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The RBA Validated Assessment Process (VAP) is the leading standard for onsite compliance verification and effective, shareable assessments.
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.
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:
To meet the requirements for recognition, all assessments must be a VAP (no CMA/AMA) and be verified through a VAP Closure Assessment.
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.
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.
Scheduling a VAP Assessment
To see what translations are available for RBA’s different tools, view this overview document.
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