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Pillars in Practice Program
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-Getting Started in Your Company
-Building Your Internal Social Performance Team
Developing & Implementing Effective Social Performance Management Systems
New York, NY
Sept. 29- Oct. 3Sofia, Bulgaria
Mexico City, Mexico
October 21-25 Hamburg, Germany
SA8000 Advanced Auditor Training
San Jose, Costa Rica
October 28-30 Colombo, Sri Lanka
New Delhi, India
SA8000 Online Training
SA8000 Online Revision Course
NGOs & Trade Unions
Complimentary seats available for NGO & trade union representatives. For more information, email SAI Training Manager Stephanie Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View Photos from SAI's Training Courses
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
For newsletter inquiries contact: SAI Communications Manager Joleen Ong, email@example.com
RAGS Project to Reduce Gender Discrimination in India
This 3 year program in garment factories is a humble effort to change the lives of women and to help establish a communications platform for workers and managers
Video of Sumit Sahni, Factory Manager at Vam Hi Fashions, who explains the impact of his factory's participation in SAI's RAGS Project in their workplace: http://youtu.be/DIllIgfVTms
Since 2010, SAI's RAGS Project
to reduce gender discrimination in the Indian ready-made garment sector has operated in factories in three cities- Bangalore, New Delhi and Tirupur.
Among the significant outcomes are training many more people than targeted and changes in attitudes and understanding across the board. The significance of project impact is evident from the testimony of individuals. Stories from the factories that participated in the program convey the depth of the project's impact at the factory level, where the future career outlook for women was dramatically improved through project outcomes such as improved internal policies and gender dialogue, achieved by establishing a platform for workers and managers to communicate on sensitive issues.
During the 3 year RAGS project, SAI's team led by Rishi Sher Singh convened 22 gender discrimination workshops across three cities - training a total of 605 participants representing 201 factories surpassing the initial targets by over 50% and receiving a supplementary grant from the UK Aid's Department for International Development (DFID).
During the last week of July, SAI Senior Manager of Research & Stakeholder Relations Alex Katz and Communications Manager Joleen Ong met with key stakeholders of the RAGS Project, including Sumit Sahni, Factory Manager at Vam Hi Fashions in Gurgaon, India.
Prior to the RAGS Project, the Vam Hi Fashions workforce was approximately 24% women. Mr. Sahni commented that as a result of Vam Hi's participation in the RAGS Project, that gone up to 32%, and the company has set a target to cross 50%. It also has sought to increase the number of women across all departments. Most recently, promoting a female worker to a human resources position helped with recruitment and retention of female workers.
In the video clip above, Mr. Sahni explains the impact of factory participation in the RAGS Project, and benefits to him as a factory manager.
According to Mr. Sahni:
"...the biggest benefit as a factory manager has been the openness about gender discrimination happening in the factory which we initiated between all levels...previously [they were] not comfortable to talk. It provided us with a platform for worker interaction about worker discrimination - it's more of a teamwork effort thanks to the interventions of SAI.
The initial taboo in the factory persisted because of the view that women can't take all types of roles in garment manufacturing process...which has changed [to] where every supervisor is willing to take up women workers and train them to the next level - this is a huge platform for growth - now all supervisors are willing to accept women in the workforce...discriminatory complaints have come down because they [supervisors] feel like they can communicate with them [workers] directly.""The tragic gang rape case in 2012 galvanized the Indian community to think about the broader forms of discrimination towards women,"
said Mr. Singh. "Factories are a window to change of the society, and have the potential to reach so many workers and their families to raise awareness. While we went beyond our initial targets, there are still many more factories out there that should participate in such a program."
The project is led by Mr. Singh, with support from local trainers Mona Gupta, Deepti Mittal and SAVE (Tirupur). Over the past three years, the project worked with companies including Gap Inc., Timberland, PGC Switcher, Primark, Burburry, Triburg (buying house) to support their supplier factories.
Brazil: "Rapid Results" Approach to Worker Health & Safety
Updates from Wave 1's 30-day mark of the project's 100-day timeline
Group photo from the Brazil Worker Engagement workshop in Sao Paulo. View more photos from this training on SAI's Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/15Cfd9q
On July 17-19, SAI with the Rapid Results Institute
convened a workshop to launch Wave 2 of SAI's Worker Engagement Program
in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The program blends dynamic elements- 100-day Rapid Results change management methodologies and Labor Link mobile technology - with SAI's management systems-based approach to identify the root causes of occupational health & safety (OHS) issues and drive measurable improvement in the workplace. Special focus is given to the development of a worker-manager team, identification of an ambitious and measurable goal and developing and implementing new workplace processes.
