Benchmark for Social Standards

Why has MADE-BY developed this Benchmark?

MADE-BY has created a Benchmark for Social Standards that grades key initiatives and standards that strive for better social conditions in the supply chain. 

The Benchmark serves as the basis of measurement and scoring the Scorecards. Due to the wide array of standards already in existence, MADE-BY has no intention of launching its own code of conduct, but has instead recognised and benchmarked six leading international standards used within the industry in order of what we consider to be most robust (from Class A to Class C). 

The six initiatives in MADE-BY’s Benchmark for Social Standards are:

  • Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI)
  • Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)
  • Fair Labor Association (FLA)
  • Fair Wear Foundation (FWF)
  • Social Accountability 8000 (SA8000)
  • Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production (WRAP)


For the 2013 update, MADE-BY has significantly reviewed the content of the MADE-BY benchmark as well as the process for its review. It was decided that to strengthen the governance around the benchmark, and ensure the indicators reflected the changing international context for business and human rights in the supply chain and make the process of updating and scoring the benchmark more transparent.

To this end, the benchmark has been revised in consultation with a steering committee comprising representatives from NGOs, academia, consultants and brand members of MADE-BY.


Nine criteria have been considered when ranking these standards:

The Governance of the code – MADE-BY has scored multi-stakeholder initiatives higher than company or industry codes, as we feel that by including a diversity of views, these standards are stronger.

The frequency of update – codes that have been updated more regularly score higher.

The content of the code of conduct – MADE-BY recognises the Draft Code of Labour Practice of the Joint Initiative on Corporate Accountability and Workers Rights (JO-IN) as the best practice standard to which other codes should be compared.

The scope of the code – MADE-BY reviewed whether the code covered outsourcing units used by the supplier through subcontractors and homeworkers.

Type of Management System is used to integrate social standards into the overall systems of the business – MADE-BY prefers management systems at a supplier level as this facilitates implementation at the level where change is desired.

When certification is owned by the factory, the process of social change can continue even if the brand moves on to another supplier. It also adds value to the factory as other brands are enticed to use a factory that owns a certification.

Type of audit and verification process is involved – MADE-BY sees auditing as a means, not an end. The audit process should involve the use of a highly skilled auditing team with extensive experience, a worker-centric approach interviewing workers on and off premises, an effective anonymous complaints procedure, sufficient frequency of audits and the use of a third party verification system.

The level of transparency of the code – MADE-BY stimulates transparency on initiative, brand and factory level, however factory level is the most important as this is where the change is needed most.

The type of human rights Grievance Procedures that the initiative has – in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

The level of capacity building – is the most important criteria (it is a double weighted factor in the benchmark) as it plays a crucial role in creating an enabling environment on a long-term basis. MADE-BY values codes that integrate: research and analysis, stakeholder engagement and training of various stakeholder groups to encourage their long-term development.


Other benchmarks

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