The Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) formerly known as the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), is a common audit scheme for sustainability in electronics.
The scheme is intended to save suppliers and Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) members the time and expense of multiple audits. The RBA was formerly known as the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), and is a non-profit organisation in the IT industry which promotes social and environmental responsibility and efficiencies in the global electronics supply chain. They are committed to upholding strong standards for labour, ethics, health and safety, environmental impact, and management systems.
This common audit scheme developed by RBA is designed to save companies the time and expense of multiple audits. Suppliers are audited once and can share the findings with all RBA member companies.
IRCA has been engaged as a partner to provide a certification and regulatory framework for training and certification of auditors in this sector. The IRCA RBA Auditor Certification Scheme offers certification at three grades: Associate Auditor, Auditor and Lead Auditor.
Important note: This scheme only has three grades – Associate Auditor, Auditor and Lead Auditor. The generic criteria still apply.
Scheme specific (additional) requirements
The certification grades applicable to this scheme are limited and fall into two scopes, as below:
Auditors are required to demonstrate the following knowledge and competencies:
- Internationally accepted human rights norms, laws and regulations relating to labour and ethics issues
- Relevant industry codes of practice, legal requirements, guidelines and standards relating to labour, ethics, health and safety, and environmental issues
- Relevant international, national and local judicial systems, and legislative frameworks
- Relevant social responsibility and labour culture, trade unions, non-governmental organisations
- (NGOs) and other interested parties within the country or area of operation.
Auditors are required to have the ability to:
- Plan, conduct and report an RBA audit
- Communicate responsibly and clearly, both orally and in writing, with personnel at all levels of an organisation, including workers
- Apply methods and techniques to gather and evaluate objective evidence (including payroll) and determine the conformance of a system designed to meet the RBA requirements
- Generate accurate, appropriate and responsible audit findings and conclusions
- Uphold the principles of proper ethical conduct, fair presentation and due professional care.
The RBA Scheme is based on the following audit criteria key documents:
- Responsible Business Alliance Code of Conduct (current version)
The RBA Code of Conduct establishes standards to ensure that working conditions in the electronics industry supply chain are safe, that workers are treated with respect and dignity, and that business operations are environmentally responsible. The RBACode of Conduct encourages broad adoption of CSR best practices by all ICT companies and suppliers, through guidelines for performance and compliance with critical CSR policies. The RBA Code of Conduct is the primary reference document for the RBA Audit Criteria. RBA provides the tools for audit compliance with the code and helps companies report progress, hence the significance of the following two key criteria documents;
- Responsible Business Alliance Validated Audit Program (VAP) Audit Criteria (current version)
- Responsible Business Alliance VAP Audit Operations Manual (current version)
Guidance on who this scheme is intended for
Certification to this scheme is specific to social systems audits performed within the electronics industry, and therefore requires industry sector-specific competencies. If an auditor doesn’t meet this requirement and their experience is in other industry sectors, they will find the IRCA Social Systems generic scheme more suitable for their needs. The purpose of this RBA Auditor Scheme is to provide confidence that auditors who are certified to it are competent to audit for a variety of stakeholders:
- Purchasing organisations
- Supplier organisations
- Regulatory authorities
- Contracted verification agencies.