Summary: The BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) is a certification system that helps companies ensure that their suppliers meet ethical and social standards in their workplaces. It aims to improve working conditions, reduce negative environmental impacts, and promote ethical business practices. This article provides a comprehensive guide to understanding BSCI verification, including its benefits, the audit process, and the criteria needed to obtain the certification.
What is BSCI Verification?
BSCI, initiated in March 2003, stands for Business Social Compliance Initiative. But why was BSCI founded? Foreign Trade Association, founded in 1977 to protect the rights of importing traders in foreign trade affairs, launched BSCI to keep a check on the proceedings of the global supply chain. Also, it was to refine the working conditions of the same.
Moreover, FTA is a well-structured organization. It comprises plenty of companies and associations from around ten European Union Nations. Furthermore, BSCI makes sure that no employees are being treated unfairly by the import companies. It inspects and assesses the condition of a workplace involved in the global supply chain, and it is called BSCI Audit.
Workings of BSCI Audit
BSCI Audit conducts per the rules and regulations in the BSCI Code of Conduct. Also, the BSCI Code of conduct was designed keeping several ILO (International Labour Organization) guidelines as reference.
The primary guideline of the BSCI Code of Conduct was to build a morally sane supply chain and to safeguard the employee’s rights.
BSCI’s Code of Conduct
If any company decides to implement a BSCI audit, in that case, they have to abide by the BSCI’s Code of Conduct which is as follows:
- There should be no room for discrimination.
- They shouldn’t be following the evil practice of child labor.
- Wages paid to the laborers should be decent.
- Working hours should be modest, and a fair number of holidays should be awarded.
- The company should ensure the safety of its labor.
- They shouldn’t have any laborers bonded by contracts.
- The company should make sure young employees are safe and sound.
- It must provide its workers with job security.
- Their activities should not harm the environment.
- They should conduct their business transactions ethically.
- It shouldn’t curb the freedom to organize associations.
Types of BSCI Membership
BSCI offers two types of membership: regular membership and associate membership.
Regular memberships are provided to companies that are key players in the supply chains and assist the manufacturers with the BSCI auditing and eligibility. The companies that can play a crucial role in foreign trade and have a chance to get regular memberships are,
- Manufacturing Brands
- Importing Companies
- Trading Companies
- Retailing Companies
Associate Memberships – Associate membership is a participation certificate to any organization, company, or federation supporting the measure taken and not imposing it.
How to Apply for a BSCI Audit?
To apply for BSCI Audit, the company should follow the following steps:
Step 1: Registering for Audit
It is essential to know that not all can apply for the BSCI Audit. The companies associated with the BSCI members and supplying them regularly can only use them for the Audit.
Step 2: Getting Ready for the Audit
In order to kickstart the Audit program, the company must sign the agreement, i.e., terms of Implementation. Also, the company should agree to get audited by the registered BSCI auditing agencies.
They allow them to interview employees privately, giving access to copies of the company’s documents, images of manufacturing units, and other paperwork asked for by BSCI Auditing.
Before getting audited, companies are asked to assist the auditing agencies by answering the questions asked for the smooth preparation of the Audit.
Step 3: On-site Audit
Once the pre-audit requirements are checked, the process moves to the next stage, i.e. on-site audit. It’s where the committee performs a thorough investigation of the company by visiting its production facilities.
The On-site audits are of three types.
- Scheduled Audit – In scheduled audits, companies are provided ample time to prepare themselves beforehand.
- Semi-scheduled Audit – Semi-scheduled audits are those where companies are notified a month before about the investigations to be done. A semi-scheduled audit is the most common audit.
- Unscheduled Audit – An unscheduled audit is where auditing companies will investigate the site as soon as possible. It can be within a day or two as well.
Step 4: Receiving the Audit Report
After all the steps have been covered, the Audit committee prepares a report. It is based on the data received from the company beforehand and after the on-site investigation. Also, the prepared report is then presented to the supplier, and once signed by the supplier, the audit report becomes official.
The Audit report is rated between A to E. A is the best score a company can get. Also, it is accredited as Outstanding, and E is the lowest score a company can get and should be alarmed of their conditions. E in the report says, “Unacceptable.” Grades A and B are valid for two whole years.
Paperwork required for BSCI Audit
If a company wishes to register for a BSCI Audit, then it should get ready with the following documents beforehand.
- Environment Certificate
- Social related certificates
- Health and Safety Papers
- Working Conditions Certificate under the factories act.
Benefits of having BSCI Audit
The BSCI system was enacted to safeguard workers’ rights in the global supply chain. So the benefits from the BSCI Audits are as follows:
- Increases the efficiency of the supply chain on the companies part
- It makes the relationship with the manufacturer better
- It ensures the employees work in a mentally healthy environment hence boosting productivity.
- This brings a lot of trust to the company’s name as end-users of their products start believing in them due to their upliftment of ethics.
BSCI Audit contributes to clearing confusion and upgrading the supply chain process. Also, it contributes to the upliftment of humanity. It makes the organizations look good and increases their revenues. Moreover, if you decide to get a BSCI Audit, do not wait for another second, as it will be worth it for your company.