In the 30 days after the launch of Wave 1, which convened four companies, factory facilities representing over 3,100 workers across various industries, such as electronics manufacturing to petrochemical inspection, there were several developments. Once the support of senior management had been established, each facility created a worker-manager team to address the root causes of health and safety issues, develop a specific goal to make the workplace safer and more productive, and map out a process to reach that goal in 100 days. Facilitators and coaches guide the teams to meet the goal and make process changes to sustain the improvements behind the 100 days.
At their Quarterly Review Meeting after 25 days, Wave 1's elected worker-manager team leaders reported from all four companies that participated in Wave 1 indicated that their groups had made substantive progress toward accomplishing their goal. As one team leader noted, "one of the most remarkable things about this project has been seeing the transformative effect of small changes." Another leader added, "the most important thing [about the program] has been the engagement of senior directors with workers. When we talk about collective responsibilities and benefits, people really engage with purpose on the project."
Moving forward, after the first 100 days, teams will use Social Fingerprint's "Measure and Improve" methodology to further enhance their OHS systems. Additionally, work will continue with Wave 3 scheduled to begin in September, and the progression of the recently launched Wave 2, which brings together three new companies from the home retail and construction industries.
About SAI's Brazil Worker Engagement Program: In October 2012, Social Accountability International (SAI) developed the Brazil Worker Engagement Program to help Brazilian factories improve health and safety in the workplace. The program blends dynamic elements- change management methodologies and Labor Link mobile technology - with SAI's management systems-based approach to improve workplace conditions. Disney provided the program's founding grant and other partners include the Rapid Results Institute, Good World Solutions, BSD Consulting and the Cahn Group LLC. Learn more: www.sa-intl.org/brazilworkerengagement.
Tata Steel Earns 4th SA8000 Certification
The company has demonstrated compliance to SA8000 for nearly a decade
Tata Steel achieves SA8000 certification for the fourth time in Jamshedpur, India. View a video of this ceremony on youtube: http://youtu.be/KHyJCJ530s0
.[Photo credit: DNV]
SAI is pleased to recognize Tata Steel's four-time achievement of SA8000 certification, awarded in Jamshedpur, India on August 8.
The certificate was presented by SAAS-Accredited certification body, Det Norske Veritas (DNV) to Tata Steel for demonstrating its compliance with SA8000. The company has achieved four successful cycles of SA8000 certification in 2004, 2007, 2010 and now in 2013 as SA8000 certification must be renewed every 3 years. "We go through audits every six months for SA8000 and look forward to feedback which helps us keep up with global practices and emerging trends
," said H M Nerurkar, Managing Director of Tata Steel. "Now onto the fourth certification cycle, I reaffirm Tata Steel's commitment to improving employee relations practices not just for our own workforce but also in the supply chain we are part of.
SAI Advisory Board member, Mr. Sunil Bhaskaran, Vice President (Corporate Services), Tata Steel and Management Representative for SA8000 Management Review Committee noted that "Tata Steel in the future, in compliance with all existing standards would also focus on the service areas and has already implemented feedback received out of various audits. Also, the SA8000 standard would require to be better communicated to the contractors, suppliers and vendors."
According to Mr. P N Singh, President of Tata Workers' Union, "Tata Steel achieved the certification due to the Joint Consultation and harmonious relationship between the Union and the management and such certification bestows more responsibility to perform and deliver according to the international standards. He added that Union is also taking proactive measures to popularize the best practices in work ethics, safety and welfare schemes."
Tata Steel was one of the three companies profiled in the 2009 joint case studies published by SAI and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), From Words to Action: A Business Case for Implementing Workplace Standards
. The case study focused on the development of Tata Steel's enhanced contract worker and supplier practices regarding training, pay practices, food and water provision, health and safety, procurement and contract management. Additionally, its reflections on its history and experience in implementing SA8000 were captured in SAI's February 2013 newsletter.
Pillars in Practice Project Update: Bangladesh
Interview with the CSR Centre Bangladesh on the climate for labor rights in Bangladesh
Farhana Sharmin is the Program Officer at the CSR Centre Bangladesh, an implementation partner in SAI and the Danish Institute for Human Rights' 'Pillars in Practice' (PIP) Project
. The project is centered on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In October, the Project will convene its second multi-stakeholder advisory committee meeting in Dhaka, following up on progress from the May 2013 meeting
. Since May, there have been substantial changes in Bangladesh's labor laws, in addition to the international media spotlight following the Rana Plana tragedy.
SAI Communications Manager Joleen Ong interviewed Ms. Sharmin, who reflected on the PIP meeting in May, her experience with SAI's SA8000 course and more broadly, the climate for human rights in Bangladesh:
Joleen Ong: Can you tell me about your role at the CSR center Bangladesh? Also the CSR Center's role in the Pillar in Practice course?
Farhana Sharmin: I've been at the CSR Centre for a year and a half as the Program Officer, where I'm involved in programs, research and help to organize a lot of trainings that focus on CSR to raise awareness, as well as other specific areas such as access to agriculture and gender equity.
