APSCA End-Of-Year Newsletter December 2023

December 18, 2023

APSCA End-Of-Year Newsletter 2023

To enhance the professionalism and credibility of the individuals and organizations performing independent social compliance audits
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APSCA End-of-Year Newsletter

Welcome to the final edition of the APSCA newsletter for 2023! 

As we reflect on the remarkable strides made in 2023, it's impossible not to attribute much of our unprecedented growth to the outstanding leadership of our departing President & CEO, Rona Starr. For over seven years, Rona has steered APSCA with unwavering dedication and commitment. As we embark on the final edition of the APSCA Newsletter, we extend our heartfelt farewell to Rona.
During her tenure, Rona has been the driving force behind APSCA's remarkable global growth and strategic expansion. Her visionary leadership has laid a strong foundation, transforming APSCA into an independent and professional standards body for social compliance auditors.
Under Rona's guidance, APSCA has enjoyed significant achievements and successes, setting the stage for the next chapter of growth. 
These achievements have included:
  • Increasing the enrolment of social compliance auditors to nearly 5,000 in 104 countries, speaking 95 different languages
  • Certifying more than 2,500 Auditors, residing in 78 countries
  • Launching APSCA’s 2030 Strategy to future-proof the profession, including developing a pathway to attract new social compliance auditors, enhance Member engagement and expand APSCA’s global reach and influence on important issues that affect all Members.
These successes were achieved with limited resources, operating with an extremely lean team that has grown APSCA from its founding in 2015 to its current position of strength. 

Avedis Seferian, our Executive Board Chair, expressed our collective gratitude to Rona, stating: "We have been fortunate to have Rona as our leader during APSCA’s critical formative stages and have benefitted greatly from her tireless energy and deep commitment to the organization’s mission. The significant growth and successes APSCA have already achieved would simply not have been possible without her."
As we bid farewell to Rona Starr, let us express our deepest appreciation for her unwavering commitment, vision, and the indelible mark she has left on APSCA. We look forward to the continuation of our journey with the same spirit of dedication and enthusiasm that Rona has instilled within us. 
Thank you, Rona, from the APSCA team and the industry at large – we wish you all the best in your future endeavors. 

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The year’s end is fast approaching and with that, we have embraced the oncoming season of change as we excitedly welcome our new President & CEO, Colleen Vien, who officially assumed her role on Day 2 of the AMM. 
With an illustrious background in supply chain due diligence, human rights auditing, and extensive experience in multi-stakeholder associations, Colleen is poised to lead APSCA into a new era of growth and influence. 
A globally recognized CSR and sustainability executive, Colleen brings over two decades of experience leading impactful global programs and initiatives. Her career, marked by an unwavering commitment to upholding human rights in complex supply chains, includes a pivotal role at Timberland, where she oversaw human rights and environmental standards globally. 
An internationally ranked CSR influence leader, Ms. Vien's expertise in managing social and environmental risks, stakeholder engagement, and cross-industry collaboration is unparalleled. 
Avedis Seferian, Chair of APSCA's Executive Board, expressed delight in welcoming Colleen, highlighting her transformative change management skills and cross-industry collaboration, crucial for APSCA's 2030 Strategy. 
Ms. Vien expressed excitement about solidifying APSCA's global leadership in social compliance auditing, extending her gratitude to outgoing CEO Rona Starr and committing to enhancing APSCA's legacy for a brighter future.
Welcome, Colleen, we are thrilled to have you!

We want to extend our sincere gratitude to everyone who made our recent Annual Meeting of Members & Stakeholders (AMM) such a big success. 
With a total of 1,944 virtual and in-person registrants at the November 15-17 event in The Coca-Cola Company's headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, this was the biggest AMM to date, highlighting the growth of APSCA’s global membership. 
A big thanks to The Coca-Cola Company for hosting us at such a fantastic venue and contributing to a standout event. We hope to be back soon!

