Audit

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An audit is an inspection of a factory or farm which attempts to determine whether the working conditions, working hours, age of workers and other factors meet minimum standards. Audits are often ineffective due to long intervals between inspections and notice to the producer.[1] A garment factory in Pakistan burned only a few weeks after it was audited by Social Accountability International and granted SA8000 certification. In this instance, regardless of whatever other factors were considered, when fire did break out nearly all exits were locked and 300 people lost their lives.[2]
After the Ali Enterprises fire, some surviving workers said they had been warned of a visit by inspectors and coached to lie about their working conditions, under threat of dismissal.[2]

A successful audit, bottom line, is just a piece of paper, useful for public relations purposes in soothing consumers, but of no value whatever once a fire starts in an overcrowded building with no exits.[3]

A "check the box" audit that fails to actually gather and evaluate relevant data can result in fraudulent certification.[4]

Notes

  1. "Wal-Mart Nixed Paying Bangladesh Suppliers to Fight Fire" article by Renee Dudley & Arun Devnath, Bloomberg News Dec 5, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Inspectors Certified Pakistani Factory as Safe Before Disaster" article by Declan Walsh and Steven Greenhouse in The New York Times September 19, 2012
  3. "Certified Safe, a Factory in Karachi Still Quickly Burned" article by Declan Walsh and Steven Greenhouse in The New York Times December 7, 2012
  4. "Fast and Flawed Inspections of Factories Abroad" article by Stephanie Clifford and Steven Greenhouse in The New York Times September 1, 2013

External links and further reading