SA 8000 - Social Accountability
What is SA 8000 / ISO 26000
SA 8000 certification enables you to demonstrate your commitment to social accountability standards as well as employee and customer satisfaction.
SA 8000 is an international certification standard that encourages organizations to develop, maintain and apply socially acceptable practices in the workplace. It was created in 1989 by Social Accountability International (SAI), an affiliate of the Council on Economic Priorities, and is viewed as the most globally accepted independent workplace standard. It can be applied to any company, of any size, anywhere in the world. The areas it addresses include forced and child labor, health and safety, freedom of association and collective bargaining, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours, compensation and management systems.
As well as setting standards for employees worldwide, SA 8000 also embraces existing international agreements, including conventions from the International Labor Organization, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
SA8000- Demonstration(Certification) Process
The SA8000 provides two separate ways for companies looking forward to demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility.
The first way is taking membership. This is designed for businesses that are doing retailing. The organization has to give commitment to do business only with socially responsible suppliers.
SA8000 members are offered a self-assessment package and other tools to help them implement a policy on social responsibility. They are expected to notify their suppliers of their intention to implement SA8000 standards, and to set a timeframe for phasing out dealings with companies that fail to meet those requirements.
Member companies are also required to produce an annual report describing their SA8000 objectives, and outlining progress that has been made towards those goals. These reports are verified by SAI(Social Accountability International).
The second way is certification. It is intended for manufacturers and suppliers themselves. The process is a stringent one, which begins with the company contacting an accredited auditor. Having demonstrated compliance with existing regulations and assessed how current practice compares with the provisions of SA8000, the company is given the status of 'SA8000 applicant'.
The business then implements an SA8000 programme, which is scrutinized by a 'pre-assessment audit'. Any improvements that are recommended should be implemented before the formal audit takes place.
After the formal assessment, the company is again given the opportunity to rectify any shortcomings, before being assessed again. If at the end of this process the auditors are satisfied that the company is fully compliant, they will recommend an SA8000 certificate, valid for three years.
Why was SA 8000 developed?
Consumers and other stakeholders have become increasingly concerned about whether products have been manufactured under conditions of violation of human rights, child labor and discrimination – as often reported by the media.
The existing management of many companies cannot adequately cope with the myriad demands imposed by labour laws, codes of conduct of individual companies, as well as their stakeholders.
A greater challenge is to effectively monitor whether the manufacturers and suppliers have implemented
Who develops SA 8000?
SA 8000 is developed by the SAI - Social Accountability International (formerly known as CEPAA - Council on Economic Priorities Accreditation Agency), an affiliate of the Council on Economic Priorities (CEP)
SAI was established in early 1997. It convened a group of experts for an Advisory Board. The Board is responsible for drafting the SA 8000 standard, as well as providing direction and recommendation regarding the function, operation and policy of SAI.
SAI’s Advisory Board includes representatives from unions, organizations for human rights and children’s rights, academia, retailers, manufacturers, contractors, non-governmental organizations, consultants, accounting firms, as well as certification bodies.
Members of the SAI Advisory Board do not represent the interests of particular organizations; they have been appointed for their experience and knowledge of particular sectors. This is to ensure that the interests of different sectors are appropriately represented, thereby enabling the Advisory Board to maintain a balanced view