APSCA Newsletter April 2023

April 30, 2023

To enhance the professionalism and credibility of the individuals and organizations performing independent social compliance audits
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APSCA Newsletter – April 2023

Welcome to our Q2 Newsletter! After a busy start to the year, we have many exciting announcements and successes to report. Some highlights within this issue include a farewell to our Director of Code & Compliance, Alex Nasr, updates to the Executive Board, an outline of key achievements from our 2022 Annual Report, and the launch of our 2030 Strategy!
 

The momentum we have gained throughout Q1 is set to carry on throughout 2023, with various events that are being planned, including live Q&A sessions & annual updates. As always, we encourage and welcome your participation at these events!

 

 

 

On April 14, 2023, we wished Alex Nasr, our Director of Code and Compliance, well as he left APSCA to pursue other opportunities, and we thank him for his efforts to further expand on APSCA’s ethics program and send our best in his future endeavors.

During Alex’s tenure at APSCA, he made significant contributions to our Ethics & Integrity program. He spearheaded initiatives to improve case processing capacity and timelines, increased data and information sharing with collaborative programs, and made numerous policy enhancements. Under Alex’s leadership, the Ethics team issued several guidance documents, including Guidance on Submitting Reports and Evidence to the APSCA Ethics Team  and updated our Disciplinary Framework and Procedures to include temporary suspensions and additional requirements for reinstatement.

We appreciated Alex’s unwavering commitment to driving ethics and integrity efforts within APSCA Membership. His contributions will have a lasting impact on our organization, and we thank him for his dedication and hard work.

Moving forward, Emma Youngman, our Compliance Manager, will manage the department with the support of our Compliance Analyst, Emily Chen, while we look to onboard a new Director of Compliance.

If you have any questions, please contact Emma at ethics@theapsca.org.

 

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We would like to announce a few changes to our Executive Board representatives. Mark Spears and Anastasia Spathi will be stepping down from the Executive Board and are set to be replaced by Craig Moss and Laurent Corbaz. Mark will, however, remain a part of the Stakeholder Advisory Board. We very much look forward to welcoming Craig and Laurent onto the Executive Board where their expertise will be invaluable.


Mark, who previously served the Walt Disney Company for nearly thirty years in several senior business roles, devotes his work to promoting positive environmental and social change. In his time at Disney, Mark served as Disney Consumer Products’ inaugural chief sustainability executive and led Disney’s involvement with The Sustainability Consortium as its first corporate Lead Director. Mark also directed Disney’s International Labor Standards program. Mark’s contribution to and representation of APSCA’s Executive Board has been hugely appreciated and we would like to thank him for all his valued efforts.
 



Replacing Mark will be Craig Moss. Craig is the Executive Vice President-Measurement of Ethisphere and a leading expert on using management systems to improve compliance and risk management performance within companies and across supply chains.

Craig is also the Chair of the Licensing Executives Society committee that developed an ANSI global standard for Intellectual Property Protection in the Supply Chain. He is Director – Content & Certification at the Cyber Readiness Institute, and Director at the Digital Supply Chain Institute.

 




Anastasia Spathi will be stepping down from the Executive Board and we would like to thank Anastasia for her contribution to APSCA over the last 2 years, particularly for her most recent efforts in leading the Exam and Capacity Working Group. We know she will stay connected with us through her ongoing work with SGS.
 



We take this opportunity to welcome Laurent Corbaz to APSCA’s Executive Board. Laurent is Vice President, Strategic Planning at SGS and has been with the company for over 16 years, in a number of senior management roles in both Switzerland and the United States. Laurent is responsible for the strategic development and planning within the Knowledge Division covering audit, certification, training, CSR, supply chain services, risk management and technical consultancy across multiple industries.  Laurent holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. 

Please join us in thanking Mark and Anastasia for their ongoing support and welcoming Craig and Laurent – we look forward to utilising their expertise as we implement our 2030 Strategy.

 

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 SAVE THESE DATES! 

