SA8000 – which is an acronym for “Social Accountability”– is a collection of standards that were developed by the Social Accountability International (SAI), a non-governmental organization. The standards were created to protect workers’ rights and improve working conditions in factories across the world. SA8000 has been adopted by a number of large corporations, including Nike, Daimler Chrysler, Nokia, IBM, Dell, and Disney.
SA8000 is a popular international certification standard, so it makes good business sense to become SA8000 certified. SA8000 Certification also requires regular audits against the standard by an external party, which provides an opportunity for you to know exactly where your organization stands in relation to SA8000 compliance.
What does SA8000 Cover?
SA8000 covers 12 core labor standards, which include:
- No Forced or Compulsory Labor
- No Child Labor
- Prohibition of Corporal Punishment
- Right to Freedom of Association
- Right to Collective Bargaining
- Non-Discrimination & Equal Opportunity
- Prohibition of Harassment & Discrimination
- Work Hours & Overtime
- Safe & Healthy Workplace
- No Excessive or Unreasonable Working Hours
- Access to Remedy for Injuries
- Payment for Labour
The SA8000 Organizational Sustainability Group covers 10 business practices and policies that help improve compliance with SA8000 standards. These are not direct labor standards that must be met, but practices that help achieve compliance with the Social Accountability Group of standards.
- Commitment to integrity & ethical values
- Compliance Management System
- Continuous Improvement
- Maintaining Records
- Cooperation w/ Stakeholders
- Respect for People’s Rights
- Ethical Business Relationships
- Remedy & Resolving Grievances
- Responsible Purchasing
Who is Eligible to Apply for SA 8000 Certification?
SA 8000 certification can be achieved by all organizations that manufacture products or provide services from any industry – from small family-run businesses to multinational companies. The standard applies to all stages of product and service provision, including:
- Training facilities for staff and clients/customers
- Call centers
- Business processing outsourced operations (BPOs)
- Ports where goods are loaded or unloaded for transport
- Logistics providers and warehousing companies
- Consultancies and recruitment agencies
- Food and beverage providers
- Clothing and textile manufacturers
Importance of SA 8000 Certification for Businesses
In order to improve social and environmental practices, an ever-increasing number of customers are now requiring their suppliers to be certified against international standards. Achieving SA8000 certification demonstrates a commitment to workers’ rights and helps to build customer confidence. It also provides a competitive edge when tendering for new business.
How to Get the SA8000 Certification – Stages
- Documentation: Sufficient documentary evidence has to be provided by the organization to verify it complies with the SA8000 Standard.
- Verification of Core Documents: Core documents are the set of documents that are to be maintained by all organizations for assessment against SA8000. Verification can be done through support letters, e-mail, etc. Alternatively, if auditors could visit your premises or place of business, then they can directly see and verify all core documents.
- Assessment of Supporting Statements: Supporting statements are the core actions that an organization can implement in its processes or HR policies to comply with SA8000. For example, there is a statement on “child labor” which basically means that your child labor policy should be compliant with local laws and international instruments like ILO Convention 182.
- Auditing: This is the most important step of all, where auditors come in and verify that your organization complies with SA8000 policies/practices by doing observed audits. The type of audit(s) conducted will depend on the size and nature of your operations (factory, retail outlets, etc.).
- Training: All staff at all levels will need to be trained so that they know the requirements of the standard, their roles, and their responsibilities in complying with SA8000 policies/practices. Training will be conducted by Internal Managers / HR personnel on-site or by an external training provider.
To learn more about the SA 8000 certification process, contact IAS today!
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