Social Accountability International (SAI) is a non-profit, multi-stakeholder organization established to advance the human rights of workers by promoting decent work conditions, labor rights, and corporate social responsibility through voluntary standards and capacity building.
SAI is headquartered in the United States with field representation in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, India, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Philippines, Switzerland, and UAE.
SAI- Human Rights at Work
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SAI Communications Manager
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|SAI Awarded U.S. State Dept. Grant for 'Pillars in Practice' Program
This innovative new program will activate a strategic partnership with the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) to advance the UN Guiding Principles in Bangladesh, Nicaragua & Zimbabwe
SAI's shared vision is the realization of decent work everywhere - sustained by a widespread understanding that decent work can secure basic human rights while benefiting business. Under this new program, SAI will leverage its 15 years of experience advancing human rights at work to advance the UN's "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework designed to help companies, governments and communities manage human rights challenges in a fair and sustainable way.
The 'Pillars in Practice' Program of SAI and DIHR will build the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) in Bangladesh, Nicaragua and Zimbabwe, to engage with and train on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (GPs). The main goal of the program is to activate a strategic alliance by establishing the training capacity of CSO partners in each of the three countries to sustainably promote and assist in the implementation of the GPs by local and multi-national companies, government agencies and other local CSOs.
This program targets three industrial sectors over an 18 month period: agriculture in Nicaragua, garment manufacturing in Bangladesh, and mining in Zimbabwe. The activities will be implemented by a consortium of international and local CSOs, including a strong team of international partners: Social Accountability International (SAI), the Danish Institute for Human Rights
(Denmark), PASE - Professional for Corporate and Social Auditing (Nicaragua), the CSR Centre
(Bangladesh) and the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association
(Zimbabwe). PASE was a local partner in SAI's four-year 'Project Cultivar
,' to improve labor standards compliance in the CAFTA-DR agricultural sector.
To meet its goal, the program has six key objectives: 1) customization of training materials; 2) training of trainers; 3) implementation of GPs; 4) generation of multi-stakeholder dialogues; 5) publication of three case studies on the GPs in action; and 6) knowledge sharing with the UN working group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
"The program is a culmination of all the partners' collective strengths and expertise," said SAI President Alice Tepper Marlin. "We are delighted by this opportunity to work with such a diverse team of highly respected civil society organizations to help implement the U.N. Guiding Principles. It is important that steps are taken to ensure that these principles reach their intended vision through effective implementation."
Finalized in March 2011 by UN Special Representative John Ruggie, the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are intended to help operationalize the UN "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework. In November 2011, SAI and ICCO partnered to assist in this transformation from principles to practice by developing a Handbook and supplemental training seminars that help companies address questions concerning interpretation, scope, and practical integration. The handbook was released July 2012. The first training course in the Netherlands took place 17-18 September, to be followed by Bangalore, India (November 27-28) and Brazil (TBC).
Special thanks to SAI Development Manager Eliza Wright and DIHR's Human Rights & Business Advisor Paloma Muñoz Quick for conceptualizing and coordinating the development of this program.
Forced & Child Labor in Uzbekistan Cotton Industry
SAI joins the global movement to eliminate forced and child labor in Uzbekistan's cotton fields
In Uzbekistan, one of the largest exporters of cotton in the world, the government forcibly mobilizes over one million children, teachers, public servants and employees of private businesses for the manual harvesting of cotton each year to meet the government's quota. These individuals perform intense manual labor, under hazardous and unhealthy working conditions. This state-controlled system of forced labor is enforced by threats of expulsion, loss of employment, pensions and child benefits despite the hazardous nature of the work. Additionally, the provincial government offices order schoolteachers to close schools and work in the cotton fields to enforce quotas.
The Uzbek-government's forced and child labor system violates the human rights of Uzbek citizens and condemns future generations to a cycle of poverty. The practice violates Uzbek labor laws and fundamental international labor and human rights conventions ratified by the Uzbek government that are included in the SA8000® standard for decent work.
SA8000 - Child Labor & Forced Labor
SAI deplores forced or child labor in the supply chain; SAI's purpose is to promote decent work- human rights at work. Specifically, the systemic use of forced and child labor in Uzbekistan is a gross violation of the delineation of these human rights in the SA8000 Standard.
As a standard based on ILO Conventions, SA8000 provisions include: prohibition of forced labor - including restrictions on movement with threat of loss of wages or work: prohibition of contracting practices that deny legally-required benefits to workers; requirements for payment of living wage; and requirements for respect of workers' freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. It prohibits child labor - including restrictions against the use or support of child labor; employer requirements to establish, document, maintain and effectively communicate to personnel; adequate remediation to enable any children found working in violation of SA8000 to remain in school; and that children are not exposed to situations in or outside of the workplace that are hazardous, unsafe or unhealthy.
