Released in May 2009, "SA8000: The First Decade" provides perspective over the years and sets an agenda for the next decade. This book commemorates the certification of over one million workers. Businesses, NGOs, academics and trade union leaders provide much-needed perspective on the lessons learned from SA8000 and set an agenda for the next decade.
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SAI Central America Update
SAI and BSR Host Successful Regional Forum to Promote Social Dialogue and CSR
On 10-11th February in Managua, Nicaragua, SAI's Project Cultivar
and BSR's DR-CAFTA Responsible Competitiveness Program
, conducted a regional forum on Labor Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility in the Agricultural Sector of the DR-CAFTA Region. More than 140 representatives from international brands, companies, producers, trade unions, NGOs, international organizations and regional governments gathered to discuss ways to achieve a sustainable culture of labor compliance.
In the six panel sessions, and in presentations of cases about issues in the production of bananas and sugar cane, forum participants shared experiences on the innovations,
challenges and successes of socially sustainable practices in
agriculture in the DR-CAFTA region. Key participants included: Erik Black, Labor Attaché - US Embassy of Nicaragua; Francisco Bolaños, General Director of Labor of the Ministry of Labor of Nicaragua; Jaime Echeverría, Governing Principles for Suppliers Program Coordinator-Coca-Cola; Marco Escobedo, Labor Relations Manager-Dole; Edgardo Garcia, President of the Association of Rural Workers (ATC); Edilbertha Gomez, representative from the Federation of Workers of
the Banana, Agro-industry and Services Sectors of Chinandega (FETBASCH); Marco la Touche, Labor Relations Manager- Chiquita; Eugenio Solano, Vice Minister of Labor of Costa Rica; and Oscar Valverde, Regional Coordinator for the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Mr. Black stressed the importance of social dialogue. "[This
forum] is an excellent opportunity to explore how we can work better as
companies, government institutions and unions to promote greater social
responsibility by companies in the agricultural sector under DR-CAFTA".
Social dialogue and local capacity building are at the heart of
the projects' mission to build. Therefore, the forum sought to
promote and strengthen social dialogue among producers and
multinational buyers-- on the benefits of sustainable compliance with
labor standards, improved working conditions, and worker empowerment in
achieving a culture of compliance.
Both SAI's Project Cultivar and the BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) DR-CAFTA Responsible Competitiveness Program address their mission through programs that mix social dialogue, best practice examples of corporate social responsibility, and capacity building for managers, workers, labor inspectors, and NGOs. These programs go beyond monitoring to foster systemic change and demonstrate the case for compliance with labor standards as a competitive strategy in the agricultural sectors of Central America and the Dominican Republic.Panelist Matthias Dietrich, Executive Director of Union Nicaraguense de Responsabilidad Social Empresarial (UniRSE) stated, "the importance of this event relies on the participation of so many sectors of society of the DR-CAFTA countries, because this gives us better opportunities to exchange opinions and learn about the difficulties that our participating friends face."
Bayardo Guevera, a employee of Farm Coquimba in Nicaragua, the banana farm featured in SAI's January 2010 newsletter, expressed his appreciation. "Being here at this event has been a very important experience for me. In my particular case, I was not previously aware of many of the things that I've learned in these two days."
SAI's Project Cultivar thanks BSR for sponsoring the forum.
For more information about SAI's Project Cultivar and photos and powerpoint presentations from panelists at the Regional Forum, please visit www.proyectocultivar.org
Corporate Programs and Training Update
India Training Leads to Results in the Field
In the December 2009
edition of SAI's Newsletter, we noted follow-up training seminars taking place in India. These two seminars, in Mumbai and Bangalore, were in follow-up to seminars that took place in April 2009. Sponsored by the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ)
, the December seminars focused on building socially compliant supply chains. The sessions were highly participatory, as April attendees were asked to invite two or three of their key suppliers to join them and develop practical and realistic ways to integrate the learnings into their practices.
