Validated Assessment Process (VAP)

The RBA Validated Assessment Process (VAP) is the leading standard for onsite compliance verification and effective, shareable assessments.

Validated Assessment Process (VAP)

One of the most fundamental RBA programs is the Validated Asessment Process (VAP), which is the leading standard for onsite compliance verification and effective, shareable assessments. Since 2009, RBA members have completed more than 2,500 VAP onsite compliance assessments conducted by independent third-party audit firms that have been approved by the RBA to execute the VAP protocol. As the program has grown it has become more complex, with hundreds of auditors from nine firms in more than 20 countries. 

VAP Recognition Program

The RBA recognizes that the primary value of an onsite compliance assessment is not in the identification of issues at a factory, but in the correction of those issues. We want to recognize those factories that demonstrate their commitment to corporate responsibility through verified closure of the issues identified in a VAP assessment.

We offer three levels of recognition:

  • Platinum: for factories with a minimum VAP score of 200 and all Priority, Major and Minor findings closed
  • Gold: for factories with a minimum VAP score of 180 and all Priority and Major findings closed 
  • Silver: for factories with a minimum VAP score of 160 and all Priority findings closed

To meet the requirements for recognition, all assessments must be a VAP (no CMA/AMA) and be verified through a VAP Closure Assessment.

Additional details on the VAP Recognition Program can be found in this overview and these FAQs.

VAP Guidance Documents

The below documents are selected chapters from the 6.0.0 VAP operations manual, which will take effect for audits starting Feb. 1, 2018. Please note the entire VAP operations manual is not publicly available. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Translations of v6.0.0 above into all of the languages listed for v5.1.1 below will soon be available.

The below documents are selected chapters from the 5.1.1 VAP operations manual, which became effective on Feb. 15, 2017. Please note the entire VAP operations manual is not publicly available. If you have any questions, please contact us.

More About VAP Assessments

Assessments carried out on RBA member facilities and their suppliers' facilities are completed by independent third-party auditors specially trained in social and environmental auditing and the VAP protocol. Trainings for auditors and corporate audit program managers are run by the internationally recognized, nonprofit supply chain sustainability group Verité at multi-day, in-person trainings that take place several times per year. Please see the RBA events calendar for a complete listing of these trainings.

A typical VAP onsite assessment at a single manufacturing facility may last 2-5 days and includes a thorough document review, interviews with management and employees and a visual site survey. The VAP uses local, native-speaking auditors where possible and they are specially trained to spot hard-to-find VAP protocol violations like instances of forced labor. They are also specialists in understanding where some violations are more common, such as excessive working hours in areas with high migrant worker populations.

VAP reports written by the independent audit firms must be submitted to the Audit Quality Manager (AQM) for review and quality control. The AQM comes from social responsibility consulting firm Vectra. Vectra is not an audit firm but manages the VAP process, including overseeing quality control and consistency of VAP reports globally. 

Where VAP assessments uncover non-compliances to the  protocol, those findings are rated by severity as “minor,” “major” or “priority.” All three categories of findings have specified periods of time during which the facility in question must remedy the findings and implement systems to prevent reoccurrences. Remedy and prevention plans are part of corrective action plans (CAPs) referenced above.

A key initial impetus for the founding of the RBA, and one of its continued benefits to its members today, is the practice of sharing audits. Many RBA members share common suppliers, and those suppliers also share common suppliers. Whenever a single RBA member audits its own or a supplier’s facility, the member can share the findings with other customers of that facility that are also RBA members. Sharing audits saves RBA members and their suppliers millions of dollars each year, which not only creates business efficiency but also ensures that cost is less of a barrier for companies seeking to ensure that their facilities and those of their suppliers are living up to the RBA Code of Conduct and protecting workers and their communities.

Additional Resources


VAP introduction and overview

Assessment Tools

Self-assessment tools
RBA Online

Assessment Resources

RBA Code of Conduct
Glossary and Frequently Asked Questions
Approved Audit Firms for VAP
Auditor Guidebook
VAP 3rd-Party Payer Process
AQM-Managed CAP Process
Grievance Mechanism
Worker-Type Chart from VAP Ops Manual

Contractual Documents

Auditee Agreement
Authorized Recipient Attachment (Attachment B)

Scheduling a VAP Assessment

Please schedule the VAP online via RBA Online.
Don't have your RBA Online login information? Contact us.

Translated Resources

To see what translations are available for RBA’s different tools, view this overview document.


RBA VAP Program Manager
VAP Backup and Escalation
Invoicing: Steve Moloney