A software tool that shares compliance information on factories around the world, and helps apparel brands, retailers and manufacturers avoid auditing duplication and audit fatigue, has been updated with new features - including the ability to make multi-company collaboration audits easier to manage and conduct.

The collaborative technology from non-profit organisation Fair Factories Clearinghouse (FFC) has been developed to cut redundancy from factory compliance programmes.

It is being used by international apparel firms such as Adidas, Nike, and VF Corporation to change the way they assess and communicate with factories.

The ultimate goal is to do away with the individual inspection processes historically used by most brands, and instead move towards jointly planned audits, shared information with other brands that source in the same factories, and collaborative corrective actions.

"Today's approach to factory compliance audits isn't optimal," said Peter Burrows, executive director of Fair Factories Clearinghouse.

"Several brands often source from the same factory, resulting in an unmanageable number of audits and correction plans. Factories spend more time scrambling for upcoming audits and squelching highest priority corrective issues rather than creating long-term sustainable change.

"By adopting a collaborative approach, brands can shift their focus to what matters: correction of root cause issues through long-term and sustainable improvements to management systems, employee relations, and environmental issues."

The latest FFC audit collaboration release lets members post upcoming events to enable joint factory visits or training; integrate audit data into their own databases for full company reporting; and add employees at other brands as participants on new audits.

Nike, which has been a member of the FFC since 2007, last year shared 39% of its audit results through the FFC.