During and after the December seminars, SAI Corporate Programs Director, Craig Moss
, and SAI India representatives Badri Gulur
and Madhuri Lele
-received feedback and news from participants who shared some of their company and suppliers' progress as a result of the earlier trainings. At the heart of the training seminars was SAI's Tiered Rating System, the process-based rating system that focuses on measuring and improving social performance. With this tiered rating system, programs for continual improvement are encouraged to try and increase worker involvement in the self-assessment process. Mugdha Shah
, a participant and CSR Director from Rallis India Limited
, spoke of how her participation in the training seminar has brought positive changes within her company, and detailed her efforts towards continuous improvement--a key aspect of the seminar. Rallis, one of India's leading agrochemical companies, has a wide market reach, spreading across 80% of India's districts, through an extensive network of loyal and supportive dealers and retailers.
Ms. Shah noted how Rallis has taken great steps towards engaging its workers. Rallis' wide market reach is carried out by sales officers, and support by technical field assistants (TFAs). "While TFAs were well managed by the sales and marketing team of Rallis and supported by the service providers, the relevance of human rights and corporate social responsibility was appreciated more clearly after the seminar on social compliance
." said Ms. Shah. "As a first step towards implementing better engagement with this workforce, a focus group discussion was organized with TFAs at one of the regional offices, where they shared their areas of concerns and priorities that helped us to update our perception about them significantly
Based on this learning, Rallis carried out a detailed study throughout India, in regional languages, by administering a questionnaire to measure TFA satisfaction and engagement factors. "As a result," said Ms. Shah, "the initiative of approaching TFAs with greater accountability was accepted with the success of the survey; it has now been established annually to evaluate and evolve their win-win relationship. For more information about the
SAI Handbook and Supplier Tiered Rating System, email SAI Director of
Corporate Programs and Training- Craig Moss, CMoss@sa-intl.org.
SAI Helps Gap Inc.'s Vendors to "Measure and Improve"
has enhanced its Social Responsibility guidelines to proactively address cases of unauthorized subcontracting. For instance, in the event a vendor or factory places production in an unapproved location, Gap Inc. will ask that the responsible party make a financial investment in a management system assessment, with a credible organization, designed to both identify areas for improvement and establish an acceptable management process to avoid future areas of non-conformance. SAI has been identified as one of the companies that can conduct this management systems assessment. Gap Inc. feels this approach will allow vendors to address areas of non conformance up-front versus encountering serious penalties, which could include termination.
Gap Inc.'s support of the "measure and improve" approach with its vendors draws on one of the most popular tools in SAI's handbook - the Supplier Tiered Rating System
. This system looks at 9 categories of indicators in assessing a supplier's capacity for social performance - not just its compliance to specific code elements, but its internal processes and systems. The system is used to rate a supplier's current performance and identify specific areas of improvement. The use of a tiered rating system encourages buyers and suppliers to openly establish a baseline measurement, then use management systems (policies and procedures) and training to help the suppliers improve their social compliance.
Gap Inc. has been a Corporate Programs
member since 2004. SAI looks forward in continuing its important work with Gap Inc.For more information about the SAI Handbook and Supplier Tiered Rating System, email SAI Director of Corporate Programs and Training- Craig Moss, CMoss@sa-intl.org.
For more information on how to become an SAI Corporate Member, click here.
A Look Inside SA8000: The Next Decade
Book excerpt: SA8000: The First Decade. Implementation, Influence, and Impact, edited by Deborah Leipziger, published by Greenleaf.
Chapter 10: NGO Accountability- Certifying Child Sponsorship Charities
"In recent years, there has been growing interest in NGO accountability and in NGOs' ability to demonstrate good governance and effective program delivery for the extremely important services provided by the voluntary sector. In 1992, the members of InterAction took it upon themselves to self-monitor their activities through a set of standards--the Private Voluntary Organization (PVO) standards-- out of a commitment to the highest possible performance.
