This common audit scheme for sustainability in electronics was been introduced by the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), now known as the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA).

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 RBAis 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 EICC Auditor Certification Scheme offers certification at three grades: Associate Auditor, Auditor and Lead Auditor.

Please visit the Responsible Business Alliance website for more information about the RBA.

Scheme requirements

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 EICC (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 EICC (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 EICC (RBA) Scheme is based on the following audit criteria key documents:

The EICC (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 EICC (RBA) Code 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 EICC (RBA) Code of Conduct is the primary reference document for the EICC (RBA) Audit Criteria. EICC (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 EICC (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
  • NGOs
  • Contracted verification agencies.