SA8000 - Social accountability management

Demonstrate that you have implemented internal processes safeguarding human rights for employees.

The SA8000 standard and certification program provides a framework for any organization and industry to conduct business in a way that is fair and decent. An internationally recognized standard, SA8000 provides a structured approach to establish or improve workers’ rights, workplace conditions and an effective management system.

Created by SAI (Social Accountability Standard) in 1997, SA8001 is based on the UN Declaration of Human Rights, ILO conventions, international human rights norms and national labour laws. At its core is the belief that all workplaces should support basic human rights and management is prepared to accept accountability for this.

What is SA8000

The standard provides transparent, measurable, verifiable requirements for implementing and certifying company performance in 9 essential areas:

  • Child labour: Prohibits child labour (under age 15 in most cases). Certified companies must also allocate funds for the education of children who might lose jobs as a result of this standard.
  • Forced or compulsory labour: Workers cannot be required to surrender their identity papers or pay "deposits" as a condition of employment.
  • Health and safety: Companies must meet basic standards for a safe and healthy working environment, including drinkable water, restroom facilities, applicable safety equipment, and necessary training.
  • Freedom of association & right to collective bargaining: Protects the rights of workers to form and join trade unions and to bargain collectively, without fear of reprisals.
  • Discrimination: No discrimination on the basis of race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, or political affiliation.
  • Disciplinary practices: Forbids corporal punishment, mental or physical coercion and verbal abuse of workers.
  • Working hours: Provides for a maximum 48-hour work week, with a minimum one day off per week, and a cap of 12 hours overtime per week remunerated at a premium rate.
  • Remuneration: Wages paid must meet all minimum legal standards and provide sufficient income for basic needs, with at least some discretionary income.
  • Management system: Defines procedures for effective management implementation and review of SA8000 compliance, from designating responsible personnel to keeping records, addressing concerns and taking corrective actions.

Benefits of becoming certified

Certification to SA8000 contributes to:

  • Fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Better working conditions and worker well-being.
  • Improved productivity, stakeholder relationships, market access and more.
  • Manage and improve performance within your company or along your supply chain.
  • Demonstrate good practice

Getting started

To be certified, you first have to implement a compliant management system and practices.

Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS) has accredited a few certification bodies/registrars, including DNV to audit and issue accredited SA8000 certificates. DNV can help you throughout the journey, starting from relevant training to certification.

Learn more about how to get started on the road to certification.