A year in review. Mutual recognition: reducing audit and assessment duplication

Supplier assessments, in different shapes and forms, are an essential part of supply chain due diligence and assurance of compliance with responsible sourcing requirements.


On-site audits and supplier assessments


On-site audits are the most widely used method for supplier assessment with the vast majority of the AIM-Progress membership conducting third party on-site audits. Our mutual recognition of audits framework supports companies in obtaining visibility of audits conducted among the membership, and a list of over 25,000 audited suppliers is available to participating members, updated twice a year.

In addition to mutual recognition of audits, AIM-Progress also has a partnership with EcoVadis on supplier assessments, to enable visibility of suppliers who have been assessed by a group of eight of our joint members. This list was recently updated and contains 6,000 records, and will enable members to check whether a supplier already assessed through Ecovadis needs to undergo additional scrutiny.



Broadening the scope of our activities

The AIM-Progress Mutual Recognition work stream is intent on further broadening the scope of our mutual recognition activities to other supplier assurance approaches where a critical mass of member companies uses the same or similar methodologies.
A noteworthy new development was that AIM-Progress members helped shape a new supplier assurance tool: the Sedex virtual assessment (SVA). AIM-Progress also released a statement encouraging members to apply a mutual recognition approach to virtual assessments, meaning that, in principle, they are willing to recognize supplier virtual assessments completed on behalf of another company, and will review assessment reports to confirm whether they meet their company requirements. We recommend the SVA as a good standard of practice against which to compare any other virtual assessment which suppliers may have undergone, or benchmark against any own-company assessment standards members may have developed.


Working conditions and human rights in the waste management sector

Another angle of supply chain assessment is focused on working conditions and human rights in the waste management sector. The circular economy and increased demand for recycled content sourcing, primarily for packaging, have put the spotlight on the waste management/sorting and recycling sector, in particular in countries with a mostly informal waste management sector. Whilst the role of informal waste pickers is very valuable for recovery of secondary materials, especially when public waste management structures are lacking, the working conditions of these pickers are often sub-standard, if not unacceptable, including risk of child labour, migrant worker exploitation, etc.


AIM-Progress has developed a draft assessment questionnaire, which can be used to complement audits/assessments, specifically targeted at recyclers/PCR suppliers. We have also established a list of relevant initiatives in which our members are involved, and where there may be opportunity to partner.


Our plans for 2021 include: 

  Interested? Contact us.