Director APSCA · 29 December 2022


By Brent Wilton, Former Director, Global Human and Workplace Rights, Coca-Cola Company

Brent Wilton

Environmental and human rights due diligence (EHRDD) requirements on business are a reality. Such demands may not yet be everywhere, but where they do exist, they impact everywhere, and they are here to stay.

Companies now need expertise to help them undertake that due diligence. Where is that talent going to come from?

Companies need trusted partners. Poor EHRDD can result in reputational harm and legal liability, as well as placing managers and directors in the firing line for personal responsibility.

Social auditors are a key resource for satisfying this need.

APSCA’s recent efforts have seen the emergence of a profession rather than simply an occupation with regards to social compliance auditors. Auditors can now show proven competency through APSCA’s robust examination process.

Gift horse

The “gift horse” is to be found in audit firms and standards bodies pivoting to bring social audit more seamlessly into expanded EHRDD processes, equipping auditors with tools to expand their skill set to embrace wider human and environmental rights, and helping companies to identify risk across their value chains and across the geographies where they operate.

Do this and the future of wider social measurement is secure. Fail and the risk of unqualified, uncertified, and incompetent actors entering this market is guaranteed. Instead of the professionalism APSCA was created for, a race to the bottom is the most likely outcome.

Evolve or die

The choice is now clear. Step up and be that future, or accept that the horizon of pure social audit will shorten and others will step in and take their place in this new business opportunity.

“Evolve or die” is a reality for all business and social audit is no exception. The good news here is that the path forward for continued success is already known, it just needs to be embraced. The hope is that the audit industry is smart enough to do so.

As we look towards 2023, it is time for APSCA and the social compliance audit profession to seize our opportunity as the lead practitioners in the EHRDD process.

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