As an implementing partner in the Pillars in Practice Program in Bangladesh, I am engaged with promoting the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights in the garment sector. A big part of the CSR Centre's role is to raise awareness across all stakeholder groups.
JO: The PIP Program's MAC meeting in Dhaka in May was quite well attended. In your opinion, what was the most interesting moment that you observed?
FS: There was a breakout session where we asked participants to prioritize the human rights issues in Bangladesh that needed more focus. The priorities that were identified were forced labor, child labor, support for vulnerable groups in the workplace, transparency in management, security and conflict, health and safety and respect for trade unions.
JO: As the meeting took place shortly after the Rana Plaza tragedy, how do you think it impacted the tone of the meeting? Was there a deeper interest in the issues expressed by participants?
FS: The timing was right to discuss the Guiding Principles - participants were really interested in this topic, and even now, this is the main thing that is a key topic of discussion. During the meeting, various groups attended such as trade unions, brands, factory owners and buying houses, and everyone spoke with each other about solutions to improve the garment industry.
A key issue that the factory owners brought up was the different buyers' code of conducts that they monitored against. They were asking - 'why can't all buyers come up with a single code of conduct?' They noted that the requirements were more or less the same, but the details varied such as where to put the fire extinguisher.
JO: What is some of the follow up that has taken place since the MAC meeting?
FS: After the MAC meeting, we have been engaged with the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association) in disseminating the Pillars in Practice Project's goals and objectives. We met with the BGMEA's President and other representatives to present and discuss with them the need for these Guiding Principles. So far, the interest has been there - it seems like right now in Bangladesh everyone wants a solution.
JO: With the recent US suspension of trade privileges in Bangladesh - how do you think it will impact the garment sector? How do you feel about it?
FS: I feel sad about it - I know that many here see it as punishment for the garment sector. But overall, I don't think it'll impact this sector because that's not where we have trade privileges. Buyers will still come to Bangladesh if there cheap products. However, we have to make sure that the human rights of workers continues to be put in the international news - this situation needs to improve.
JO: You just completed the SA8000 auditor training, how did it go? Why did you take the course, and how might some of the learnings from it be applied in your daily work?
FS: As the CSR Centre works in the ready-made garment sector, I have a deep understanding of the human rights issue. However, even though we continually speak talk and focus on workers' rights, labor rights, it is a different story to think about them in practice. SA8000 covers national law, so during the training, we went through Bangladesh labor law and cross checked everything. I feel like I have a better understanding of its implementation and areas to focus on.
KPMG Sustainable Supply Chains
SAI leads seminar on securing long term business viability through sustainable supply chains in India
From left: Yasir Ahmad, KPMG Technical Director; Rishi Sher Singh, SAI India Program Director; Santhosh Jayaram, KPMG India Technical Director - Sustainability and Climate Change
On June 17, SAI India Program Director Rishi Sher Singh led a half-day session in Gurgaon, India in partnership with KPMG - "Sustainable Supply Chains: Securing Long Term Business Viability."
The event sought to raise awareness on sustainability standards and link to regional developments for CSR and government requirements.
Mr. Singh presented on how SA8000 and its trainings and capacity building efforts can be valuable for social requirements, also how SA8000 links to local requirements. He also led a session about opportunity and challenges on adoption of social standards for large companies as well as highlighting best practices.
Most attendees were KPMG clients from a diverse group of sectors, including communications, chemicals, infrastructure, oil and gas, and steel. In the next few months, more sessions are planned for additional cities, including Mumbai, Pune and possibly Bangalore in the next few months. A white paper will be created at the end of all the sessions to capture inputs of the participants.
For more information, contact SAI India Program Director Rishi Sher Singh - firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Companies Can Implement the UN Guiding Principles for Business & Human Rights
Two-day training event demonstrates how companies can transform principles to practice
June 2011, the UN adopted the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, written by UN Special Representative John Ruggie. One of the tenets of the principles is that businesses need to respect human rights in their company and in their supply chains. But what does this mean and how is it accomplished?
The training addresses these questions with sections on:
- Content, scope and implications of the Guiding Principles
- How companies can meet their responsibility to respect human rights
- Distinguishing whether a company has caused, contributed to or is linked to adverse human rights impacts, and what actions are needed by the company as a response
- Avoiding adverse impacts in the supply chain through collaborative approaches and mutual buyer-supplier responsibility
- Key human rights risks and how to prioritize among them
- The business case for human rights
Additionally the course introduces a six-step method on how to implement a supply chain management system that integrates respect for human rights. The six steps are:
- Committing to a human rights policy
- Assessing human rights impact
- Integrating human rights in policies, procedures and responsibilities
- Tracking human rights implementation
- Communicating human rights impact
- Remediating adverse human rights impacts
The training is applicable to companies of any industry and size. It is designed for use by senior management, as well as professionals in the human resources, corporate social responsibility, compliance and sourcing departments. The training is also intended for CSR experts and consultants who train or advise companies, as well as for NGO, trade union and government representatives to learn about the implications of the Guiding Principles for their work. Trainers
The Utrecht training will be carried out by SAI Trainer Edwin Koster. Mr. Koster heads Max Value, SAI's Authorized Representative office in Europe. He has broad experience in sustainable supply chain management and is the co-author of the Handbook and Toolkit used in the Training.
