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The effects of commercial operations on society and the environment have come to light in the wake of recent international events. Customers, employees, investors, and members of civil society are among the stakeholders who are no longer satisfied with businesses just declaring their sustainability initiatives. Public interest is putting pressure on businesses to be more socially responsible by demanding accountability and transparency.
This is where social audits come in. A social audit is an essential tool that helps businesses measure and report on their social and environmental performance, providing a mechanism for stakeholders to assess a company’s ESG goals.
In this blog post, we will explore the power of social audits and how businesses can use them to improve transparency and accountability in their corporate social responsibility efforts.
What is a Social Audit?
A social audit is an assessment procedure that aids companies in gauging, documenting, and enhancing their social compliance performance. It is a tool that enables companies to evaluate how well they conform to social rules, spot operational flaws and gaps, set precise benchmarks, and create action plans.
Depending on the industry and scale of the company, social audits can take many different forms, but they usually involve a thorough analysis of the organization’s activities, policies, procedures, and processes. A company’s effectiveness in areas including human resources, procurement, their supply chain’s human rights compliance, sustainability, and community involvement can be assessed using social audits.
Various stakeholders, including employees, management, suppliers, clients, shareholders, and civil society, are frequently included in the social auditing process by businesses. Government institutions, policymakers, and international organizations are also requiring social audits more frequently as a means of enhancing business social responsibility and sustainability.
What are the benefits of Social Auditing in Business?
Incorporating internal social audits can provide numerous benefits for businesses. Some of the most significant benefits include:
- Enhanced transparency and social accountability: Social audits provide businesses with a means for measuring and reporting on their social and environmental performance, improving their transparency and accountability to stakeholders.
- Improved decision-making: Social audits have an important role in offering insights into your business’s social impact, enabling them to make better-informed decisions that align with their sustainable development goals.
- Increased operational efficiency: Social audits can identify gaps and weaknesses in a business’s operations, providing opportunities for improvement and increased efficiency.
- Better risk management: Social audits can identify potential risks associated with social and environmental issues, enabling businesses to develop strategies to mitigate these risks.
- Improved reputation: Social audits can help businesses build a positive reputation among stakeholders, demonstrating their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.
How to Get Started in Performing a Social Audit
Now that you understand the benefits of social auditing, you may be wondering how to get started. Here are some steps to follow:
1. Define the scope and objectives of your social audit: Determine which areas of your business you want to audit, and what you hope to achieve through the audit process.
2. Develop a social audit methodology: Decide on the specific methods and tools you will use to collect and analyze data. This may include surveys, interviews, document reviews, and checklists such as a Supplier Social and Environmental Compliance Checklist.
3. Assemble your audit team: Choose the individuals responsible for conducting the audit, and ensure that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to do so effectively.
4. Collect and analyze data: Use your chosen methods and tools to collect and analyze data related to the scope and objectives of your social audit.
5. Prepare an audit report: Summarize your findings in a comprehensive report that includes recommendations for improvement.
6. Develop an action plan: Use your audit report to create an action plan that outlines the steps your business will take to address any identified issues.
7. Follow up: Monitor your social performance progress and ensure that the action plan is implemented effectively.
It’s important to note that social audits should be performed on a regular basis to ensure ongoing accountability and progress. Using the free-to-download ESG Checklist from Certainty can be a helpful tool for businesses looking to get started with social auditing.
How Certainty can assist your Social Audit
By giving organizations a configurable tool for conducting and managing audits and inspections, Certainty streamlines the auditing and inspection management process and gives you the internal control needed to make informed, accurate, and timely preventative and corrective actions. As an audit and inspection management system provider, Certainty is intended to assist enterprises in pinpointing areas for development, monitoring advancement, and ensuring adherence to rules and laws. Businesses can quickly develop audit checklists, assign tasks, and generate reports using Certainty, all in one centralized area.
The management of social audits, which demand a thorough evaluation of internal and supply chain social and environmental issues, is what makes Certainty a good fit. Businesses can use Certainty to build audit checklists based on their own needs and industry norms. These may involve norms for labor, health, safety, the environment, and supplier management, among others. Think of Certainty as the ultimate accountability mechanism for your sustainability efforts.
With your audit findings, Certainty delivers real-time data that enable firms to pinpoint areas for development and monitor advancement over time. In order to help organizations make data-driven decisions and enhance their sustainability performance, the platform also offers a dashboard that gives a quick overview of important performance metrics.