Companies that are breaking barriers are moving beyond sustainability to social and environmental innovation and often when you think you are at the end of strategic planning; you are at the beginning of something else. SIZA has developed an audit oversight programme which assures buyers that we are here to manage risks on your behalf in the South African supply chain.
Trying to navigate through hundreds of audit reports, supplier data, and performance indicators can be daunting. Sorting and managing the risks of a supply chain is a mammoth task and therefore it is helpful to remember that the primary objective of the SIZA audit oversight process is to ensure that the risks are managed successfully and thoroughly. This effectively protects you as the buyer, the supplier, and the industry at large. As the world becomes more engaged and the supply chain more complicated, it is not enough to just have a singular supplier monitoring tool any longer. As a buying market, the trust should also lie with the scheme/standard that is measuring, reporting, and monitoring their supply chain and effectively managing the audit oversight process, which will lower the risks on your behalf.
SIZA strives to ensure continuous improvement among agri-businesses, allowing for economic growth, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship throughout the supply chain. This goal is achieved by ensuring reliability, ethicality, and consistency amongst the SIZA approved third-party audit firms. This continued drive is to ensure credible data is produced to global buyers and stakeholders, to provide confirmation that requirements are being met, and to showcase compliance on various levels within the supply chain. It is important to SIZA that this drive toward continuous improvement is maintained not only among audit firms, but also with suppliers, allowing for a calibrated approach and methodology that benefits both the audit requester, auditor, and buyer.
How do we ensure competency to manage risk among the 6 audit firms recognised by SIZA?
This rigorous process is maintained by SIZA through the SIZA Audit Process and Methodology (APM) policy which clearly identifies the audit approach, process, and the methodology to which each audit firm, auditor, and auditee must adhere to. This process ensures:
- Continuous Improvement
As part of the programme’s dedication to ensuring market assurance in the audit outcome, the SIZA audit process is rigorously monitored and evaluated to achieve its goals. SIZA has various measures and monitoring activities in place to ensure audit firms and auditors maintain recognition and meet the requirements as set out in the SIZA Audit Process and Methodology policy. These monitoring activities include:
- Competency monitoring and recognition of audit firms and auditors. The SIZA programme assures buyers that all audit firms and auditors meet internationally required standards and competency specifications.
- Overall online monitoring and evaluation of audit firms and auditors to allow for adequate reporting on quality, timelines, and requirements. Furthermore, SIZA regularly engages with advisory groups to guide and assist in the implementation of audit challenges to allow global buyers to gain access to reliable and high-quality audit results.
- Annual auditor training for prospective SIZA Social (Ethical) and/or Environmental auditors as well as training for existing auditors and reviewers will be offered and conducted by SIZA. This training will ensure that all auditors achieve the desired pass mark, along with the annual completion of the qualifying criteria. The audit practice will remain robust to ensure markets receive a real evaluation of their supply chain.
- Quality review of audit reports to assist audit firms in internally addressing the correct issues with their auditors. Reports will be reviewed for compliance with the SIZA Social (Ethical) and Environmental APM, due diligence in assessing the SIZA Social (Ethical) and Environmental Standard, as well as general report writing (spelling and grammar) and overall quality of reports.
- Well-established complaints and dispute processes exist to mitigate and maintain consistency and calibration of all auditors and audit firms. These processes will allow for anonymous review and opinions from the SIZA Audit Expert Group on the particulars of a finding. This process ensures calibrated efforts and interpretations amongst audit firms and auditors to provide reliability and constancy in audit findings to markets.
- Audit feedback forms from auditees on the audit experience allows SIZA to better understand how the supplier experienced the overall auditing process and to identity any possible gaps in the process. The aim is to improve SIZA processes and to ensure that audits are effective and that the results prove valuable to buyers.
How does SIZA manage risk in the supply chain?
- Annual monitoring of practices and compliance through the review of online Self-Assessment Questionnaires (SAQs).
- Third-party audits conducted by globally recognised and competent audit firms.
- Maintaining an active drive to get suppliers to implement corrective actions. The SIZA office actively chases suppliers to submit and complete the necessary improvements to complete the audit in full and drives continuance improvement in the process.
- Between audit monitoring on a sample size of audits with two- and three-year audit validity periods to verify whether practices remain in place.
- Capacity building by providing focused training to all suppliers on a variety of aspects including legislative requirements.
- By knowing our suppliers and engaging with them throughout the process.
Consistency, credibility and allowing brands to source from a sustainable value chain
- SIZA allows for a stable and credible process to ensure buyers can have confidence and trust in the programme and the audit results. Buyers will effectively have transparency and full engagement on these monitoring and evaluation practices throughout the audit process.
- As the audit results are being monitored and reviewed, the buyer can utilise the reliable results in their own internal processes. The audit process is also built in such a way to only allow for a full audit completion after the correction of all non-compliances. Only once the third-party auditor has reviewed and approved all the corrective actions, will the supplier receive an Audit Completion Letter, indicative of true improvement following the audit.
- As SIZA continuously adapts and strengthens the monitoring practices and oversight methodology, buyers can rest assured in the consistent drive for improvement and trustworthy outcomes and results.
- By supplying a world-class platform, MySIZA, which gives excellent data on improvement processes.
These key monitoring activities that form part of the SIZA audit oversight methodology strive to do much more than mere identification and reporting of practices. These monitoring activities allow for due diligence, growth, and improvement amongst SIZA recognised audit firms, auditors, and the auditees, while allowing for an active drive amongst suppliers to improve on practices. The SIZA programme does not solely focus on meeting minimum requirements, but also on driving a sensible and realistic performance approach that allows businesses to improve and develop beyond minimum requirements. As the SIZA audit oversight processes and procedures allow for a thorough evaluation of performance and the drive for continuous improvement and risk management, there is no doubt that markets can rest assured that their South African agri-supply chain is effectively measured and looked after.