NGOs & Trade Unions
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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, Philippines, Switzerland, and UAE.
SAI- Human Rights at Work
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TenSquared is up for the GSC 3S People's Choice Award
We have exciting news! SAI and Rapid Result Institute's TenSquared Program is up for the GSC 3S People's Choice Award! The People's Choice Award will be attributed to the entry that accumulates the most votes by August 25th. Please vote by clicking the below button and selecting "Rapid Results Institute/ Social Accountability International."
We need YOUR vote and thank you for your support!
"The GSC 3S Awards program honors best "green" practices in global sourcing, as implemented by companies, corporations and individuals supporting global sustainable development, social responsibility, ethical and ecological business practices and the general idea of giving back to the local community." The 3S Employee Engagement Award is aimed at businesses/organisations that empower their employees towards 3S actions. This includes, but is not limited to, engaging employees in sustainable and socially responsible practices through the company/various groups and providing tools for employees (educational/vocational). Here is the website for any further information:
One vote is allowed per person. An attempt to vote twice will void both. Thanks for your support and stay tuned!
Update on TenSquared in Turkey
100-Day Projects Completed
Team! Goal! Process! Chanting these TenSquared principles, the first nine worker-manager teams in our TenSquared: Turkey worker engagement program have completed their 100-day TenSquared projects, and the results are exciting and inspiring. These teams have worked hard over the last 100 days to reach "unreasonable but believable" goals, making ambitious, measureable, sustainable changes in their workplaces. The teams hail from a wide range of companies in diverse industries. Open application and participation is made possible through the generous support of the Walt Disney Company's Supply Chain Investment Program.
Examples of the teams' results:
- 70% reduction in high-level electric fire risk
- 70% reduction of limb trauma accidents
- 500% increase in gas leak identification calls (previously 0% of workers reported gas leaks, leading to significant H & S risks and loss of money)
- Elimination of slip and fall accidents
- 25% reduction in time for complete evacuation of factory in fire emergencies and increased emergency preparedness
Along with the tangible results listed above, this program also strengthens the relationship and communication channels between workers and managers.
Below are some quotes from our worker-manager teams in Turkey.
"Both workers and managers are responsible for solving this problem [Emergency Preparedness and Response). Workers and managers are on the same level, we are on the same side and the same team so we will continue to freely share our ideas"
"One day a worker wanted to talk to us [TenSquared team] individually. He wanted to thank us for our efforts during the project and told us that for the first time he was asked for his opinion in the workplace. This was a big lesson for us as a team - we asked ourselves "Why have we waited until today to be asking workers for their input?"
"Not only did we change the perspectives of our colleagues about the importance of identifying and reporting gas leaks, and training them how to do so - we also established a communication and dialogue process between management and workers."
TenSquared is a joint initiative between Social Accountability International (SAI) and the Rapid Results Institute (RRI) that focuses on improving health and safety standards by engaging workers and managers and unleashing innovation. By bringing together workers and managers to identify challenge areas and create tangible goals to be achieved within a 100-day timeline, the TenSquared method has proven to help participating facilities quickly and effectively improve labor conditions. In Turkey, SAI and RRI have partnered with the AKUT Institute to run this project.
As the first two waves of nine teams attained their goals in July, we launched Wave 3 in Istanbul with 5 companies. This wave includes facilities from the electronics, elevator, fruit juice, and textile industries. Worker-manager teams identified goals in Emergency Preparedness & Evacuation, Ergonomics, Accident Prevention and Fire Prevention challenge areas.
Wave 4 is scheduled to launch in October, Wave 5 in December and Wave 6 in January. If you are interested in participating in this groundbreaking program, please contact SAI Senior Program Manager, Stephanie Wilson at
Experience with SA8000 Certification
SAI spoke with Forbo Flooring HR Director, Joost Dirkx, about Forbo Flooring's experience with their SA8000 certified facilities. Currently, Forbo Flooring Systems has 10 factories across Europe, with about 2,000 workers.
1. Can you tell us a bit about Forbo Flooring Systems and how you first came to think about responsibility in your sourcing?
Forbo Flooring Systems originates from 1928 and today is a world leader in high quality, commercial floor coverings. We provide our customers with sustainable flooring solutions with our main products such as linoleum, which is the most sustainable flooring covering in the world. Flooring Systems is committed to sustainability and "creating better environments" for not only the environment, but to shareholders, customers and other stakeholders like workers in their supply chain. We have implemented SA8000 standard for our social dimensional sustainability and integrated it as part of our management system.