After these PVO standards were well established, five member organizations that provide child sponsorship services undertook a pilot program [in 2004] for third-party certification of their compliance with the standards. SAI, and subsequently SAAS, partnered with these five charities and InterAction to develop criteria, protocols, training, and a certification and accreditation regime for this initiative. The five organizations--Christian Children's Fund, Children International, Plan, Save the Children, and World Vision--participated in this ground breaking project...all participant realized that certification and use of standards for guiding performance are continuous processes; the documentation and measurement enable participants to see where improvements are needed and possible and to develop, document, and track improvement."
This chapter was written by Eileen Kohl Kaufman, SAI Executive Director. For more information or to order a copy of this book, click here
UN Global Compact Advisory Group on Supply Chain Sustainability
BBC Program Featuring the Late Neil Kearney Airs
24 January, the BBC Radio Four's In Business feature "Ready to Wear
captured the moving efforts by the International Textile, Garment, and
Leather Workers Federation (ITGLWF)
and Spanish retailer Inditex
improve working conditions in Bangladesh. Deeply poignant are the
comments from the late Neil Kearney
, tracking his activities on the
last day of his life, in November 2009.
For more information about the program, and to listen, click here
Also, we continually invite you to visit SAI's tribute page to view
notes from his colleagues, to get a glimpse of his legacy from the
lives he touched: www.sa-intl.org/HonoringNeilKearney
On 26-7 January, SAI Executive Director, Eileen Kaufman
, participated in the inaugural meeting of the UN Global Compact Advisory Group on Supply Chain Sustainability
at the Telenor Group HQ, Oslo. Participants included representatives from multi-stakeholder initiatives and businesses across all industries. The objectives of this inaugural meeting were to discuss basic versus advanced approached to sustainable supply chain management, a review of project deliverable for the upcoming Leaders Summit
in June, and provide an opportunity to share best practices and discuss next steps.
The Role of Poverty and Culture in Child Labor Practices
On 27 January, SAI Program Director Judy Gearhart participated in a panel discussion about causes and forms of child labor. The discussion, "the Role of Poverty and Culture in Child Labor Practices," was organized by the Mercy Corps, at its Action Center to End World Hunger in New York. Other expert panelists came from several fields: economics, child advocacy, international law, and global development.
SAI President Visits India
In early February, SAI President Alice Tepper Marlin embarked on a two week trip throughout India, visiting stakeholders in Mumbai, Tirupur, Bangalore and New Delhi. Highlights of her trip included meeting with SAI Advisory Board members representing the Tata Council for Community Initiatives in Mumbai, and Prem Durai and Switcher in Tirupur. She also met with representatives from a variety of organizations and companies, including Solidaridad, Timberland, Tata Motors, Reliance Industries, Gap, Kotak Bank and Aditya Birla Textile and Apparel. Her trip concluded in New Delhi, where she participated in a 2-day workshop with GTZ and BSCI to discuss the development of an upcoming strategic partnership focused on scaling up Indian CSR Initiatives.OECD Workshop in Zurich to Review IFC Performance Standards
On 10 February, SAI Director of Corporate Programs and Training
, Craig Moss
, spoke at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD)
workshop in Zurich. Mr. Moss was invited to address a workshop of the environmental and social practitioners from 20 different national export credit and export funding agencies. OECD extended the speaking invitation based on the work SAI was contracted to do by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop a handbook and toolkit for improving the social compliance of the companies in which IFCs invests. The export credit agencies use the IFC's Performance Standard 2 (PS2) on labor and working conditions as a guideline. Mr. Moss' presentation, 'Measuring and Improving Performance to IFC's Performance Standard 2,' focused on pragmatic steps the export credit agencies could take to improve the labor compliance of client companies.
