SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL
AUDITS AND ASSESSMENTS


SERVICE OVERVIEW


We are a leading social and environmental audit and assessment provider, trusted by global brands, ethical trading bodies and industry associations.


Partner Africa is a member of the Association for Professional Social Compliance Auditors (APSCA) and has expertise in a range of standards and certifications. We audit against leading industry standards, such as the SMETA 2 and 4 Pillar, the IFC Performance Standards and the Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trade Association (WIETA) code, and global brand standards, including the Coca-Cola Supplier Guiding Principles and the Unilever Responsible Sourcing Audit. We also have the flexibility to audit against individual supplier codes of conduct and undertake smallholder assessments. We use a combination of participatory methodologies, which enable workers to take a more active role in the audit process. Workers can freely explain the true nature of their working conditions, without the need for high levels of literacy, or from fear of reprisals from management.


Our participatory approach also enables auditors to understand the root causes of specific and often more sensitive issues, such as examining sexual harassment or discrimination. Our expert team of local auditors means that we are equipped with the necessary linguistic and cultural knowledge to accurately identify and rank non-compliance findings.

We develop innovative and client-specific technological solutions to data gathering, including integrating direct worker reporting technology and desktop-based documentation and questionnaire reviews. Our proprietary data allows us to map audit trends and provide clients with dashboards for supply chain non-compliance monitoring purposes. We offer various advisory services to follow on from audits, working with non-compliance data to develop proactive risk management, training and ethical reporting solutions that go beyond compliance. Learn more about our consultancy services.


Download Audit overview (PDF)

AUDIT PROCESS


An eight step approach:


 
  • Opening meeting with worker and management representatives to review the audit process and the daily activities that will take place.

  • Transect walk of the facility and health and safety inspection.

  • Group and individual worker interviews using participatory techniques such as Problem Ranking to understand issues faced by workers and the severity of these in the work place.

  • Documentation review.

  • Verification of information through Triangulation of Data, where any issues arising from interviews are investigated through official documentation and discussed with management before compliance decisions can be made.

  • Closing meeting with management, where we provide feedback to the client, highlighting the positive action noted and identifying best practices, and review areas for improvement. We draw up a corrective action plan to close out any non-compliances found.

  • Report writing, including quality review, calibration and submission to the client within the agreed timeframe.

  • Report upload onto Sedex or another platform, as requested.

PRINCIPLES



 

Transparency


All parties involved are informed of the purpose, scope and limitations of the audit.


Participation


Workers and management are encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions through a variety of participatory activities throughout the audit.


Confidentiality


Partner Africa audit staff ensure confidentiality to protect both the organisations and individuals involved in the audit process.

Inclusion


At the pre-briefing and closing feedback meetings, worker and management representatives are encouraged to be present and contribute to the meetings.


Qualitative Information


Audits use narrative appraisal techniques, which avoid tick-boxes or leading questions.


Verification


Any issues highlighted to auditors go through our process of triangulation of data before they are escalated to management in the closing meeting.



“Partner Africa conduct all the audits for Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa and for our African Countries in the International Division. I value the working relationship that we have and the honesty and integrity with which the team tackle their work. They are true professionals. They have assisted greatly in terms of training our teams and inducting them prior to the audits. Post the audits, they assist us to actively seek solutions to our challenges. I look forward to an ongoing partnership in the years to come. “

MEGAN VAN ZYL, REWARDS AND SERVICES MANAGER, COCA-COLA BEVERAGES AFRICA

SMALL PRODUCER ASSESSMENTS



In many African countries small-scale producers and informal sector workers feed into export supply chains. Applying codes of conduct to these small, family-run businesses is a complex process.

Partner Africa assesses the ethical standards of small-scale producers and informal workers to minimise the risk to a brand. A small producer assessment seeks to establish the characteristics, needs and priorities of small producers and their workers, and outline recommendations to improve on the standards required as well as to help improve their livelihoods.

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Partner Africa frequently works with small-scale producers and the informal sector across Africa. We were a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) working group, which developed the ETI smallholders guidelines, used to assist in extending ethical sourcing to smallholder farmers. We have adopted this approach to assess a number of smallholder farmers and other informal producers.