We have always been committed to sustainability and focus not only on the environment but we have also extended this to the human aspect of sustainability. Many of Forbo's production workers were a bit surprised when they found out that SA8000 was being implemented and were not sure why this was being done initially because there are already compliance laws. However, SA8000 moved this idea towards suppliers. When this news was spread, people understood and agreed this was the right thing to do. Forbo Flooring Systems has always been committed to sustainability and everyone expects us to do the right thing.
2. On your website, it stated that all Forbo Flooring Systems' products sold in the UK, with the exception of Colorex, are manufactured in a SA8000 certified facility. Can you speak more to this?
Yes, and actually not only is this the case in the UK, but also for Netherlands and France. Our factories became SA8000 certificated in France in 2012, and gradually expanded to the Netherlands earlier this year.
3. What are some of the positive changes you have seen since in facilities becoming a SA8000 certified? What are some of the biggest challenges of social compliance in this industry? Any specific difficulties you faced when trying to achieve compliance?
We tried to leverage what we learned in France to achieve certification and extend it to other places. Most of our changes were primarily concentrated on our purchasing policy, as it was done on a global level. When we pursued certification for France, we changed our purchasing policy to include SA8000 criteria and required the supplier side to commit as well. There were no significant changes on our production process in the UK and Netherlands but overall, communication of the standard to our suppliers was the hardest and most critical part we had to focus on and to convincing them. We continue to make continuous improvements.
4. Were there any specific methods of communication regarding the standard that you found to work or not work?
We had different methods of communication: specifically towards our employees and then specifically to suppliers. For example, we developed an e-learning course that was translated into local language for all of our employees. In terms of our external communications, we used the abridged guidance document of SA8000 and gave it directly to them during conversation. We also gave a short PowerPoint presentation on SA8000 and our purchasing documentation. We were a bit surprised that there are not many standard eLearning trainings available on the market. We developed an employee e-learning course to teach our employees about the standard, which 80% of all relevant employees have completed. We have received many positive comments and found this to be a very effective way of communication. Of course, this is only one way. We also used flyers, brochures, posters, etc.
5. Would you recommend implementing SA8000 to other businesses? Why?
Absolutely. SA8000 is an accredited standard and it is well known within certain types of industry and with newer types of industry such as building and construction-it fits our needs extremely well. The SA8000 standard certification is a nice addition to the rest of the management systems we have related to the environment such ISO 14001 and Health and Safety through OHSAS 18001 and other standards. We understand that the auditing process takes quite some resources. For the future we would expect a combined standard for more efficiency.
We also believe that SA8000 gives us a competitive advantage for customers. We do have some customers that really appreciate our work towards sustainability and that range of customers is expanding. We also assume we get more business because of the standard. More and more customers are looking for sustainable options and respectable suppliers. It's not only the right thing to do, but it helps our business.
6. How did you hear about SA8000?
I think it goes back more than 5 years ago. At that time, we were looking at different standards and came across SA8000. We started using SA8000 as early as 2010.
7. Anything else you want people to know about Forbo Flooring Systems?
Forbo Flooring Systems has always been committed to creating better environments, committed to the health of their own employees, the health of workers in the supply chain, and toward customers. It's just something we value highly but sometimes are too modest to tell everyone. SA8000 accreditation can help spread the word on sustainability and help tell the world how committed we are.
UN Guiding Principles Course Through the Eyes of a Social Auditor
Danuta Kedzierska shares her takeaways from the course
For the past three years, SAI has conducted a course on the UN Guiding Principles, focused on exposing various stakeholders to the principles and illuminating how companies can promote human rights throughout their business practices.
One participant in the most recent UNGP course was Danuta Kedzierska, a social auditor and product manager at TUV Rheinland in Poland. Before attending SAI's recent UNGP course in Copenhagen, Danuta felt slightly apprehensive, since she was the only auditor attending the course and wondered whether the course would be relevant. However, Danuta left the course satisfied with her greater understanding of the different perspectives, challenges, and strategies related to implementing human rights.
Here are Danuta Kedzierska's biggest takeaways from the course:
1. Stakeholders share a common goal
For Ms. Kedzierska, the most valuable part of the course was discussing human rights implementation with representatives from brands, governments, and NGOs. Each had a different understanding of human rights, and faced different challenges in implementing those rights. By interacting with so many stakeholders, Danuta came to understand her own role as an auditor more fully.