APSCA Live Q&A 
2023 Annual Updates (online only)
23 – 24 October 2023
 
APSCA 2023 Annual Meeting of Members and Stakeholders (hybrid)
Location (Atlanta, Georgia USA)
Annual Meeting with CSCA moderator

16 & 17 November 2023

Training Event (TBC)
15 November2023

 

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In APSCA’s 2022 Annual Meeting of Members and Stakeholders (AMM), we announced the launch of our 2030 strategy  (for the right-click translatable version, click here). Over the last few months, we had a working group focus on strategy and funding required to implement the agreed strategy. 

Following Member Firm feedback, which has been consolidated and considered, a communication to all Members is being finalised with the Executive Board and will be coming in the following weeks along with an implementation plan.
 
APSCA has launched a Part I and II Exam Syllabus. We welcome your feedback on this document. Over the next few months, you will also see:

  • Draft Agenda for the Annual Meeting of Members and Stakeholders (AMM) which will be moderated by a CSCA 
  • Announcement of improved business practices for Members with the support of our new IT provider to expedite the processing of exams and invoicing
  • Training Partnerships supporting Member Auditors throughout their APSCA journey (exam preparation, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and emerging topics)
  • Development of a job board to connect new Auditors with Member Firms that are prepared to train them
  • Podcast Series and other communication to be expanded.

To name a few!

 

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Sedex Xplore Sustainability Conference 

APSCA’s Rona Starr participated in a breakout session during day two of the Sedex conference in March 2023, speaking to a standing-room-only crowd alongside Sedex’s Paul Chalmers and moderator Fiorela Topciu, Sedex and APSCA presented about continuous improvements in Social Auditing Quality. Jointly moving the needle for competence and quality including insights were shared on the future of the profession.

 


Pictured (left to right) Fiorela Topciu, Paul Chalmers, and Rona Starr

 

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APSCA continues to focus on connecting Member Auditors with training opportunities that are relevant, meaningful, and accessible, throughout their journey as an APSCA Member Auditor.

APSCA Member Auditors may be starting out in their career in Social Compliance Auditing (building up their audit experience as they prepare to write their exams), expanding their knowledge through the rigour of the exam process (focusing and refocusing their attention to foundational skills and functional knowledge areas) or maturing their understanding and continuously improving after achieving their CSCA level.

The profession needs people at all levels of expertise, experience, and interest to sustainably deliver upon the requirements of industry and civil society who look to Social Compliance Audit as a piece of the puzzle to support the requirements of responsible business.

In 2021 and 2022 APSCA focused on developing training materials for Member Auditors focusing upon preparing for APSCA Exams, and later connecting them with available training opportunities which supported the completion of the first year of mandatory Continuous Professional Development. 2023 and beyond will see APSCA working to serve and support Member Auditors wherever they are in their professional journey to facilitate opportunities for the community to engage in training and learning opportunities.

APSCA is currently working with several different organizations to bring training opportunities to Social Compliance Auditors in 2023.   In this newsletter, we are happy to share three different training options from the ITCILO – International Training Centre of the ILO (International Labour Organization).

The pieces of training below are a mixed offering, the first is free of charge and suitable for anyone, the subsequent two are paid trainings which expand understandings on functional areas. We hope that these are of use to everyone who reads our newsletter and of particular use to Member Auditors.

We welcome your feedback on training opportunities, please contact us at cpd@theapsca.org




TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
Are you interested in learning more about Fair Recruitment? 
 
Are you aware of ILO GBNFL’s toolkit (self-led training) on fair recruitment?
This was developed together with the ILO training centre and the ILO Global Business Network on Forced Labour with financial support provided by the European Union
 
https://flbusiness.network/toolkit-fair-recruitment/story.html
 
The toolkit offers individuals to explore fair recruitment at their own pace at no cost to expand capacity on this important topic.


ADDITIONAL TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES


FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE

The course looks into how companies, development finance institutions, state-owned enterprises and procurement agencies, can contribute to the eradication of forced labour in their own operations and business transactions through responsible business conduct and effective human rights due diligence (HRDD).



FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE

The ILO’s International Labour Standards are a critical component of corporate social responsibility and human rights due diligence (HRDD). This course provides participants with the expertise, tools, and knowledge they need to improve their skills in the field of labour-related human rights and core elements of effective HRDD.

