Assessment

EICC assessment tools help members meet our standards and drive continuous improvement.

Assessment

To hold members accountable to EICC standards and membership requirements, the EICC provides assessment tools to members to help them measure and better understand how they are meeting EICC standards and membership requirements, and what gaps remain. Where assessment tools show that standards are not being met, the EICC also provides tools for members to remedy gaps and put in place appropriate systems to prevent reoccurrences in the future.

For a complete listing of membership requirements, please view this page.

Self-Assessment

A requirement of EICC membership is the completion of an annual self-assessment. The self-assessment is designed to help members identify their greatest social, environmental and ethical risks in their supply chains so they can take action to remedy existing Code of Conduct violations, and put in place systems to prevent violations from occurring in the future. The self-assessment is primarily a tool for members own due diligence by providing a mechanism to assess their own risk management systems and identify gaps. As members’ supply chains change (for example, suppliers change or materials used by suppliers change), members’ risks will subsequently change and require a re-assessment of risks to workers’ rights and the environmental health of surrounding communities. 

EICC members are required to complete self-assessments at the corporate level and at the facility level at their own manufacturing facilities. Members are also strongly encouraged to use the self-assessment as a key part of their risk assessment of suppliers' facilities in their supply chain. The self-assessment checks for a range of supply chain risks that could constitute violations of the EICC Code of Conduct. 

The EICC provides its members with a risk assessment template that they may use called the Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ), as well as a high-level risk assessment tool. Members must use the SAQ on their own facilities and at the corporate level, and for supplier facilities they have the option of using the SAQ or a risk assessment tool.

In the EICC’s continuing efforts to provide its members with best-in-class risk assessment tools, we have partnered with Verisk Maplecroft to offer an advanced risk assessment tool, with global risk indicies aligned with EICC’s Code of Conduct. EICC members are encouraged to use this as their high-level risk assessment tool. Members can access the tool via EICC-ON. For more information on the tool, please click here.

EICC recommends that members take advantage of both the Verisk Maplecroft tool and the SAQ to evaluate risk in their global supply chain, as they provide complementary information on suppliers’ inherent risk on CSR issues, and the controls and management systems these suppliers are using to mitigate their social and environmental risks.

View a sample SAQ: Corporate | Facility

Please note these are samples only and companies are strongly encouraged to complete the SAQ online through EICC-ON.

Auditing

Auditing is a widely-used tool by EICC members to assess compliance with the EICC Code of Conduct, and by extension, check facilities to ensure they uphold workers’ rights, protect the environment and conduct operations to the highest ethical standards. The EICC offers its own audit program, the Validated Audit Process (VAP), which is the EICC's standard for effective, shareable audits. Member companies may also perform their own audits outside of the VAP system, but to meet their member requirements they must use third-party audit firms approved by the VAP Audit Program Manager and execute the VAP protocol in its entirety.

Where audits uncover non-compliances to the VAP audit protocol, members are required to devise and implement corrective action plans (CAPs) and undertake a closure audit following the CAP implementation to ensure the CAP remedied the non-compliance(s).

EICC Validated Audit Process

One of the most fundamental programs the EICC provides to its members is the Validated Audit Process (VAP). Established in 2009, in 2014 the VAP program will complete its 1,000th audit, finalize its fifth audit protocol, and release its first comprehensive audit findings report. As the program has grown it has become more complex, with hundreds of auditors from nine firms executing the protocol in more than 20 countries. The current EICC VAP, version 4.0, is in effect until March 31, 2015. An updated, 5.0, version was ratified in 2014 and goes into effect on April 1, 2015.

Audits carried out on EICC member facilities and their suppliers' facilities are completed by independent, third-party auditors specially trained in social and environmental auditing and the VAP audit protocol. The EICC offers trainings for auditors and corporate audit program managers in VAP audits. The trainings are run by internationally-recognized, non-profit supply chain sustainability group Verité at multi-day, in-person trainings that take place several times per year. Please see the EICC events calendar for a complete listing of these trainings.

For additional information about the VAP, including preparatory documents for auditees, please see our VAP page. 

A typical VAP audit at a single manufacturing facility may last 2-5 days and includes a thorough document review, interviews with management and employees and a visual site survey. Auditors are specially trained to spot hard-to-find audit protocol violations like instances of forced labor, and are specialists in understanding contexts where some violations are more common, such as excessive working hours in areas with high migrant worker populations.

VAP auditors’ reports must be submitted to the EICC Audit Program Manager for review and quality control. The EICC Audit Program Manager comes from leading social responsibility consulting firm Sumerra. Sumerra does not conduct their own audits but manages the VAP audit process, including overseeing quality control of VAP audit reports. 

Where VAP audits uncover non-compliances to the audit protocol, those findings are rated by severity as “minor,” “major” or “priority.” All three categories of findings have specified periods of time during which the facility in question must remedy the findings and implement systems to prevent reoccurrences. Remedy and prevention plans are part of corrective action plans (CAPs) as referenced above.

A key initial impetus for the founding of the EICC, and one of its continued benefits to its members today, is the practice of sharing audits. Many EICC members share common suppliers, and those suppliers also share common suppliers. Whenever a single EICC member audits its own or a supplier’s facility, the member can share the audit findings with other customers of that facility that are also EICC members. Sharing audits saved EICC members and their suppliers over $2 million in 2013, which not only creates business efficiency but also ensures that cost is less of a barrier for companies seeking to ensure that their and their suppliers’ facilities are living up to the EICC Code of Conduct and protecting workers and their communities.

Alternatives to the Validated Audit Process

At this time, EICC members may choose whether or not to use the Validated Audit Process for their supply chain sustainability audits (although they must use the EICC VAP audit protocol for their audits). Members that choose not to use the VAP can complete approved customer-managed audits (CMAs) or auditee-managed audits (AMAs) as long as they use an approved third party VAP audit firm, have their auditors approved by the EICC Audit Program Manager, and execute the EICC VAP protocol in its entirety.

For more about how members fulfill their membership requirements in regards to auditing, please visit the EICC membership page.