Global Efforts to Eliminate Forced & Child Labor in Uzbek Cotton
For buyer and supplier companies, SAI calls for increased efforts towards transparency and increased traceability of its raw materials. Already, SAI Corporate Program members including Gap Inc., EILEEN FISHER, Gucci, Disney and Carrefour, have made pledges against buying cotton sourced from forced labor operations/undertakings in Uzbekistan.
SAI also strongly supports the global efforts of diverse organizations to end state-sponsored forced labor of children and adults in the cotton sector of Uzbekistan. The Cotton Campaign calls on companies to ensure that Uzbek cotton does not enter any part of the supply chain until the practice of forced labor is ended, by ceasing business with companies using Uzbek cotton and increasing full supply chain transparency. The Cotton Campaign outlines steps for companies to take, starting with signing the Company Pledge, which is overseen by the Responsible Sourcing Network. Over 75 brands and retailers have signed on to the Cotton Pledge. See the full list of pledge signatories at @sourcingnetwork.org/the-cotton-pledge.
For more information, check out the following campaigns:
Cotton Campaign: www.cottoncampaign.org
Responsible Sourcing Network: www.sourcingnetwork.org
New Corporate Member: Tex Line Associates Pte Ltd
The Singapore-based apparel sourcing agent commits to SAI's Corporate Programs at the Signatory level
SAI is pleased to welcome Tex Line Associates Pte. Ltd. (Tex Line) to its Corporate Programs. Tex Line has joined at the Signatory level - demonstrating the highest commitment to labor standards compliance and continual improvement throughout its supply chains.
As a Corporate Programs member, Tex Line commits to SAI's Statement of Shared Mission to improve working conditions in its supply chain, in accordance with performance criteria based on relevant ILO conventions and national law, utilizing management systems and multi-stakeholder dialogue. As part of the membership services, SAI will first conduct a Social Fingerprint® evaluation of Tex Line headquarters and benchmark its supply chain management program. SAI will then work with them to set the priorities for the following year.
"We are happy to embrace SAI shared mission as we believe in the true value of SAI Corporate Programs," said Michael Koh, Managing Director of Tex Line." "We look forward to elevating our business supply chain service to a higher level with the program and sharing the vision with our business partners. It is certainly a great new step for Tex Line."
"It is great news to be working with Tex Line," said SAI Director of Corporate Programs and Training Craig Moss. "As an apparel sourcing agent in Singapore, it offers tremendous potential to make a positive impact throughout their supply chains by raising the bar for social compliance."
Tex Line is an apparel sourcing agent based in Singapore, with offices all over Asia and Europe. Its estimated annual revenue as a Group is USD 500 million, and it works with over 200 active suppliers. Tex Line's membership is aligned with its business ethics and corporate social responsibility priorities, and the company has a longstanding relationship with SAI.
At a national level in Singapore, Tex Line has been recognized for its entrepreneurial approach to business. In 2001, Tex Line was ranked by the Economic Development Board as the 5th most enterprising company in Singapore. In 2002, its Managing Director Michael Koh was named as one of the top ten entrepreneurs of the year.
>>Learn more about SAI Corporate Program member commitments. For inquiries, please contact SAI Senior Manager Jane Hwang - JHwang@sa-intl.org. For more information about Tex Line, visit www.texline.com/sg.
Supplementary Award for RAGS Project to Benefit Suppliers
Increased support from UK aid will offer more training in India for supplier factories in the apparel sector
SAI is pleased to announce that its RAGS (Responsible and Accountable Garment Sector) Project in India has received a supplementary award from UK aid from the UK Government. This support is important for increasing opportunities for more supplier factories to participate in the program through subsidizing training costs.
"Over the past year, we've experienced positive feedback from suppliers about their desire to participate, but lacked the means to cover the training costs," said SAI India Project Director Rishi Sher Singh. "Through this supplemental award, we are able to eliminate barriers to participation by making training more affordable to supplier factories."
In November 2011, SAI convened MAC dialogues on gender discrimination in Tirupur and New Delhi, engaging key stakeholders - NGOs, trade unions, companies, factory managers. The three key activities of the project are to build local capacity through 'training of trainers,' convene multi-stakeholder advisory committee (MAC) dialogues on gender discrimination, and strengthen local audit capacity to ensure ongoing compliance.
In November 2011, SAI convened MAC dialogues on gender discrimination in Tirupur and New Delhi, engaging key stakeholders - NGOs, trade unions, companies, factory managers. The MAC dialogues focused on stakeholders' experiences and challenges in the garment sector and gender discrimination. In 2012 and 2013, the RAGS project will carry out training for supplier factories with curricula that integrates the findings from the MAC dialogues.
