What is a SMETA audit?

ELEVATE is a trusted provider of Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audits (SMETA). This social audit methodology is designed for suppliers to share one report with multiple customers, meeting multiple customer requirements and reducing duplication in social compliance auditing. SMETA is not a certification process or standard. It is one of the most widely used ethical audit formats in the world. SMETA audits performed by ELEVATE are accepted by Sedex A and AB members and can be shared via the SEDEX system.

The SMETA Audit Methodology

ELEVATE conducts SMETA audits in compliance with the Best Practice Guidelines (6.1). These audits use the ETI Base Code, founded on the conventions of the International Labour Organization, as well as relevant local laws. The two pillars mandatory for any SMETA audit are Labor Standards and Health & Safety. The two additional pillars of a 4-pillar audit were introduced to further deepen the environmental and ethical business aspects of the assessment.

A SMETA 2-pillar audit comprises the following modules:

  • Labor Standards
  • Health and Safety
  • Additional Elements:
    • Management Systems
    • Entitlement to Work
    • Subcontracting and Homeworking
    • Environmental assessment (shortened)

A SMETA 4-pillar audit covers the above elements, plus:

  • Environmental assessment (extended)
  • Business Ethics

ELEVATE SMETA Expertise

  • We conduct approximately 18,000 social and environmental audits per year in over 100 countries.
  • ELEVATE has been awarded the Sedex Responsible Business award – the only audit firm to receive the honor, and the only company to have received the award twice.
  • ELEVATE has been a member of the Sedex Associate Auditor Group for more than twelve years.
  • Our Performance Benchmark Report – benchmarking factory performance against peers and country data powered by ELEVATE EiQ analytics.
  • ELEVATE experts support the SMETA Corrective Action Plan Report (CARP) process.
  • ELEVATE conducts follow-up verification audits via desktop and on-site.
  • Auditors are local, bilingual and have a clear understanding of region-specific trends and challenges.
  • APSCA certification is a minimum requirement at ELEVATE – we go above and beyond. Our ELEVATE Assessment Manual, our focus on transparency and additional ELEVATE Academy training make ELEVATE auditors the most trusted in the profession.

Why you can expect more from ELEVATE.

An audit/verification report from ELEVATE means something. Our brand represents a choice for quality and integrity.

Over the last 15 years, ELEVATE has emerged as the most trusted service provider in responsible sourcing, ethical business and sustainability solutions. ELEVATE is the only independent sustainability and supply chain services provider with global reach, and are engaged at all levels of the value chain. This includes assessment and Corrective Action Plan (CAP) management, engagement with managers and workers in factories, world-class eLearning and training, and consultancy at the corporate level to assess risk, support improvement and drive impact.

ELEVATE’s online EiQ ecosystem is a comprehensive suite of supply chain analytics designed to engage brands, suppliers, factories and workers to achieve business driven sustainability.

EiQ supply chain analytics enables audit data to unlock corrective measures that provide a lasting business impact. This includes:

  • Identifying supply chain and business risks.
  • Tracking site performance.
  • Benchmarking audit results of your business or supply chain.

EiQ Supplier Solutions makes it easy for factories, farms, vendors and suppliers to manage social and environmental compliance and improve operational performance.

Partner with ELEVATE to reinforce your standing in ethical compliance.


ELEVATE is approved to work with brands, retailers, suppliers and factories to conduct assessments and audits representing a range of industry initiatives. Select a scheme for more information