Key Differences Between SMETA and SA8000






Audit framework for ethical trade

Certification standard for labor and social responsibility

Developed by

Sedex (Sedex Global)

Social Accountability International (SAI)


Comprehensive ethical trade assessment

Labor and social responsibility standards


Various aspects including labor rights, health and safety, environmental practices, and business ethics

Labor-related issues such as child labor, forced labor, health and safety, freedom of association, and discrimination


Not a certification standard itself; provides an audit framework

A certification standard organizations can achieve


Conduct ethical audits of suppliers' practices

Certify organizations' commitment to socially responsible labor practices


Primarily used by companies to assess suppliers' ethical and responsible business practices, especially in supply chains

Applicable to organizations seeking certification for labor and social responsibility

Focus on Labor and Social Issues



Emphasis on Ethical Business Practices


Primarily focused on labor and social issues

Certification Process

Does not offer certification; assessment results are used for supplier evaluations

Organizations can achieve SA8000 certification through an audit process

Global Recognition

Recognized globally for ethical trade assessments

Globally recognized as a standard for labor and social responsibility

Legal Framework

Provides a framework for assessing ethical practices but not a legal standard

Incorporates legal requirements and international labor conventions

Benefits Of SMETA

Supply Chain Transparency: SMETA helps companies assess and improve the ethical and responsible practices of their suppliers, enhancing transparency in the supply chain.

Supplier Evaluation: It allows organizations to evaluate their suppliers' adherence to ethical and sustainability standards, ensuring compliance with their corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals.

Risk Mitigation: By identifying and addressing ethical and social risks in the supply chain, SMETA helps mitigate potential reputational and operational risks.

Benefits Of SA8000

Labor Rights Protection: SA8000 certification ensures organizations protect and promote labor rights, including fair wages, safe working conditions, and freedom of association.

Enhanced Workplace Conditions: It leads to improved workplace conditions, reducing the risk of workplace accidents and illnesses and creating a safer and healthier environment for employees.

Supply Chain Responsibility: Organizations that achieve SA8000 certification extend their commitment to socially responsible practices to their entire supply chain.

5 Steps to Acquire SMETA

  • 1Join Sedex

    Become a member of Sedex, the organization behind SMETA.
  • 2Select an Auditor

    Choose an approved auditor or audit firm experienced in SMETA.
  • 3Conduct On-Site Audit

    The auditor assesses your organization's ethical trade practices on-site.
  • 4Address Non-Conformities

    Take corrective actions to resolve any identified non-conformities.
  • 5Submit Audit Results

    Submit the final audit report to Sedex, enter data in the Sedex database, and share results with stakeholders as needed.

5 Steps to Acquire SA8000

  • 1Preparation and Commitment

    Prepare your organization for SA8000 compliance and secure commitment from top management.
  • 2Documentation and Training

    Develop policies, procedures, and training programs to align with SA8000 requirements.
  • 3Certification Audit

    Undergo a Stage 1 readiness assessment and a Stage 2 on-site audit by an accredited certification body.
  • 4Corrective Actions

    Address any audit findings and non-conformities identified during the certification audit.
  • 5Certification Award and Ongoing Compliance

    Receive SA8000 certification and maintain compliance through surveillance audits and continuous improvement efforts.
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SMETA Certification:

1What is the purpose of SMETA certification?
SMETA certification helps organizations assess and improve their ethical trade and social responsibility practices, especially in supply chains. It promotes transparency and responsible sourcing.
2Is SMETA certification mandatory?
SMETA certification itself is not mandatory, but many companies require their suppliers to undergo SMETA audits to ensure ethical and responsible business practices.
3How long does a SMETA audit typically take?
The duration of a SMETA audit varies depending on the size and complexity of the organization being audited. It can range from a few days to several weeks.
4What areas does a SMETA audit cover?
A SMETA audit typically covers various aspects, including labor rights, health and safety, environmental practices, business ethics, and more.
5Who can conduct a SMETA audit?
SMETA audits should be conducted by qualified and accredited auditors or audit firms approved by Sedex.

SA8000 Certification:

1What is the objective of SA8000 certification?
SA8000 certification aims to ensure that organizations adhere to socially responsible labor practices, including fair wages, safe working conditions, and respect for worker rights.
2Is SA8000 certification legally required?
SA8000 certification is not a legal requirement, but it helps organizations demonstrate compliance with labor standards and international labor conventions.
3How long does it take to achieve SA8000 certification?
The time required to achieve SA8000 certification depends on the organization's readiness and the complexity of its operations. It typically takes several months to over a year.
4Can small businesses obtain SA8000 certification?
SA8000 certification is applicable to organizations of all sizes, including small businesses. The certification process can be tailored to suit the organization's scale.
5 Is SA8000 certification recognized internationally?
Yes, SA8000 is recognized and respected internationally as a standard for socially responsible labor practices. It is often used as a benchmark for ethical labor compliance.
6 Do SA8000-certified organizations undergo regular audits?
Yes, SA8000-certified organizations are subject to regular surveillance audits by certification bodies to ensure ongoing compliance with the standard.

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