What is SA 8000 Certificate?
SA 8000 certificate is a respected social accountability certification for producers, factories and farms. This is based on SA 8000:2014 standard. This standard has 9 clauses. Out of the 9 clauses 8 are related to Labour welfare and 9th clause is related to management system. Because of the management system orientation this standard is little more difficult to adopt. This is why it is more demanding in terms of efforts required to maintain certification.
One of the other reason, it is more respected is that it asks for the Basic Needs Wage implementation. This is a significant demand from the producers and suppliers as this increases their wage bill. This is the reason it is considered a gold standard for Social Accountability.
SA 8000 Certification
SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY 8000- also known as SA 8000 certification.
SA 8000 standard concerns all companies regardless of activity that aim at continuously improving labour conditions and communicate this to all relevant stakeholders and interested parties, by addressing labour issues also to sub-contractors.
WHAT IS SA 8000:2014
Rising public concern about inhumane working conditions in developing countries led to the creation in 1997 of the Social Accountability International Organization. Its purpose was to draw up a universal code of practice for labour conditions in manufacturing and agricultural industry. The SA8000 standard for socially responsible employment practices prescribes specific performance standards. It has set new standards governing workers’ rights. SA8000 is designed to embrace existing international agreements including ILO convention, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. These instruments are referred in SA8000.
SA 8000 VALUES
It provides transparent, measurable, verifiable elements for certifying the performance of companies in nine essential areas:
Health and Safety
Freedom of Association and Right to Collective Bargaining
BENEFITS OF SA 8000 certification
Many businesses have already begun to recognize the commercial advantages of adopting an ethical dimension in their employment practices, and are operating their own codes of conduct. The SA 8000 standard now offers a global social responsibility employment practice, which complies with UN and Human Rights Conventions and Declarations.
Furthermore, the certified SA 8000 company shows in practice to all its employees its respect and commitment to labour rights and improvement of labour conditions.
WHY CERTIFY WITH EUROCERT S A
EUROCERT S A is a Greek Independent Certification Body accredited by Greek and International Accreditation Bodies with offices and activity across the globe. EUROCERT S A possesses highly-trained and educated auditors with great expertise and experience in their field.
Furthermore Eurocert SA is one of the few elite accredited certification bodies for the SA 8000 standard worldwide, by the Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS)
WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN SA 8000 AND ISO 26000
SA8000 is the most trustworthy and international standard for social responsibility. ISO 26000 is a guidance document for social responsibility. Application of ISO 26000 standard leads to improvement of labour conditions and is a step forward before implementing and certifying with SA8000.
EUROCERT S A , having great experience in the field, may conduct conformity audits according to ISO 26000 and issue relevant declarations.
How can I get SA 8000 standard in pdf ?
You can easily get a copy of SA 8000 standard from this link
We are a NEW factory, how can we get SA 8000 certificate?
While the roadmap for obtaining this social certification may vary for each factory. We can still give the following generic roadmap
STEP 1- Get the management commitment:
While this seems to be very easy step, this is actually a very difficult step. Most common mistake in this step is that the top management is only given the idea of certification audit cost. Not knowing all the cost aspects of SA 8000 certificate is a big mistake. They get financial shocks, when they find that the cost of maintaining this certificate is actually much more than the cost of acquiring the certificate. Below is a small graphic outlining the SA 8000 costs.
How much SA 8000 implementation costs
Knowing the cost is also not enough. The top management should align with the principals of SA 8000 standard. This will require development of compassion for the workers. All the members of top management first have to commit to the welfare of the workers as a broad principal. This commitment is the foundation stone to all social certifications. Once this is done, rest is a piece of cake.
STEP 2: Build Policies/Procedures and a Team :
This step can take anywhere between 30 days to 90 days depending on efforts and competence of Team. A team is very important. This team is known as Social Performance Team by SA 8000 standard. A SPT should have worker as well as members from management. The Worker member may include worker representative. SPT team should be well trained in Risk Analysis, SA 8000 standard and Root cause Analysis. This training should not be one time but repeated and improved. The Social Performance Team should also be involved in conducting Internal audit and in the conduct of management reviews.
STEP 3: Apply to the certification Body:
If the above two steps are conducted comprehensively, then this step is very easy. If the first two steps are not done in a hurry, this step will become easy. The certification Body does two audits- Stage 1 and Stage 2, Each audit will result in certain observation and non-conformities. The Social Performance Team should carefully study all observation and non-conformities and conduct root cause analysis for each and try to take corrective action which will prevent recurrence of these observation.