Consultative Workshop on Sustainability in the Indian Textile Industry On 26 February in New Delhi, SAI India Representative Badri Gulur
is participating in this consultative workshop, which will explore sustainability labeling in the Indian domestic market. The purpose of this workshop will be to examine further if Indian consumers as well as Indian businesses are ready to adopt an agenda of sustainability and take the lead in these discussions around the world. This conference is organized by Solidaridad-South and South East Asia
. Its director, Dr. Shatadru Chattopadhyay
, will set the agenda and expected outcomes of the meeting.
FLO Second Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Textiles
On 4-5 March, SAI Program Director Judy Gearhart
, will be attending the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation International (FLO) Second Multi-Stakeholder Forum
discussion in Utrecht, Netherlands. This discussion will cover the Fairtrade approach to textiles, particularly how it can contribute to improving labor conditions in the textile industry. The discussion will build on the research and consultations of FLO with Fairtrade cotton, the result of which have been articulated in the paper, "A Regard for Workers: An Options-Based Approach to Exploring Standards for Textiles in the Supply Chains for Fairtrade Certified Cotton
." The goal of this multi-stakeholder forum is to provide a content driven, strategic discussion on FLO's Option-based Approach.
Announcements & Upcoming Events
CIPE: Call for Articles on Corporate Citizenship ISEAL Impacts Code Open for Public Consultation
The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)
is launching a new portal on corporate citizenship and are accepting submissions of articles on a rolling basis. The portal will focus on the positive engagement of the private sector in the sustainable development of countries. Articles will help develop a more concrete definition of corporate social responsibility from the private sector perspective and provide ideas on specific programs that work. It will feature work of various stakeholders from economies around the world, and in particular from the private sector in developing countries.
Submissions should be between 700 and 2,000 words, longer manuscripts are also welcome. Please include a short bio note. Submissions from the private sector,
business associations, non-profit organizations, academia, and
individuals from non-OECD countries are highly encouraged.
ISEAL Alliance is leading the development of a Code of Good Practice for Assessing the Impacts of Social and Environmental Standards Systems. This Code will establish a framework for standards systems to develop monitoring and evaluation programs within their organizations, and thence to assess the impact of their work.
From 1 March 2010 until 30 April 2010 you are invited to contribute your ideas for improvement, discuss key issues, and propose changes to the code. For more details, please click here
ISEAL Alliance Releases New Standard-Setting Code
Following a year of consultations, the ISEAL Alliance
has released Version 5.0 of the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards
. This code was formally approved for use at the end of January by the ISEAL Board of Directors. The Standard-Setting Code sets the rules for legitimate and effective standard-setting processes, thereby increasing the credibility of the resulting standard. It applies to all standards that promote improvement in social and environmental practices. Compliance is an ISEAL membership requirement. SAI
are both full members
of the ISEAL Alliance.
Intertek's Ninth Annual Ethical Sourcing Forum
March 18-19 2010, New York City
The Ethical Sourcing Forum (ESF)
brings together members of the global sustainability community to address emerging sustainability and ethical supply chain challenges. Intertek reports that "...attendees will find applied innovation and the latest solutions-development processes that yield social and environmental progress while advancing core business objectives. Attendees will also learn how these decision-making elements can drive sustainability success."
SAI Advisory Board member, Amy Hall, Director of Social Consciousness at Eileen Fisher, will participate in two panels, "The Arc of Sustainability Progress: What have we achieved, where are we going and where do we need to be?," moderated by David Schilling, Program Director for Human Rights at the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility; and "New Models for Sustainable Purchasing and Factory Compliance."