This course is APSCA CPD Recognized – Course ITC-ILO-001 which covers 32 hours of training (the full training requirement for the year).


 

 

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Members Meeting
ASPCA Members Meeting (hybrid) was held at the Sedex Office on Tuesday 21st March 2023. During this meeting, APSCA Executive Board and Stakeholder Advisory Board Members were able to share information about the progress of 3 short-term working groups, which were focused on APSCA Governance, Exams and Capacity as well as Strategy and Funding. The meeting provided Member Firms with an opportunity to provide comments & feedback ahead of the Executive Board meeting held on March 25, 2023.

Member Firm Comment Period – 
Governance, Strategy and Funding Proposals

Following the Executive Board Meeting on 25 March 2023, APSCA launched a 2-week Member Firm Comment Period, allowing Member Firms to provide feedback on draft proposals regarding Governance, Strategy and Funding. The draft proposals were the culmination of work by 2 working groups, established in December 2022. 
 
The primary proposal of the Exam and Capacity working group was not put to Member Firm comment. Instead, this proposal was immediately put into effect by APSCA in an effort to expand auditor capacity (see below for more details).


2022 Annual Report Recap



APSCA’s 2022 Annual Report, titled “Transforming the Future of Social Auditing” was released in mid-April.
The report is available in pdf, or viewable on our website (right-click translatable).
New for 2022 – APSCA’s Annual Report is also available in Accessible Pdf format!
 



APSCA is focused on serving the needs of Member Auditors and Firms
APSCA continues working hard to better serve the needs of our Member Auditors and Firms. In 2022, some of these efforts included:

  • Conducting the first hybrid Annual Meeting of Members and Stakeholders
  • Providing up to 10 CPD hours for Member Auditors
  • External engagement resulting in feedback on pending legislation impacting Social Compliance auditing
  • Streamlined and enhanced exam documentation
  • Development of 2030 Strategy
  • Maintaining Auditor/Member Firm annual fees at the same level since 2018, while delivering more services
  • Connected Members to job opportunities
  • Launching of new communications channels


APSCA accomplishments – a timeline

Since our founding in 2015, APSCA has continued to advance the profession of social compliance Auditors, promoting the use of independent social compliance audits as a tool to advance workplace conditions globally.
 
It’s encouraging to see the growth of our profession!




 

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Unsure about the booking process?
Let’s review!


The Part III Exam deadline is fast approaching – make sure you book your exam accordingly!
The deadline to sit the exam is May 30th, 2023 for all languages except English, Chinese (simplified & traditional), and Spanish, for which the deadline has passed. Don’t wait to book your exam, book as soon as possible! This helps us stay organised and ensures a smooth sitting for our Test Takers.
 
When booking a Part I, II or III Exam, always consult our ‘How to Book’ documents, located in the Resource Library under the Exam Guide tab. These documents will provide a step-by-step outline of how to book your exams.
 

   Part III Exams- MUST READ BEFORE SCHEDULING  

  • Auditors MUST book via Calendly. DO NOT schedule with ProctorU
  • WHEN SCHEDULING IN CALENDLY – YOU MUST USE THE SAME EMAIL ADDRESS AS YOUR PU PROFILE EMAIL. If you use a different email when scheduling your exam, the exam will not transfer to your ProctorU account, you will not receive an invoice and you risk the exam being cancelled.
  • DO NOT MAKE MULTIPLE BOOKINGS! Another very important point, as a penalty charge of USD250 applies to each additional booking. Interviewers are redistributed to exams internally and scheduling multiple exams in an attempt to find a specific interviewer will not work.
  • FIRMS– please communicate closely with your Auditors about what language they wish to sit their Part III Exam in, and whether they need a translator. Help your Auditors choose so they are aligned with the ERS
  • All rescheduling or cancellations must be done via Calendly, NOT ProctorU. Changes made incorrectly may incur a penalty charge of the original booking fee. The link for cancellations and reschedules can be found in your Calendly exam confirmation email and ensure all rescheduling/cancellations occur greater than 30 days from the original booked exam date to avoid a penalty.

