Import from China

Ethical Audits: Why Do You Need One?

ethical audits

You care about your brand name, character, and reputation. You need to protect these parts of your business.

In business, you have to make sure you know who you’re working with. Any violation against Chinese working and operating regulations can result in defective products or unknown illegal action that will reflect negatively on your business. Though different from financial or operational audits, we understand how vital this inspection is for your business.

Conducting Ethical Audits

As a principle in business, all businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights.

Businesses conduct these audits to compare employee behavior with the written policies and procedures of worker behavior. A company should have both the written working conditions and the actual working conditions to be the same.

The next step is to review the specific written regulations that describe ethical working conditions for a company. The detailed descriptions about what ethical practices look like are the key to understanding if violations or abnormalities occur in the workplace.

Ethical Auditing Practices

There are efficient ways to proceed with audits that can help them run more smoothly.

These audits involve employee and manager interviews or even observations during regular working hours. These processes might slow down operations, so they are sometimes done alongside financial and operational audits.

The key to an effective, ethical audit is to have and understand the regulations that a company has to follow.

The team’s primary function in conducting the audit is to compare the guidelines with the behaviors and look for other communication or training issues.

Businesses are responsible for responding to violations of disciplinary or ethical violations consistently. Actions must be in complete accord with the code of conduct for companies. If the auditing team finds any of these violations, they provide the necessary feedback about how practices have to change, so they follow the guidelines.

The changes might influence training or differences in workplace procedures to benefit the organization and protect the workers.

Understanding Auditing Limits

Any audit is a snapshot in time of how a company works.

After the ethical audit, changes to policies might occur, or the audit might somehow influence the changes. The auditing team may even indicate an issue that requires more auditing.

Audits are most effective when they can thoroughly check the day to day work of a business. Ethical audits can become just a list of boxes to check rather than a helpful report that could help the company run better.

We understand that policies and procedures change over time, and we want to help you feel comfortable with our methods for conducting these audits on the suppliers you’re working with.

An ethical audit like this focuses on ensuring worker safety and checking on the working environment. We make sure that supplier companies understand and follow the proper practices that are considered ethical.

For ethical audits, you need a team that understands companies’ proper regulations in the country of operation. You want a team who will find out if there are violations in the ethical guidelines and who will work with the company to fix any of their issues.

Protecting Your Brand

Conducting ethical audits is one way for you to protect your brand.

Working with a company overseas presents unique opportunities, but it also comes with its challenges. There could be language barriers, time delays, or issues with the product.

By hiring the right company to inspect your supplier’s ethical practices, you protect yourself, your business, your employees, and your customers. You will also make sure that your product is up to standard and free of defects. Ethical audits are necessary, and one way you can quality control your product.

JONBLE Audits for International Standards

At JONBLE, we can help you by inspecting your supplier here in China and Asia.

We understand that each business is different and that each audit must be unique to the company to be effective. We’re here to service the kind of audit you want for your specific product and supplier.

We conduct a variety of audits that help you feel secure in your choice of supplier. These include audits based on international regulations for Asia.

SA800 Audit

One example of an audit we conduct is the SA8000, where we examine supplier working conditions.

This audit focuses on nine aspects of checking supplier operations:

  1. Workplace discrimination
  2. Health and safety standards
  3. Freedom of association and safety standards
  4. Forced Labor
  5. Disciplinary practices
  6. Child labor
  7. Working hours
  8. Management system
  9. Remuneration

The standards for the SA8000 Audit come from the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labor Organization. This particular audit ensures that the supplier company complies with all local legal principles and international human rights standards.

In this inspection, the auditor conducts employee and managerial interviews with the supplier company. They inspect the health and safety of the environment.

There is a point system for each of the listed aspects of the supplier. The points make it clear for you to understand the performance of the supplier. SA8000 provides a straightforward report to help you get the information you need about your supplier.


This is the SEDEX Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) or the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange’s factory audit standard.

This audit focuses on a few significant aspects:

  1. Management System
  2. Environment
  3. Universal rights listed in the United Nations Guiding Principles
  4. Entitlement to work
  5. Subcontracting and homeworking
  6. Health and Safety standards
  7. Labor standards

Comparatively, the SMETA audit is more detailed than the SA8000 audit. There are two frameworks the organizations SEDEX uses to conduct these audits. There is a 2-pillar audit and a 4-pillar audit. Where the 4-pillar audit includes all of the listed aspects but also includes business ethics and environmental practices.

The Right Ethical Audit For You

The SMETA audit is more challenging for importers who are inexperienced with social compliance. The reports for the SMETA can be more difficult to understand as they factor in factors like worker wages compared to worker responsibilities.

If you’re new to Social Compliance, we recommend you use the simpler SA8000 to begin with. After your business gains more experience working with the supplier in Asia, you can progress to the SMETA audit.

Each business, product, and supplier is different, and we want to provide you with the service that will help you protect your business and your product. The right ethical audit is the one that will help your business to effectively inspect the working conditions of your overseas supplier in a way that you can understand.

Final Thoughts

Ethical audits are necessary and are a responsible way to do business. Conducting one protects the name of your business and secures your business practices.

At JONBLE, we understand how vital this inspection is. We’re committed to providing a thorough examination of your supplier. We help you understand the regulations and working conditions overseas. Secure an ethical audit for your supplier today by contacting us through our website. We’re committed to helping you create a strong relationship with you and your supplier.