Interns play an important role here at SAI and SAAS. This season we have two students, Amy Finnegan and Eliza Wright who are joining us in addition to their graduate coursework at Columbia and NYU. Both are contributing their expertise on CSR, ethical supply chains, and international development. We are pleased to welcome Amy and Eliza, and to introduce them in their own words:
Amy Finnegan I was drawn to Social Accountability International Accreditation Services (SAAS) because of my commitment to SAI's mission of Human Rights at Work. I study international development at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and am becoming increasingly aware of the role of business in our globalizing world. This semester, I am studying business practices, non-profit management, and program evaluation. Prior to coming to New York for graduate school, I worked in a factory in my hometown of 1,200 people in South Dakota. Jobs in manufacturing are highly prevalent in South Dakota and I can see first-hand the effect of dignity at work and perception of self and value to society. The manager of my small factory made us feel like our contributions were important and I empathize with those who are not fortunate to have a well-managed environment like I had.Through my work at SAAS, I am excited to be in a position to positively impact the lives of workers around the world who deserve to be treated humanely. Corporations that source their supply chains globally have an opportunity to be leaders in protecting human rights. SA8000 and SAI give factories and farms a way to demonstrate to suppliers that they respect the rights of their workers. Eliza Wright I am a Master's student at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), where my primary focus is on understanding the social complexities of human rights struggles in Latin America in the context of economic and political development. During my time at SIPA, I volunteered with a small NGO in the northern Amazon region of Peru whose mission is to protect the indigenous rights of the local Quechua-Lamas communities whose customs and ancestral lands are threatened by the exploitation of oil and timber. My coursework at SIPA has centered on human rights, CSR, and development policy issues that arise within the oil sector among other extractive industries. Most recently, I am taking a class that focuses on supply chain management in the agricultural sector in Venezuela for a multinational company. My internship with SAI is providing a wonderful space to explore all of these interests and more. I am currently working with Elena Arengo, Director of Programs in Latin America, on research ranging from minimum wage standards in Peru to freedom of association laws in El Salvador and Guatemala. My time here thus far has afforded me a priceless experience to unearth and examine human rights in my favorite region and in my favorite language-Spanish. Additionally, as a graduate from a women's college, observing so many brilliant women in roles of power at SAI has been an unexpected find and an inspiring one at that.
SAI is recruiting for the new position of Assistant Manager in the Corporate Programs and Training
to support a two-person department in the NY office. The Assistant Manager's position objective will be to support the day-to-day operations of the department. The objectives of this position are to maintain and continue to improve service quality in the training programs, and to support marketing efforts to recruit new corporate members
Preferred applications will possess extensive project management experience, with the proven ability to manage multiple projects and make decisions on how to prioritize tasks. Applicants should have a good working knowledge of CSR, social compliance standards, supply chain management and/or human resources management.
For more details about this position, please visit: www.sa-intl.org/careers
2010 Internships with SAI and SAAS
SAI and Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS) seek highly motivated interns interested in promotion of ethical workplaces worldwide for the Spring and Fall 2010 semesters.
Preferred applicants are graduate/undergraduate students that can work independently, and meet deadlines effectively. All applicants must have strong writing and research skills, and be interested in the field of human rights, corporate social responsibility, elimination of child labor and sweatshops. Internship positions are unpaid and based in SAI's New York headquarters.
For more information about internships with SAI and SAAS, please visit:
We invite you to continually send any updates for us to publish in our monthly newsletters!
Social Accountability International (SAI) is a non-governmental, multi-stakeholder organization whose mission is to advance the human rights of workers by promoting decent work conditions, labor rights, and corporate social responsibility through voluntary standards. SAI established one of the world's preeminent social standards- SA8000- a recognized benchmark among the voluntary codes and standards initiatives that companies and factories measure their performance.
SAI and the SA8000 standard focus on the human elements of the workplace and the supply chain. SA8000 is the standard that considers the importance of each job and strives to recognize the equal dignity of each person involved in the supply chain - from the worker to the retailer to the consumer. Today SA8000 certification covers over 2000 facilities in 64 countries, across 66 industries, and over 1.1 million employees. SAI is one of the world's leading social compliance training organizations, having provided training to over 15,000 people.
SAI is headquartered in the United States with representations in Brazil, China, India, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, and Vietnam.
15 West 44th Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10036
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