Summary of Results
The majority of companies disclose having an audit process in place for their suppliers that includes monitoring for forced labor. Twelve out of 40 companies say that they conduct, or may conduct, non-scheduled audits. Hitachi, Intel, and Foxconn have started to undertake unannounced audits since 2016. However, no company disclosed a percentage of unannounced audits they had undertaken on suppliers.
Just over half of companies disclosed that their audit programs include worker interviews (22 out of 40) and visits to associated production facilities (20 out of 40). Twelve of these companies use the RBA's Validated Audit Process to undertake audits on suppliers, which includes a review of relevant documentation, interviews with suppliers' workers separately from their management, and visits to facilities and worker housing such as dormitories.
Seven out of 40 companies stated that they audit below the first-tier of suppliers. One company expressed experiencing difficulties in obtaining information from their first-tier suppliers regarding who their below-tier suppliers are, due to confidentiality. The company further noted that where they were aware of them, below-tier suppliers may refuse audit requests due to the lack of a direct business relationship.
Companies disclose insufficient information on how their audit processes work in practice. Only four out of 40 companies give an indication of the percentage of workers interviewed during audits, despite the fact that more than three times this amount say that they conduct them. Fifteen out of 40 companies give a summary of their audit findings. Leading companies are disclosing compliance data per audit item, such as the number of violations per item, or the percentage of suppliers found to have violations.