Registration is now open - learn more at www.sa-intl.org/indiarags and contact SAI India Project Director Rishi Sher Singh - Rishi@sa-intl.org.
Corporate Member Spotlight: Gucci
The Florentine company promotes its commitment to sustainability, starting from its local roots
As an SAI Corporate Member since 2007, Gucci has demonstrated a deep commitment to making sustainability a key element of its mission. This article specifically reports on several actions since late 2011.
December 2011: Gucci credits its success in part to its roots in Italy, and this has encouraged the company to "be on the front lines in safeguarding the value lent by Italian craftsmanship and manufacturing." One of the ways to achieve this is through promoting social responsibility throughout the supply chain. Gucci partnered with the Confindustria (Employers' Federation) of Florence to support the creation of three business networks in December 2011- P.re.Gi, Almax and F.a.i.r. - specializing in small leather goods, bags and luggage.
These new groups were formed to help make the manufacturing framework more competitive by stimulating innovation and the local economy. They will take action in a variety of areas, including the following:
- coordinating business activities that impact the manufacturing process
- joint investments in technological and organizational innovation
- ensuring that high standards of quality and safety are met by all
- improving credit quality and coordinating efforts to strengthen financial standing and grow the business in general
- coordinating more structured joint training programs
As a result, network companies will have the opportunity to benefit from shared knowledge and participate in joint programs that can be monitored and overseen, yet they will maintain control of their own businesses-a key factor for small and medium-sized Italian businesses.
At the Rio+20 summit in Brazil last June, Gucci participated in the panel, "Changing the World Through Fashion" organized by the Nordic Fashion Association (NFA); previously it had also worked with NFA at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit. During both events, Gucci was part of an international discussion of the impact that the fashion business can have on sustainable development. NFA coordinates the Nordic Initiative Clean and Ethical Project (NICE).
In addition, Gucci has created a new logo to highlight its commitment to sustainability initiatives (see image, above).
"A logo represents an identity, a group of values. We decided it was right from now on to signal our commitment in this area with a dedicated logo," said Patrizio di Marco, President and CEO of Gucci. "These are values that have always been part of the company's DNA and that we've been focusing on increasingly in recent years by implementing wide-ranging social and environmental sustainability policies. Gucci has always been a world leader in the luxury goods business and is a name synonymous with exclusivity, tradition and authenticity. We are proud of our products, the creativity that goes into them, their excellent quality and Italian craftsmanship and manufacturing. But above all, we are proud of the sense of responsibility exhibited by all the people who work for this brand, who make it truly unique."
India: Transforming the UN Guiding Principles into Business Practice
SAI & ICCO to convene a two-day training event in Bangalore to help businesses implement the UN Guiding Principles in their company and supply chain
In June 2011, the UNHRC adopted the UN Guiding Principles (GPs) on Business & Human Rights, developed by UN Special Representative John Ruggie. These groundbreaking principles seek to ensure that businesses respect human rights. The challenge now is in their implementation.
In response SAI started a new a new training course centered on its recent Handbook & Toolkit. Register now for the next training in Bangalore, India on November 27-28, 2012. The first training took place in Utrecht, the Netherlands, September 17-18.
This exercise-driven two-day course will help your company utilize the Handbook & put the UN GPs into practice. It addresses questions concerning:
- Scope of the UN GPs
- Difficulties & challenges with implementing the GPs
The course will introduce you to a six-step method on how to implement a supply chain management system that integrates human rights. The six steps are:
1. Committing to a human rights policy
2. Assessing human rights impact
3. Integrating human rights in policies, procedures and responsibilities
4. Tracking human rights implementation
5. Communicating human rights impact
6. Remediating adverse human rights impacts
After completing the training, attendees will have a good understanding of the implications and opportunities of the GPs for business. Moreover they will be able to translate these GPs into their daily practice through the 6-step approach of the training and the practical formats, tools, cases and exercises that have been made available. All attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the Handbook & Toolkit as well as a certificate of attendance.
Expected Participants: The Training is applicable to any size company in any industry. It is designed for use by senior management as well as professionals in the human resources, corporate social responsibility, compliance and sourcing departments. In addition, the Training is also intended for factory managers, CSR experts and consultants who train or advise companies, as well as for NGO and trade union representatives to learn about the implications of the GPs for their work.
Trainers: The training will be given by Rishi Singh, SAI India Project Director and Edwin Koster, SAI´s European Representative. Both have broad experience in sustainable supply chain management. Mr. Koster is the co-author of the Handbook and Toolkit used in the Training.
Register now @sa-intl.org/UNGuidingPrinciplesCourse. For inquiries, please contact SAI Training Manager Stephanie Wilson at email@example.com.
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On August 22, SAI and RJC convened a joint training seminar in Mumbai for companies on compliance to the RJC Code of Conduct. The seminar focused on how to implement management systems to better meet the RJC Code of Practices and other leading industry codes.
