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SA8000 Standard: What you need to know

Posted by Bertrand Duteil on 26/07/2018


As a company, you know that your employees are as valuable as your products themselves - if not more valuable. Nevertheless, it can be hard sometimes to know the workers conditions in your supply chain. One way to bring transparency in your supply chain is to ask for a social compliance certification such as the BSCI or the SA8000 standard.

We will today learn more about the SA8000 certification and how to implement it in your company.

What is the SA8000 Standard?

Developed by the Social Accountability International (SAI) in 1997, the SA8000 Standard is a global certification for social compliance in supply chains. Available for companies of all sizes and all industries, the standards provides companies with a framework based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions.

The standard is internationally recognized and covers more than 2 million workers across the world.

Structure of the SA8000

The SA8000 certification is divided into nine areas of competences. The different elements are the following:

  • Child labor
  • Forced and compulsory labor
  • Health and safety
  • Freedom of Association and Right to collective bargaining
  • Discrimination
  • Disciplinary practices
  • Working hours
  • Remuneration
  • Management System

Last updated in 2014 with the SA8000:2014, the certification improves and adapts to the new challenges offered by today’s world. The SA8000:2014 introduces the Social Fingerprint, a tool developed to support companies with the continuous improvement of their social performance. This new management system is based on the following categories:

  • Policies, procedures and records
  • Social performance team
  • Identification and assessment of risks
  • Monitoring
  • Internal Involvement and communication
  • Complaint management and resolution
  • External verification and stakeholder engagement
  • Corrective and preventative actions
  • Training and capacity building
  • Management of suppliers and contractors

The companies still following the former updated, the SA8000:2008, have until the end of 2017 to update their framework to the newest stand.

Certification process

The SA8000 certification process takes place in four steps:

  • Pass an online self-assessment with Social Fingerprint Self-Assessment to estimate your current completion with the social standard requirements
  • Contact one of the twenty SAAS-accredited certification body for a full evaluation process
  • The certification body will then review your documentation, working practices, employee interview responses and operation records
  • If the audit is successful, you will be granted the SA8000 certification.
    If not, you will be handed improvement requests for the next certification audit.

The certified companies are continuously monitored through announced and unannounced visits twice a year. The standard has a validity of three years with the possibility to renew the certification after this period of time.

Learn more

Do you need to implement a social compliance certification such as the SA8000 standard in your company? Discover now ecratum modules and learn more about automated and easy Supplier Relationship Management, tailored for your company.

Discover now our SRM platform

Tags: Certifications, tips