SA-8000 is an auditable certification standard that encourages organizations to develop, maintain, and apply socially acceptable practices in the workplace. It was developed in 1997 by Social Accountability International, formerly the Council on Economic Priorities, by an advisory board consisting of trade unions, NGOs, civil society organizations and companies. The SA-8000 streamlines the complexities of navigating industry and corporate codes to create a common language and standard for measuring social compliance. As it can be applied worldwide to any company in any industry, it is an extremely useful tool in measuring, comparing, and verifying social accountability in the workplace.
SA8000 certification is a management systems standard, modeled on ISO standards. The management systems criteria require that facilities seeking to gain and maintain certification must go beyond simple compliance to the standard, but also integrate it into their management systems and practices and demonstrate ongoing conformance with the standard. SA8000 is based on the principles of international human rights norms as described in International Labour Organisation conventions, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It measures the performance of companies in eight areas important to social accountability in the workplace: child labour, forced labour, health and safety, free association and collective bargaining, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours and compensation.
- Achieve best practice in ethical employment, trading and operations
- Engage and motivate your employees with improved morale
- Introduce greater transparency to the way you run your business
- Maintain existing business and attract new customers and investors
- Gain recognition as an socially accountable organization
SA8000 certification is used in both private and public sectors to increase confidence in a company’s working conditions and as a tool to implement international labor standards. SA8000 guides employers to consider the importance of each job and to recognize the equal dignity of each person involved in the supply chain.
SA8000 defines the requirements for an organization’s quality management system, not for its products. Accredited certification to SA8000 provides confidence in the organization’s ability to meet the requirements in the Standard. It does not necessarily ensure that the organization will always achieve 100% conformity though this is a permanent goal.