To learn more about SAI and ICCO's training course and handbook on how to implement the UN Guiding Principles for Business & Human Rights, visit www.sa-intl.org/unguidingprinciples. For more information, please contact SAI Training Manager Stephanie Wilson - SWilson@sa-intl.org.
Webcast: Effective Social Compliance Management Systems
Improving Social Performance in the Global Supply Chain
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013
Time: 9 am PST | 12 pm EST Duration: 1 hour
It is increasingly clear that management systems are the key to improving social compliance in a company and in their supply chain. But what does a good social compliance management system look like?
At SAI, the belief is that a management system is "trained, committed people routinely following procedures
." It is a simple statement, but for this to happen a lot of things need to be in place: senior management commitment, written policies and procedures, training, worker-manager communication channels, monitoring and a corrective action system. In analyzing the effectiveness of a management system, it is important to look at system development and system implementation. Implementation can be challenging because it typically requires change inside the company. The company and its people need to find a new way to do something.
Join this webcast with SAI Executive Advisor Craig Moss and Sonal Sinha, Associate Vice President of Industry Solutions at MetricStream as they discuss social management systems, SAI's SA8000 standard and Social Fingerprint® tools.
Salient discussion points include:
- Adopt a management system approach to measure and improve social performance in your supply chain
- Key components of an effective social compliance management system
- Leverage SA8000 standard for creating effective social management systems
- Social Fingerprint® and system rating tools to evaluate program effectiveness
- Automate and streamline program elements of social compliance programs
Meet SAI's New Intern: Kritika Joshi
We are pleased to welcome Ms. Joshi, based in Delhi, to the team
SAI India Intern Kritika Joshi works with SAI's Alex Katz at a training in New Delhi on the impact of overtime and productivity on working conditions,
Kritika Joshi is a student of M.Sc. Environment studies and resources management at the department of natural resources, TERI University, New Delhi specializing in sustainability and corporate social responsibility. She is a Biotechnologist and has earned her Bachelor's degree from the School of Studies in Zoology and Biotechnology, Vikram University, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Hailing from rural and urban background, she has observed the changing status of women in different societal contexts. "Watching women turning into an object for a predominant section of society has invoked me to act to situation, not just to react to it. It was always difficult for me to understand that how a women's life is being governed by everyone else, rather than herself in our society, leading to a men-biased mindset in the work-culture. These face-offs with the situations pertaining to women existing around me led me into women's empowerment. Making women self-aware of their strong presence has become important to me."
As a specialist in sustainability, she will be working on sustainable business strategies and integrated impact assessment with the department of natural resources and department of business sustainability of TERI University. "I hope to use business sustainability as an impactful tool to imbibe work-culture with gender equality, positive mindsets and mutual respect."
Highlights & Announcements
SAI Communications Manager Joleen Ong during the question portion of a 'social media for NGOs' workshop in Faridabad, India.
On August 10, SAI Communications Manager Joleen Ong led a two-hour workshop in Faridabad, India at the South Asian Fundraising Group's (SAFRG) 24th Annual Conference. Ms. Ong spoke about how NGOs can integrate social media tools to increase visibility and support fundraising efforts. The audience included over 20 representatives from global NGOs, including people from India, the Philippines, Thailand, US and the UK. Learn more at http://bit.ly/15Cqvuu
.'The Five Excuses Marketeers Use for Failing to Promote Sustainability'
White Paper: The 2013 CXO Study Sustainability and the C-Suite
SAI Advisory Board member Tensie Whelan, President of the Rainforest Alliance, wrote a guest article in the Guardian's Sustainable Business Blog about how many US companies are increasing their sustainability, but are reluctant to promote their efforts. Read it @http://bit.ly/16lRctJ
.GoodWeave's Child-Labor-Free Rug Certification - A Step in the Right DirectionInteresting article in the Guardian about GoodWeave's product certification in the handmade rug industry, which has helped to raise awareness of child labour and expose malpractice. Read it @bit.ly/16QkbCg
In July 2013, SAI Authorized Representative Newport Consulting Group released this white paper, which examines the leadership engagement, influence, motivations and engagement tools of C-suite executives. Read it @http://bit.ly/19s2xdY