To hold members accountable to RBA standards and membership requirements, the RBA provides assessment tools to members to help them measure and better understand how they are meeting RBA standards and membership requirements, and what gaps remain. Where assessment tools show that standards are not being met, the RBA 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.
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), their risks will subsequently change and require a re-assessment of risks to workers’ rights and the environmental health of surrounding communities.
Most RBA members, based on their membership category, 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 RBA Code of Conduct.
The RBA 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. The SAQ is available in RBA-Online, in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Spanish. SAQs are valid for 12 months.
In the RBA’s continuing efforts to provide its members with best-in-class risk assessment tools, we also offer an advanced risk assessment tool, with global risk indicies aligned with RBA’s Code of Conduct. RBA members are encouraged to use this as their high-level risk assessment tool. Members can access the tool via RBA-Online.
The RBA recommends that members take advantage of both the high-level risk assessment tool and the SAQ to evaluate risks in their global supply chains, 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.
Please note these are samples only and companies are strongly encouraged to complete the SAQ online through RBA-Online. For more information on how to complete an SAQ in RBA-Online, please view the SAQ FAQs.
RBA Validated Assessment Program
For information about the VAP, including preparatory documents, please see our VAP page.
Alternatives to the Validated Assessment Program
RBA members may choose not to use the Validated Assessment Program for their supply chain sustainability audits (although they must use the RBA VAP 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 audit firm, have their auditors approved by the RBA Assessment Program Manager, and execute the RBA VAP protocol in its entirety.
The RBA has also added a modular approach to assessing a facility, to provide users with flexibility, efficiency, and cost-savings when more comprehensive assessments are unnecessary. The service is called a Customized Assessment and is completely in the control of the requestor.
The Customized Assessment allows the user to select elements of the RBA Code of Conduct based on their specific needs. Questions in the Customized Assessment can include any or all from the Labor, Health and Safety, Environment, Ethics, and Management Systems elements of the VAP protocol that supports the RBA Code of Conduct. The requestor can customize the question set, the scope, and the on-site person days. Learn more about the Customized Assessment here in this overview and contact the VAP team for additional details.
For more about how members fulfill their membership requirements in regards to auditing, please visit the RBA membership page.
While auditing is a common tool used for corporate supply chain sustainability programs, it should be considered as just one “tool in the toolbox.” Audits can establish a baseline and provide an important monitoring and evaluation check, but an audit’s mere completion is not a direct signifier of top performance in supply chain sustainability.
Key to supply chain sustainability are strong management systems and institutional structures and practices that facilitate productive and sustainable manufacturing operations. These systems and structures are vital to prevent accidents and abuses that damage both businesses and communities.
The RBA offers a range of educational tools to support members to make best use of these systems and structures that solve problems before they arise and reduce the need for costly auditing. More information about our training resources are available here.
Are you an RBA member that is an RBA-Online user and need help? Contact us: Support for RBA members
Support for non-RBA members that are registered users of RBA-Online can be found here: Email support