The event started on November 15 with an Auditor training day on Responsible Recruitment, delivered by Impactt and Sponsored by Walmart. The session provided invaluable information and we were thrilled to see excellent engagement from Auditors. 
Following this, we had two days of panel discussions with our industry experts on all things social compliance – from current industry trends to future directions and movements for the profession. 
APSCA sent out a post-event survey to gain feedback as we look towards future events. The results of this survey were overwhelmingly positive. Thank you to all who responded! 

The APSCA team thanks everyone who contributed to making the 2023 AMM one of our proudest events to date. To see more highlights from the event, including videos of keynote speeches and a photography gallery, click here.

Until next year!


Join us for this inaugural event, in which our APSCA team will delve into the most frequently asked questions regarding Exams, CPD, and Ethics, as submitted by you, our Members. The Annual Updates will run across two sessions to cater to different time zones.

Monday 18 December 2023, 3.30 PM-5 PM EST (designed for those joining from North, Central & South America)

Tuesday 19 December 2023, 7.30 AM-9 AM GMT (designed for those joining from the UK, Europe, & Australasia)
For more information about the event, and to register for one of the two sessions, please use the below links.
Session 1 registration
Session 2 registration
We look forward to presenting our updates from what has been a significant year with you all!


Our panel sessions from the 2023 AMM are now available for viewing on YouTube and recognized trainings from the panels are also available on CPD On-Demand. There are four CPD sessions available from Day 1 & 2 of the 2023 AMM, and four additional videos of fantastic panel discussion from our industry’s experts. We hope you will gain just as much insight and inspiration from these sessions as we did!
The course codes for our CPD-recognized sessions are as follows, please use these codes when submitting your CPD:
  • APSCA-006 APSCA 2023 Annual Meeting - Responsible Recruitment Training 
  • APSCA-007 APSCA 2023 Annual Meeting - The Audit Journey 
  • APSCA-008 APSCA 2023 Annual Meeting - Keynote: Converging Forces 
  • APSCA-009 APSCA 2023 Annual Meeting - Emerging Legislation Unveiled 
  • APSCA-010 APSCA 2023 Annual Meeting - Dynamic Transformations
Not registered for CPD On-Demand? Register here, watch the sessions in full and upload your CPD to your APSCA Online Account (My Account). For more detailed instructions on how to upload CPD, click here

We also have additional videos available for CPD On-Demand, so be sure to register and earn your 2023 CPD today! 

The APSCA Ethics Team is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Effie Marinos as Senior Ethics Advisor. With over 30 years of experience in the field of social accountability and sustainability, Effie is a powerhouse with much to offer in social compliance auditing.  

An Independent Member of the Board, Effie has a remarkable background deeply rooted in social compliance that brings a focused perspective to support APSCA’s membership.

Her extensive involvement with founding SEDEX Stakeholder Forum, SMETA, and the Gangmaster Licensing Authority in Britain brings invaluable knowledge and dedication to our Ethics Team. 

Effie's appointment is a significant asset as we advance our Ethics Program to the next level. APSCA focuses on scalability, streamlined case timelines, and enhancing outreach and education. 

Effie’s prior role as Global Technical Governance Manager for Responsible Business Services in the SGS Group underscores her commitment to process improvement, sustainability, and ethical training. 

Please join us in extending a very warm welcome to Effie as she assumes the pivotal role of Ethics Advisor.  


If you have suggestions for us or would like to see certain topics in future issues, please email us at director@theapsca.org

Thanks for reading the latest APSCA Newsletter!

Looking for Auditors? APSCA is here to help!

Let APSCA apply the benefits of our global network to your search for new Auditors.
Just tag us (#APSCA) on your LinkedIn job postings for Social Compliance Auditors or send job postings directly to us and we can share them on social media.

We are here to help, supporting APSCA Member Firms, Supporter Brands & Retailers, and Collaborative Programs that we work with, in their ongoing efforts to attract and retain Social Compliance Auditor talent.
We would welcome your feedback – please forward your suggestions to:  director@theapsca.org
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Industry Press Releases

​Verite  in partnership with the /  UN Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking held a workshop 31 October 2016 in New York, which many of APSCA members attended.  Follow this link to see their press release.  To get involved, contact Philip Hunter from Verite

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