How shall I develop a SA 8000 Checklist ?
The best way to make a checklist is to start with questions from Performance Indicator Annexure – This document is freely downloadable from SAI website. You can also download SA 8000 checklist from here
How much time does it takes to get a SA 8000 certificate?
Everyone wants to get the certification as fast as possible. The certification process involves two stages and stakeholder consultation. This takes around 30 days to complete these two stages of certification. One should not say that it takes 30 days for getting SA 8000 certification. It generally takes 6 months of active management system implementation. The SA 8000 auditors are expecting at least 6 months record of an effective management system.
An effective management system is where the policies and procedures are understood and executed at least partially. So the company aspiring for SA 8000 certificate can have a fully matured system and can just complete the process in 30 days. Or it may take them 30-40 days to make a system or procedures and records and then execute them for another 6 months followed by an audit cycle time of 30 days. As you can see the answer to this question is not straightforward. We can conclude that it may take 30 days to 9 months to get a certificate depending on the company’s existing social management system.
How can I get SA 8000 Standard?
SA 8000 standard is freely downloadable from SAI site. you can download the SA 8000 standard from below links
- English SA 8000 Standard
- Hindi SA 8000 standard
- Bangla SA 8000 Standard
- ALL other SA 8000 standard translations
What is the difference between SA 8000 and ISO 26000? Which one is better?
ISO 26000:2010 is a guidance standard. It is not a requirement standard. Generally certification will be done on a standard which is defining minimum requirements. ISO 26000 is a well drafted standard. It is aligned with other ISO standards. It is based on 7 principals.
The main difference is not in the content but in the execution and monitoring of certification scheme. The execution and monitoring of SA 8000 certification is much higher than a ISO based standard. The biggest weakness of any ISO standard lies in the dilution of the certification standards by certification bodies. Since for SA 8000 there is a dedicated team of monitoring professionals and a reduced number of authorised certification bodies, the implementation of SA 8000 standard in a certified facility is higher. It is because of this general higher level of implementation and stringent monitoring, SA 8000 certificate is more respected and sought after by buyers and brands.
How to make a root cause and corrective action for non-conformities identified in a SA 8000 audit?
Every SA 8000 audit will result in some observations and non-conformities. A right attitude and detailed analysis can turn these non-conformities into opportunities for improvements. The most important aspect is how much time and analysis the SPT – social performance team spends on each non-conformities. It is a two step process:
STEP 1: ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS
There are many techniques for root cause analysis and a factory management may choose any technique – a Fish bone analysis technique helps the SPT to think in specific areas of root cause analysis. If a Factory management chooses to use a Fish Bone analysis, they should first do an internal training of the SPT for this tool. It is because every tool needs certain amount of practice to use it more efficiently. A factory should not switch too often between techniques of root cause analysis. First step is to train the team. Second step: they should meet 2- 3 times with a break of 2- 3 days in between. Each time they should try to identify the root cause for non-conformity in the possible directions. These directions are possible type of reasons. They are drawn as “branches” of the fish-bone structure
STEP 2: CORRECTIVE ACTION
Once the above steps are completed. We are ready for identifying action which will prevent recurrence of the given non-conformity. This step is the most difficult step and requires understanding of all processes and their linkages. In this step the STP tries to identify more than one ACTION for each non-conformity.
Why is SA 8000 certification superior than other social audits?
Following are the reasons why SA 8000 certification is better than other social audits.
- It advocates paying workers a “needs wage” rather than “minimum wage”. A “needs wage” is higher than the minimum wage
- SA 8000 standard demands a management system approach
- It asks for a team to make and improve social management system
- SA 8000 implementation demands commitment from top management
What are the management system elements which a company implements to get a SA 8000 certificate?
SA 8000:2014 has a big clause about management systems. This clause has 10 subclauses. This makes it the biggest requirement clause of the standard.
- Policies Procedures and Records- There are three challanges for this requirement:
- redundancy- having too many policy procedure for same thing
- Review- noone from managment reads it or revisits the policies
- They write too much and can’t deliver
- Social Performance Team
- Risk Assessment for SA 8000
- Internal involvement and communication
- Compliant management and resolution
- Stakeholder engagement
- Corrective and preventive actions
- Training and Capacity building
- Managment of Subcontractors