What is Social Accountability SA-8000 Standard?
The Social Accountability SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA-8000 standard is one of the world’s first auditable social certification standards for adequate workplaces, across all industries.
It is based on the practice of ILO, UN, and national law, and spans industry and corporate codes to create a common language to measure social compliance. It takes a management systems approach by setting out the framework and procedures that companies must adopt in order to ensure that compliance with the standard is continuously reviewed.
Those seeking to meet with Social Accountability SA 8000 have adopted policies and procedures that protect the basic human rights of workers. Below are the nine sections in the Social Accountability SA 8000 Standard:
- Child Labour.
- Forced & Compulsory Labour.
- Health & Safety.
- Freedom of Association & Right to Collective Bargaining.
- Disciplinary Practices.
- Working Hours.
- Management Systems.
Benefits of Social Accountability SA 8000 to manufacturers and suppliers:
- Marketing advantage is more demand and value for goods from socially.
- Responsible manufacturers/suppliers.
- Enhancement of company productivity.
- Compliance with the laws of the land.
- Improve the relationship with the Govt., NGOs, and trade unions.
- Better image and position in labour market.
- Benefits of SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 to the retailers:
- Cost reduction in monitoring.
- Better corporate image.
- Increased value for the products.
- Establish Trust with the analysts and investors when evaluated against social performance.
Benefits for Employers
SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000-certified organizations experience a variety of positive business impacts, including:
- Improve relationships with workers, customers, and external stakeholders.
- Effective management systems that improve workflows throughout the organization, resulting in.
- Improved quality and productivity.
- Better hazard and risk detection.
- Increased supply chain control.
- Higher employee retention.
- Increase reputation, appeal to global buyers, and preferential status in government tenders
Benefits for Workers
In order to achieve SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 certification, an organization has to demonstrate that they meet a standard for worker safety and well-being. The benefits to employees working in SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000-certified organizations include:
- A living wage.
- Increased awareness of rights and opportunities to organize.
- Improve relationships with management and more input in workplace decision-making.
Benefits for Brands and Retailers
Brands and retailers that accept SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 certification in lieu of first- or second-party social auditing experience benefit from:
- Third-party oversight for quality assurance.
- Supplier ownership of social compliance program.
- More resources for Ability-building and other social programs, as they are no longer required for company code-of-conduct audits.
Social Accountability SA 8000 Implementation Steps:
- Management Support
This is the most critical. Without the support of management, your implementation of SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 will almost certainly fail. Plan your sales pitch well to convince your management that SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 is a good idea, and if you need some help take a look at the ISO certification Benefits Tutorial video.
- Establish SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 Certification Project, Project plan and resources
Determine the cut off period by which you need to have the SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 certification in place. This would allow reverse engineering of the project and the importance of timelines including before start-off date. Identify the project leader. Identify the products or services to be included in the scope of SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 certification. Do the costing. It includes implementation learning cost, and Certification fee.
- Pre-assessment / SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 Gap Analysis
This is concluded by a Specialist Industry expert, to help the organization in gap analysis, so that gaps identified during pre-assessment/ gap analysis are plugged before the organization Proceeds for Certification Audit. This is a very important step to raise the confidence level of the auditees.
- Conduct of SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 Awareness Training
This is required to gain A to Z of the fundamentals of SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000. We need to cover all the resources in the scope. This training is imparted in batches by specialists and industry experts. Evidence of training records needs to be maintained for demonstration during the SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 certification audit.
- Identify the SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 Implementation team-
SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 implementation can no longer be tasked to a single person or group of few persons in the organization. The SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 Standard is premised on Risk-Based thinking, and risk management must be done at the hands of respective departments and functions, such that head of the departments are the “ Risk-Owners. Therefore the implementation team would involve Heads of the departments, deputies, or other critical resources in each function, besides the central team.
- Conduct of SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 Implementation Training
This training is provided by ‘specialist and industry expert’ to the implementation team identified by the organization. The SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 Implementation training is conducted in a workshop style covering implementation practical cases of your organization and its processes.
- Define context, scope, and Policy –
The key tool to define the scope is the dependency matrix which will be the first document you will need to create for the SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000.
- Define Risk Assessment (RA) & Risk Treatment (RT), Objectives, processes, and procedures –
Risk assessment and risk treatment is the backbone of SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 implementation. SA Objectives help to conduct a dipstick check of the performance levels. Documentation will include the mandatory procedures defined by the SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 standard, but also any additional processes and procedures required by your company to ensure consistent and adequate results with respect to Social Accountability. The key is to define all the processes in your company and look at how they interact with your organization. It is in these interactions that problems can occur. The extent of documentation depends on the size of the organization, the complexity of the processes, and competence of the people.
- Implement SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 processes and procedures –
These processes will already available at your organization and will just need to be adequately documented to ensure reliable results. Not all processes need to be documented procedures, but it is important to decide which ones need to be in order to ensure compliance products and services.
- Conduct SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 internal audits –
Before the Lead Auditors of certification body visits to audit your system, SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 mandates that you audit each process internally. This will give you a chance to make sure that the processes are doing what you had planned. You will also have to implement the necessary corrective actions to fix any problems that you find.
- Closure activities and Corrective Action reports –
This is the step where you find the root cause of any problems found during your internal audits and management review, Changes from the implemented processes, customer concerns and takes action to correct the root cause. This is the key step toward continual improvement, which is the main focus of having a SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 certification.
- Conduct SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 management reviews –
Just as it is important that management supports the implementation of SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000, it is also important that they are fully involved in the maintenance of the Social Accountability (SA). Senior Management needs to review specific data from the activities of the Social Accountability in order to ensure that the processes have adequate resources to be effective and improve.
- SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 Certification audit- Stage 1 –
This is a review of your documentation by the certification body auditors to verify that, on paper, you have addressed all the necessary requirements of the SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 standard. The auditors will submit a report outlining where you comply and where there are problems, and you will have a chance to implement any corrective actions to address the problems. This may take place during the timeframe defined for the initial operation of Social Accountability.
- SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 Certification audit- Stage 2 –
This is the main audit when the certification body auditors will review the records you have accumulated by operating your Social Accountability processes, including your records of internal audits, management review, and corrective actions. From this review, which will take few days, they will issue a report detailing their findings and whether they have found your Social Accountability to be effective and in compliance with the SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 certification requirements. The auditors will also make a suggestion for certification if you meet all requirements. If you have any major non-conformances, then you will need to take corrective action for these Non-Confirmation before certification can be recommended.
A good plan will help a lot when you implement SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY SA 8000 and work toward certification, so do take the time to plan and know what resources you need – this will save you time and resources later on. You would receive One hundred percent guidance and support from the SA Consultancy experts.