hours, contracts, etc. In addition, they will do a site tour to make sure there are no infrastructural, technical and chemical hazards.
Social Auditing Standards & Initiatives
DQS is a globally recognized provider of social auditing services. A large number of industry initiatives and audit schemes have approved DQS as their audit partner. These include, but are not limited to:
- Responsible Business Alliance (RBA)
- Together for Sustainability (TfS)
- Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI)
- Farm Sustainability Assessments (FSA)
- SA8000 (through the IQNet-Network of which we are a founding member)
- Sedex SMETA
In addition, we also provide custom-made social audits, tailored to the particular needs of your industry and strategy.
Our APSCA Membership: Professionalism and Global Recognition
Back in 2016, DQS was among the first auditing bodies to join the Association of Professional Social Compliance Auditors (APSCA). The aim of APSCA is to enhance the professionalism, consistency and credibility of the auditors and auditing companies conducting social audits. Many companies will only accept social audits performed by approved APSCA-auditors.
DQS - Your Partner for Social Audits
The reputation of DQS as a reliable and credible audit partner is the result of our strict policy on auditor qualification. We are convinced that a social audit can only be effective if the auditor team has the required technical competence, sector experience, soft skills and integrity. On top of that, the auditors must also be familiar with local languages and regulations.
- Technical competence: Auditors must be able to identify hazards related to machinery and infrastructure
- Sector experience: Each industry sector has its own risk profile. We therefore only use auditors who are familiar with the industry sector.
- Soft skills: In order to conduct effective worker interviews, auditors must be able to win the trust of the interviewees. DQS values soft skills and has taken up a pioneering role when it comes to combatting discrimination and violence in the workplace with ProGASA, an initiative to raise gender awareness in social auditing.
- Familiarity with local laws and culture: We use local auditors, who speak the local language and who are familiar with applicable laws and regulations.
- Integrity: All of our auditors are people we have worked together with side by side for many years. Because of this, we have the utmost confidence in their professional integrity.
Global network of auditors and offices
Expert auditors with high emotional intelligence
Recognition in industries around the globe
Comprehensive and actionable Assessment Reports