Do we need people to audit factories?



1. Sustainability Problem Area: Social  

Many companies, especially retailers or CPGs,  today rely on social audits to understand working conditions in factories all along their supply chain. Typically, these audits are done in person, are time consuming, and can distract from everyday business at factories. Additionally, these audits can sometimes be inefficient and expensive,, as auditors may travel a long distance to check to see if one thing has been fixed.

 2.  Technology Summary

    1. Verifying specific issues (think: smoke alarm/fire detection system installation)  remotely, through a combination of precision GNSS/GPS technology and fraud detection software for photography, could allow companies to check in on their supply chain (for specific issues) without sending an auditor
    2. NovAtel makes receivers with strong signal availability that can provide centimeter level location accuracy; these receivers can work  well in buildings, and would likely be able to pinpoint exactly where and when photos (of issues at factories) were taken.
    3. Photographs taken (with time and location stamp) can be run through fraud detection software, similar to Izitru, whose cloud based API will run a forensic test on an JPEG image in seconds, and produce a trust rating along with other data.
    4. Combining data from an initial site visit done by an auditor to issue/location/imagery that has been validated via precision GPS and verified photography at a later time may eliminate the need for additional audits, and the incurred time/cost/disruption

 3. Org Stakeholders

    1. Companies measuring social issues in their supply chain 
      • Social Responsibility team
      • Technology integration teams
      • Sourcing/Procurement teams
    2. Factory Management
    3. NovAtel and Izitru
    4. Initial site visit auditing companies

 4. Deploying the Technology

  1. Companies measuring CSR  would need to determine comfort level with this type of remote/tech-based information gathering and potential issue verification.
  2. Next, would need to partner with their contract audit firms and factories to capture issues via photography that have precision time/location stamps
  3. Then they would need to develop a mechanism that could compare data, along with the trust score/ location information to determine whether or not issues have been fixed.

UNI – JM4202

5. Comment on other article: While the idea of transforming carbon into plastic sounds like it can help solve the global climate crisis, there is pushback on the actual potential impact of this type of technology. According to atmospheric scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology, Ken Caldeira, the process of converting oxidized CO2 to reduced carbon requires so much combustion that it erases the benefit to the environment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s