SGS Helps Businesses Understand the Promotion of Gender Equality Via Social Audits

Top Quote A report by BSR has identified the importance of social audits in promoting gender equality in global supply chains. SGS helps businesses understand the problems and viable solutions. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) January 23, 2019 - In September 2018, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) published “Gender Equality in Social Auditing Guidance”. It identified the process of auditing as a primary conduit for promoting gender equality in the workplace.

    Roughly 105,000 audits are conducted every day. Each is an opportunity to promote gender equality in the workplaces of global supply chains. With this in mind, BSR states that each of the roughly 2,500 auditors around the world can be an effective advocate for gender equality.

    The stakes are high. It is thought 60-90% of labor-intensive jobs are performed by women but, globally, the United Nations Development Program has found women only earn 77 cents for a job that would earn a man one dollar. At the same time, western consumers are increasingly looking for confirmation that their products are sustainably sourced. Companies are therefore increasingly demanding their suppliers undertake social audits. The confluence of a need for gender equality and recognizable verification acknowledging sustainability, makes the auditing process an ideal mechanism for pushing equality.

    The benefits of promoting empowerment of women can be striking. BSR and the ISEAL Alliance have produced clear evidence that businesses benefit from better motivation and improved productivity. With over 190 million women estimated to be working in our supply chains, this is hardly surprising – the wellbeing of our supply chains is inextricably linked to the wellbeing of women.

    Traditionally, however, social audits have not focused on gender elements. Instead, they tend to look at issues that impact the entire workforce because they are either:
    • Compliance-based – to drive economic, social and environmental improvements
    • Business-to-business assurance systems to assess compliance to a broad range of Code of Conduct requirements

    Partly this is a reflection of the time in which most social audits were developed. To reflect the current demands of consumers, they need to change. Some audit schemes are already reviewing their codes to include a gender perspective. At the simplest level, the audit can be used to verify:
    • Existence of policies promoting gender equality
    • Training and awareness of key requirements
    • Implementation of correct policies and procedures
    • Outcomes and impacts in changing gender norms

    These changes come at the same time as the United Nations has been looking specifically at gender equality and the empowerment of women. It is expected that the Human Rights Council will soon receive recommendations from the United Nations Guiding Principles working group on ways to create better integration and greater prominence for gender issues in the corporate due diligence process.

    All these factors – pressure from governments and authorities, the economic realities of supply chains populated by women being paid less than men and treated as inferior, and the demands of consumers – all mean businesses will be compelled to address issues surrounding female human rights. Effective and forward-thinking social audits can be the mechanism that allows brands to promote gender equality in their supply chains.

    SGS Audit Services
    SGS constantly evolves its audit methodologies and protocols to incorporate the latest changes required by schemes and clients. They understand the importance of creating the correct balance of gender and skillsets in their teams to provide organizations with accurate and efficient auditing services.

    For more information, please contact:

    Effie Marinos
    Global Technical Governance Manager, Responsible Business Services
    Tel: +44 (0) 203 008 7860
    Email: ( @ ) sgs dot com

    About SGS
    SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 95,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,400 offices and laboratories around the world.

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