 
 Must Read! 
There are updates to Windows requirements for all exams. ProctorU will no longer be accepting any versions of Windows that are earlier than Windows 10 (2015). If your computer has Windows 8 downloaded on it, you will not be able to sit your exam. So be sure to upgrade as soon as possible!

Preparing for your exams and unsure where to start your study?
We have plenty of excellent resources available for Auditors to ensure they are as ready as possible and encourage all to thoroughly review each available material. The Resource Library is a great place to start, where you will find Policy & Guidance Documents, Practice Exams, Exam Guides, and Webinars.
 
A Practice Scenario is now also available for the Part III Exam! This fantastic resource is found within the Part III Exam guide, under Appendix 1. This document is also available in the Resource Library. We also have a new What to Expect video for the Part III Exam – watch it here.

 

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If you haven’t listened to Episode 7 of the APSCA Podcast, click here. In this episode, APSCA Communications Coordinator, Georgia Sexton, runs through a series of tips and tricks for the Part III Exam, as advised by our exam interviewers.

 

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The Disciplinary Board for Member Auditors (DBMA) met on March 9, 2023, and heard four cases. The Board substantiated all four cases and took strict action in line with the Association’s Code and Standards of Professional Conduct to ensure the integrity of our Social Compliance audits.

Out of the four cases, two cases were related to bribery, and one was related to falsifying an invoice, resulting in Membership revocation. One Member was suspended for one year for failing to disclose a conflict of interest.

It is crucial to maintain objectivity, independence, and integrity in all audits to ensure that they are fair, accurate, and reliable. Auditors play a critical role in protecting the rights of workers, promoting ethical business practices, and ensuring compliance with local and international laws. APSCA takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and will thoroughly investigate any such cases.

It is also important, that anyone that is aware of actions that may violate the Code, report the information immediately to the Member Firm or directly to the APSCA Ethics Team at ethics@theapsca.org.

 

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Memberships Fees Deadlines

Member Auditors paying their own fees were required to raise their invoice no later than February 15th, 2023. Those Auditors who did not raise their invoice before this date had their Membership Status moved to lapsed and their Membership Level moved to ASCA as of Monday, February 20th, 2023.
 
REMINDER FOR THOSE PAYING THEIR OWN 2023 MEMBERSHIP FEES!
Member Auditors paying their Membership Fees must ensure they pay their invoice within the payment terms. Auditors will be moved to the Membership Status of Lapsed and the Membership Level of ASCA if the invoice is not paid.


Job Seekers/Hiring Auditors

Is your Firm hiring Auditors?
APSCA is happy to share job listings on our LinkedIn page to help connect Auditors to hiring Firms across the globe. Whether you are looking to hire and train, or looking for existing Auditors, we are happy to share your job listing. Tag us @Association of Professional Social Compliance Auditors Inc. (APSCA) on LinkedIn, or email us a link to the job listing at director@theapsca.org 

 

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 FAQ UPDATE  
 

FAQs from the 2022 Annual Updates with live Q&A is available on the APSCA website. Be sure to check it out under 2022 Annual Updates in the AGM & Stakeholder Event Archive

Governance/IT and Exam

Continuous Professional Development
 


To better serve our Membership and interested parties, we have a Resource Library on APSCA’s website. The library provides a comprehensive directory of member documents, key dates, exam guides, webinars for exam preparation and more! 


We would welcome your feedback – please forward your suggestions to:  director@theapsca.org

 

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  REPORTING AN INTEGRITY ISSUE  
 

If you wish to report an action by one of our Members (Firms or Auditors) which may be considered a violation of APSCA’s Code and Standards of Professional Conduct, email our Ethics Manager at Ethics@theapsca.org

 

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Our monthly newsletter now reaches over 4,000 subscribers!
We encourage our Member Firms to have their auditors subscribe to APSCA’s newsletter to stay up to date with APSCA Happenings by clicking here. Further, if you have a friend or colleague that may be interested in APSCA, please share this newsletter with them via the link below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            

 

 

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