The Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS), the standards and technology division of the National Retail Federation, announced the release of the Compliance Audit Interchange, a specification that allows organizations to share compliance audit results securely with other companies who source from the same supplier location.
“Uncoordinated auditing by so many brands, retailers and other stakeholders that manage compliance databases has resulted in audit fatigue,” said NRF Vice President of Retail Technologies Tom Litchford. “There is evidence that some suppliers are audited as much as 50 times a year, consuming time that would be better used to bring about sustainable improvements to processes and operations. CAI tries to make it easier for participating compliance databases to exchange audit information, reducing the need for so many different companies to audit the same suppliers.”
“Forward-thinking brands and retailers have developed comprehensive corporate social responsibility programs that include inspecting and monitoring outsourced factories, and many of these companies have joined various multi-stakeholder groups to work with other brands and retailers to help create sustainable improvements in outsourced factory practices,” said CAI work team chair and Executive Director, Fair Factories Clearinghouse Peter Burrows.
“By allowing databases to exchange audit information, CAI lets companies that source the same suppliers have a deeper understanding of what is going on at the supplier. The more complete a picture of what is happening on the ground, the greater the progress that can be made to bring about sustainable improvements.”
Included in the standard is a set of defined XML standard messages to enable brands and retailers to track and to communicate with their manufacturers and other supply chain intermediates about compliance with human rights, environmental and supply chain security issues. It also defines the means where brands, retailers and audit companies can confidentially and securely exchange audit information with other companies and external databases. Technical reports offering in-depth discussions of the compliance audit landscape and the need for standards, as well as a design specification for the registry itself, are also included.
ARTS and FFC were supported in this project by many retailers, brands, suppliers and multi-stakeholder organizations, such as Nike, adidas, El Corte Inglés, Cisco, Enablon, Intertek, SIM Supply Chain Information Management, the Fair Labor Association, SEDEX, BSCI, GS1, GSCP and SIF.
The Association for Retail Technology Standards, a division of the National Retail Federation, provides the retail industry with the latest research and best practices through specialized technology standards, developments and educational programming. ARTS standards, products and programs are dedicated to fostering innovation and supporting the retail community by providing a more efficient retailer-to-consumer relationship.