As part of the global supply chain, your organization plays a role in the health of the planet and the people living on it; auditing your ethical credentials gives you a way to communicate that role to your customers, encouraging trust, loyalty and growth in your business. 

Created by the Sedex Stakeholder Forum, the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) is one of the world’s most widely used ethical audit formats – a compilation of good practice in ethical audit techniques that cover all aspects of responsible business.

With a focus on labor standards and health and safety, SMETA covers the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) for Business and Human Rights and the UK Modern Day Slavery Act 2015, which means the report shows that your organization operates ethically, with respect for people. This helps you strengthen your reputation, providing a basis for good stakeholder relations.


Any organization in the consumer goods supply chain.

What you need to know

More and more buyers are requesting SMETA reports from their suppliers; the good news is you only need one audit to share with multiple customers, saving you time and money.

SMETA has a focus on people – labor standards in particular. For example, it aims to increase transparency and improve reporting on recruitment, to tackle forced labor and to measure positive impacts through indicators like worker turnover. SMETA uses local law and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code, an internationally recognized code of labor practice, as measurement tools.

SMETA includes four modules, two of which are optional at the request of the buyer:

  • Health and safety
  • Labour standards
  • Environment (optional)
  • Business ethics (optional)

About 280,000 SMETAs have been conducted so far.

Getting audited by Kiwa

If you’re working with consumer goods in the supply chain, you’re under pressure from buyers and consumers to show your ethical credentials, including proving good human rights records and revealing no forced labor in your value chain.

At Kiwa we have experienced inspectors to carry out SMETA audits; by partnering with us, you can streamline your reporting to your customers, meeting everyone’s demands with minimal burden.


SMETA is developed and maintained by the Sedex Stakeholder Forum (the SSF). Sedex is an international non-profit membership organization that simplifies doing business that benefits everyone, and the Forum features some high-profile multinational companies.

SMETA was developed in 2012 for Sedex members, but Sedex has since made it publicly available in order to promote transparency and share knowledge. The latest version of SMETA was launched in April 2017.


  • Boost your profits – by helping you improve ethical practices and meet customers’ needs, SMETA can help boost your business – and the bottom line
  • Reduce your costs – SMETA helps you reduce costs through its standardized approach to sharing audit information
  • Improve trust – the transparency that comes from a SMETA process enables you to build trust with your customers and suppliers
  • Meet customers’ demands – buyers request ethical audits; with one SMETA you can meet all their demands
  • Demonstrate your commitment to ethical practices – reports shows customers, partners and employees that you are committed to human rights and good labor practices
  • Improve competitiveness – SMETA helps you enter new markets and forge new partnerships
  • Reduce reputational risk – with SMETA, you can identify and mitigate potential reputational risks, and  can help you enhance your reputation for ethical operations
  • Improve your supply chain – SMETA lets you look more closely at your supply chain, building better communications and relationships with your suppliers