Six reasons to choose this product

1. Better trained auditors
2. Comprehensive global compliance ensures audit consistency
3. ETRS will be benchmarked to SSCI
4. Accredited to 17021
5. Identified non-conformities corrected
6. Manufacturers graded for continual improvement

Ethical Trade and Responsible Sourcing Risk Assessment module

The aim of the risk assessment module is to provide a framework that assists sites to measure their performance against the five vital signs of ethical trade and responsible sourcing (ETRS). Although the risk assessment draws the Vitals from the Global Standard for Ethical Trade and Responsible Sourcing, the two products are distinctly separate and there is no further link between them.

The Risk Assessment evaluates 'Vital Sign' indicators based on senior management commitment, labour standards, health and safety, corporate governance and respecting human rights. The process is efficient because auditors are not required to evaluate evidence but simply identify it. It provides an independent review of a site's performance against the critical elements of ETRS they can share with their customers via the BRCGS Directory.

This means the risk assessment can be done at the same time as a technical audit against another Standard and by the same auditor. Each auditor will have received training on the risk assessment and the usual BRCGS procedures that underpin the governance and compliance management of all Global Standards and associated modules.

Benefits to sites

  • The risk assessment can be delivered at the same time as another audit, and by the same auditor, which helps to reduce both the site's audit burden and its costs.
  • It provides a way for sites to demonstrate to their customers and other stakeholders that they are committed to upholding the principles of ETRS.
  • Where relevant, the risk assessment can provide a site with an 'early warning system' of potential risks to their business and trigger preventive corrective actions.


Benefits to buyers, brands and specifiers

The risk assessment provides an effective tool to support the responsible sourcing functions of buyers, brands and specifiers. Instead of insisting that all suppliers undergo a full ethical trade or social compliance audit, the risk assessment provides a snapshot of the 'health' of a supplier base.

Buyers, brands and specifiers can use the results from the risk assessment of their suppliers to support the need for further investigation.

This risk-based approach is a robust and effective way of avoiding a costly programme of full audits while still providing oversight of the supplier base.

The risk assessment can be delivered either as a stand-alone exercise or as a bolt-on to another audit, such as a part of a site's annual food safety certification programme.

The risk assessment is completed by a qualified and independent third party that has been trained and approved by BRCGS and its compliance management team, adding to its credibility and rigour as a tool that is fit to support a specifier's due diligence programme.

Ethical Trade and Responsible Sourcing Standard

The Standard has been developed to specify the ethical trade and responsible sourcing criteria required to be in place on a site to fulfil their legal and moral obligations towards their workers. The format and content of the Standard is designed to allow an assessment of a company's premises, operational systems and procedures by a competent third party – the certification body – against the requirements of the Standard, and in accordance with global best practice for social/ethical audits. It also enables suppliers to demonstrate the goods and/or services they sell are produced ethically and that raw materials are sourced responsibly.

The Standard has been developed for application at sites where manufacturing and secondary processing/packing takes place. It is also applicable to the provision of services associated with audited sites; for example, the provision of labour.

The Standard is intended to assist sites and their customers to comply with legislative requirements for ethical trade and responsible sourcing. Although adherence to local laws is a critical component of compliance and due diligence, there may be instances where the requirements of the Standard differ from those of local laws. In these instances, preference will always be given to the requirement which affords the workers the greatest protection.

The certification and grading process

The Standard is a process and a management system certification scheme. In this scheme, upon completion of a satisfactory audit, an auditor can award a site either a certificate with a grade A (subject to the satisfactory outcome of a second surveillance audit) or a non-certificated grade of B–D. The auditor is employed by an independent third party (the certification body) which, in turn, would have been assessed and judged as competent by the BRCGS Compliance team.

For a site to receive a valid certificate or grade on completion of a satisfactory audit, it must select a BRCGS-approved certification body. BRCGS lays down detailed requirements a certification body must satisfy to gain approval, and operates a comprehensive compliance program to ensure that high standards are maintained.

Guidance and training

BRCGS produces a range of guidance documents, training courses and a self-assessment tool designed to assist sites with the application of the Standard and an understanding of core skills such as internal audit and root cause analysis.

Highly-trained auditors worldwide

Audits are carried out by a global network of trained, experienced certification bodies, and their performance is managed by BRCGS, unlike other schemes. We set exceptionally high standards when it comes to the competence, qualifications and experience of our auditors.

This is the first scheme to implement auditor category exams. The audit standards and certification process is stringently maintained and consistent worldwide.

Support when you need it

Dedicated support is available from the BRCGS Technical and Commercial teams. Contact Us.

Tell BRCGS allows sites to feedback auditor comments. Tell BRCGS is an established and transparent system that ensures any concerns you may have are investigated thoroughly and are vigorously followed up.

Certification and/or grading against Issue 1 commenced from 1 August 2019.