SA 8000 Social Accountability


Overview of SA 8000

The SA8000 standard and verification system is a credible, comprehensive and efficient tool for assuring humane workplaces because it includes:

Factory-level management system requirement for ongoing compliance and improvement.

Independent, expert verification of compliance: Certification of facilities by auditing bodies accredited by SAI. SAI accreditation ensures that auditors have the procedures and resources needed to conduct thorough and objective audits. There are currently nine organizations accredited to do SA8000 certification.

Involvement by all stakeholders: Participation by all key sectors, including workers and trade unions, companies, socially responsible investors, nongovernmental organizations and government, in the SA8000 system. Such participation is required with the Advisory Board, drafting and revision of the standard and auditing system, conferences, training, and the complaints system.

Public reporting: SA8000 certified facilities are posted on the SAI Web site. Companies that join level two of the SA8000 Corporate Involvement Program (CIP) release annual progress reports verified by SAI.

Harnessing consumer and investor concern: The SA8000 Certification and Corporate Involvement Program help consumers and investors to identify and support companies that are committed to assuring human rights in the workplace SA8000 Standard Elements.

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SA 8000 Elements

SA8000 is based on international workplace norms in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions and the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on Rights of the Child. The official standard is available for download in various languages by clicking here, but a summary follows:

Child Labour: No workers under the age of 15; minimum lowered to 14 for countries operating under the ILO Convention 138 developing-country exception; remediation of any child found to be working

Forced Labour: No forced labour, including prison or debt bondage labour; no lodging of deposits or identity papers by employers or outside recruiters

Health and Safety: Provide a safe and healthy work environment; take steps to prevent injuries; regular health and safety worker training; system to detect threats to health and safety; access to bathrooms and potable water

Freedom of Association and Right to Collective Bargaining: Respect the right to form and join trade unions and bargain collectively; where law prohibits these freedoms, facilitate parallel means of association and bargaining

Discrimination: No discrimination based on race, caste, origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union or political affiliation, or age; no sexual harassment

Discipline: No corporal punishment, mental or physical coercion or verbal abuse

Working Hours: Comply with the applicable law but, in any event, no more than 48 hours per week with at least one day off for every seven day period; voluntary overtime paid at a premium rate and not to exceed 12 hours per week on a regular basis; overtime may be mandatory if part of a collective bargaining agreement

Compensation: Wages paid for a standard work week must meet the legal and industry standards and be sufficient to meet the basic need of workers and their families; no disciplinary deductions

Management Systems: Facilities seeking to gain and maintain certification must go beyond simple compliance to integrate the standard into their management systems and practices.


Benefits if SA 8000

Along with humane workplaces, the implementation of SA8000 offers more benefits to workers, companies and others:

Benefits for Workers, Trade Unions and NGOs:

– Enhanced opportunities to organize trade unions and bargain collectively.
– A tool to educate workers about core labor rights.
– An opportunity to work directly with business on labor rights issues.
– A way to generate public awareness of companies committed to assuring humane working conditions.

Benefits for Business:

– Drives company values into action.
– Enhances company and brand reputation.
– Improves employee recruitment, retention and productivity.
– Supports better supply chain management and performance.

Benefits for Consumers and Investors:

– Clear and credible assurance for ethical purchasing decisions.
– Identification of ethically made products and companies committed to ethical sourcing.
– Broad coverage of product categories and production geography.

Implementing a SA 8000

There are key steps that every company implementing a SA 8000 will need to consider:

Purchase the Standard
Before you can begin preparing for your application, you will require a copy of the standard. You should read this and make yourself familiar with it.

Review support literature and software
There are a wide range of SA 8000 publications and software tools designed to help you understand, implement and become registered to a SA 8000 management system.

Assemble a team and agree on your strategy
You should begin the entire implementation process by preparing your organizational strategy with top management. Responsibility for a SA 8000 lies with Senior Management, therefore it is vital that Senior Management is involved from the beginning of the process.

Consider Training
Whether you are the environmental officer seeking to implement a environmental management system or a Senior Manager who would like to increase your general awareness of SA 8000 there are a range of workshops, seminars and training courses available.

Review Consultancy Options
The consultancy is the 3rd party like NUCLEUS, You can receive advice from independent consultants on how best to implement your environmental management system. They will have the experience in implementing a SA 8000 Management System and can ensure you avoid costly mistakes.

Choose a registrar
The registrar is the 3rd party, who come and assess the effectiveness of your environmental management system, and issue a certificate if it meets the requirements of the standard. Choosing a registrar can be a complex issue as there are so many operating in the market. Factors to consider include industry experience, geographic coverage, price and service level offered. The key is to find the registrar who can best meet your requirements. A great place to start is by contacting us.

Develop a SA 8000 manual
SA 8000 manual is a high level document that outlines your intention to operate in a clean manner. It outlines why you are in business, what your intentions are, how you are applying the standard and how your business operates.

Develop support documentation
This is typically a procedures manual that supports the SA 8000 manual. Quite simply, it outlines what you do to complete a task. It describes who does what, in what order and to what standard.

Implement your SA 8000
The key to implementation is communication and training. During the implementation phase everyone operates to the procedures and collects records that demonstrate you are doing what you say you are doing.

Consider a pre-assessment
A pre-assessment by your registrar normally takes place about 6 weeks into the implementation of the SA 8000. The purpose of the pre-assessment is to identify areas where you may not be operating to the standard. This allows you to correct any areas of concern you may have before the initial assessment.

Gain registration
You should arrange your initial assessment with your registrar. At this point the registrar will review your SA 8000 and determine whether you should be recommended for registration.

Continual assessment
Once you have received registration and been awarded your certificate, you can begin to advertise your success and promote your business. To maintain your registration, all you need to do is continue to use your SA 8000. This will be periodically checked by your registrar to ensure that your SA 8000 continues to meet the requirements of the standard.

To know more about SA 8000 and SA 8000 Consultancy Services please contact us on +91 9600001996 and mail toinfo@nucleus-india.com

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