SAI Lead Trainer Badri Gulur led the seminar. Mr. Gulur noted that, "in the diamond and jewelry sector, the key concerns that continue to persist are overtime, contract work, and transparency - including means to eradicate bribery, corruption, and money laundering."
The seminar was the second installment of SAI & RJC training in Mumbai, the first session was in April 2012. These sessions are a part of SAI & RJC's partnership agreement, signed in June 2011. Please stay tuned for future joint events.
For more information about SAI's Training Programs, please contact SAI Training Coordinator Stephanie Wilson - SWilson@sa-intl.org.
SAI Teams Grows in NYC: Alan Spaulding
SAI is pleased to welcome Alan Spaulding as Senior Manager, Stakeholder Relations & Research
After a 34 year career in the US and global labor movements and service on the SAI Advisory Board from 2005 to 2012, Mr. Spaulding joins SAI as its new Senior Manager, Stakeholder Relations and Research. In this position, Mr. Spaulding will oversee SAI's stakeholder engagement, including the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee work in India, China, and other countries.
A key role will be to ensure that SAI benefits from the insight of organizations, businesses, and governments whose activities play important roles in the lives and livelihoods of workers. Other important aspects of his work will include overseeing the implementation and updating of SAI's SA8000 standard, enrolling new corporate members in SAI's Corporate Programs, and working to strengthen the implementation of the SA8000 standard and SAI.
Mr. Spaulding served as Director of Global Strategies for the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union from 2005-2012, during which time he also served as president of UNI Commerce Global Union and vice president of the International Union of Food Workers, two important global union federations headquartered in Switzerland. Prior to that, he served in various capacities in the organizing and international affairs departments of the UFCW, where he pioneered the union's original web site in 1995 and developed innovative shareholder strategies in the early 1980s. In addition, he was a member of the Advisory Board of the U.S. NGO US/LEAP from 1998-2010.
Mr. Spaulding holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Maine in his home state, pursued graduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and received a master's degree in Labor Relations from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
|Snapshot: SA8000 Training in Istanbul
Participants from the SA8000 Basic Auditor training course in Istanbul, Turkey: [standing, clockwise from top left] Maria Morell Camacho, Inditex; Javier Diaz, Inditex; Marketa Kallmunzerova, Bureau Veritas; Kawtar Hammouchi, SGS; Felicity Kolp, IFC; Eva Carolina Hovik, Varner Retail AS; Kaisa Vainikka, UPM-Kymmene Oyj; Begum Metin, SGS; Daniel Wanjama; Kaufland Warenhandel GmbH & Co. KG; Fleur Meerman, HEMA; Gokhan Erdinc, Independent; Emil Kozhuharov, LRQA; Atilla Cilesiz, Independent; Murat Akkun, Inditex; Begum Tute, Inditex; Pascal Denoize, UL; Murat Bingol, Independent; Murat Akcay, SGS; Altan Kolatar, Independent; Aleyda Carillo, UTZ Certified; Sanjiv Singh, SAI; Bogdan Kerekes, UL; Haricleea Spaler, Trust Human Capital. [Photo credit: Sanjiv Singh]
On September 3-7 SAI convened a Basic SA8000 Auditor Training course in Istanbul, Turkey. The course was attended by 22 participants, who represented NGOs, companies, certification bodies and inter-govermental agencies. The course was led by SAI Lead Trainer, Sanjiv Singh, and hosted by SGS. For more photos, check out SAI's Facebook page @on.fb.me/ONW7aG.
SAI training courses are designed to encourage proficiency in social compliance issues and emphasize the implementation of management systems. Learn about a management-system approach to social compliance auditing and supply chain management. These courses are required for all SA8000® and BSCI auditors, and are just as valuable to internal auditors, buyers, managers and workers for auditing to any labor code or standard. The courses are open to all. Complimentary places are available for NGO and trade union participants.
For more information, contact SAI Training Coordinator, Stephanie Wilson at SWilson@sa-intl.org
Highlights & Announcements
Participants at the SA8000 Advanced Auditor Training course in Hanoi, Vietnam, led by SAI Lead Trainer Badri Gulur [top, third from left]. Photo credit: Badri Gulur
The GRI invites feedback on its final G4 guidelines, specifically on five main areas of the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. Deadline September 25. Read the G4 Exposure Draft @bit.ly/OBcITc and register on the GRI Consultation Platform @bit.ly/Q00Fyj.
On September 12, SAI's implementation partner RRI was featured in the opinion article - 'Teaming Up Against Homelessness
' which featured its 100-day strategy. This approach is integrated in SAI's Social Fingerprint course - 'Building an Internal Social Performance Team.' Read the article @nyti.ms/OBc8F8