What is a Responsible Business Alliance – VAP audit?

The Validated Assessment Program (VAP) was created by the Responsible Business Alliance and is a leading standard for onsite social compliance verifications and shareable audits. A VAP audit provides a unique combination of depth and quality assurance in an independent, sharable qualified third-party end-to-end audit service focused on improving business practices.

ELEVATE is approved by the RBA to conduct audits utilizing the VAP protocols: Validated Assessment Program (VAP), customer-managed audits (CMAs) and auditee-managed audits (AMAs). RBA audits performed by ELEVATE are accepted by RBA members and can be shared via the RBA-ON system.

The Validated Audit Protocol (VAP) Methodology

The Validated Audit Program protocol is based on the RBA Code of Conduct, a set of social, environmental and ethical industry standards. The standards set out in the Code of Conduct reference international norms and standards including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ILO International Labor Standards, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, ISO and SA standards, and many more. While the Code of Conduct originated with the electronics industry in mind, it is applicable to and used by many industries beyond electronics.

A typical VAP onsite audit at a single manufacturing facility may last 2-5 days and includes a thorough document review, interviews with management and employees and a visual site survey.

ELEVATE executes RBA audits according to the 6.1.0 VAP operations manual (effective Jan 1, 2020). RBA Validated Assessment Process Criteria includes:

  • RBA Code of Conduct
  • Local requirements
  • Labor
  • Health and safety
  • Environment
  • Ethics
  • Management systems for labor, health & safety, environment and ethics

CMA and AMAs:

Members that choose not to use the Validated Audit Program can complete approved Customer-Managed Audits (CMAs) or Auditee-Managed Audits (AMAs). ELEVATE is an approved third-party firm for these audits. We have approved auditors by the RBA Audit Program Manager. CMAs and AMAs are executed to the RBA VAP protocol in its entirety. If an RBA member prefers to choose ELEVATE as its VAP audit firm, the member can request a CMA or AMA audit with ELEVATE.

In countries at high-risk of having forced labor conditions in supply chains, ELEVATE can execute the Supplemental Validated Audit Process (SVAP) for Forced Labor. The SVAP for Forced labor is an audit program based exclusively on identifying the risk of forced labor at an employment site (factory or labor provider).

ELEVATE RBA Expertise

  • We conduct approximately 18,000 social and environmental audits per year in over 100 countries.
  • ELEVATE auditors are RBA approved.
  • ELEVATE experts support the Corrective Action Plan Report (CAP) process.
  • ELEVATE conducts Validated Closure Audits.
  • RBA eLearning Academy is powered by ELEVATE.
  • Our Performance Benchmark Report – benchmarking factory performance against peers and country data powered by ELEVATE EiQ analytics.
  • 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.
  • We were the co-Winner with RBA at the Sedex Awards 2017 for the Most Innovative New Programme – EICC Workplace of Choice.
  • We are subject matter experts in risks specific to migrant workers, including ethical recruitment and work with companies to create on-the-ground change; we are the program implementor to the Responsible Labor Initiative’s Responsible Workplace Program, Malaysia and consultant to the Responsible Recruitment Program.
  • ELEVATE built and manages the worker grievance mechanism in Malaysia, Suara Kami, designed to protect the human rights of vulnerable workers.
  • ELEVATE led the IDH Electronics Industry Worker-Management Dialogue Program in China for 50 factories that reached over 200,000 workers.

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