Reflecting on the experience, Ms. Kedzierska says, "It is easy to blame one particular group when human rights are violated. Maybe the auditor is blamed for doing a bad audit, or the buyer is blamed for contracting work without respecting human rights. During this course I realized that ultimately everyone has the same goal; everyone wants to solve the problem [of human rights violations]. Instead of finding someone to blame, try to understand what is going on. Everyone is looking for solutions and best practices, and for how to assess our impact, which is global. Risks vary from country to country, region to region, and industry to industry."
2. The UNGP course is especially useful for auditors
Ms. Kedzierska feels that the course is particularly useful to auditors, because it broadens their perspective. "We perceive the world through our education, experience, and background," all of which can be expanded by attending the UNGP course. This is important, because auditors can become focused on one aspect of auditing in which they excel, and they might neglect other important components of social auditing. "This course will open their eyes to the fact that your specific skill is attached to something bigger. You must remember that human rights have equal status; no one human right is more important than the other."
For instance, social auditing is often focused primarily on health and safety. However, health and safety is only one small piece of the puzzle. If auditors do not keep the bigger picture in mind, they will lose valuable information.
3. More training will increase awareness
Besides the UNGP course, Danuta feels auditors would benefit from other professional development courses and webinars developed by SAI. She says, "Any training is like being in a laboratory, where you receive tools. Then, you have to go into the field and use those tools from the laboratory to achieve your goal. The more experience you have, the more you begin to develop your own tools. You also become interested in how other people have developed these skills." That is why it is important to keep attending different trainings, and why SAI's professional development webinar series is also extremely valuable.
In terms of content, Danuta feels auditors would greatly benefit from more courses about auditing small and medium companies, auditing discrimination, and assessing workers' participation in management. Many of these topics are more difficult to assess than health and safety.
Within Poland, Danuta perceives that there is a lack of awareness regarding the UN Guiding Principles as they relate to business. This leads to misunderstandings about what human rights are. Consumer awareness is also relatively low, but slowly increasing if more people attend trainings and are educated regarding human rights at work, then awareness will increase. Danuta personally would like to see more auditors attend the UNGP course, as well as worker representatives.
In a final reflection, Danuta says, "Everyone wants to do the best job that they can at work. However, for a variety of reasons, such as lack of knowledge or resources, they are unable to. It's easy to blame someone else for not doing good work, but we need to understand why the work was not performed the way we expected it to be performed. As auditors we're encouraged to develop our skillsets." One way to do so is through trainings, where auditors can to listen to various stakeholders, and, like Danuta, may realize that "everyone really wants to solve the problem, and is open for cooperation. Instead of blaming, the only way to really solve the problem is through cooperation and building alliances."
View SAI's UNGP Training Course Schedule here.
An Intern's Reflection of a Summer at SAI
Graduate Student Maggie Gabos
University of Pittsburg GSPIA Graduate Student, Maggie Gabos, gave us her feedback about her time interning at SAI this summer.
1. Did you have a favorite project this summer? What was the project you worked on?
I spent the summer working on projects for both Corporate Programs and SA8000, along with a few specific research assignments from Jane. One of my favorite projects was helping to develop the framework for an impact evaluation of the SA8000 standard. It was great to be given responsibility for such an important project and I learned valuable information about what goes into shaping these studies. I think it is a crucial move in forming support for the field of social responsibility and I am so excited to see it come to fruition in the future! Additionally, I enjoyed observing our Social Fingerprint® licensee/vendor assessment program, which provided me a deeper understanding of just how complex supply chains really are.
2. How has interning at SAI influenced your career path planning?
Interning with SAI this summer has reinforced my desire to do human rights work because I could witness and be a part of the tangible and positive impact this work has on the world. I felt like I was doing work with meaning and in a way that could engage multiple parts of the equation. Interning with SAI has been immensely educational and only strengthened my desire to look for positions in social responsibility and ethical sourcing after graduation next spring.
3. In what way have you changed as a result of this experience?
I have definitely expanded my knowledge of social responsibility and its intricacies throughout this internship. My eyes have been opened as to just how difficult it is to do this work because of our international trade system and supplier norms. It is incredibly complex and takes constant effort and oversight to secure human rights for laborers. This internship has helped me realize just how much work goes in to achieving SAI's mission.
I feel more empowered to do this kind of work because of the positive reinforcement and guidance from various members of the staff. It was great to be given real work and feel like I successfully accomplished something, which only reinforces my desire to do this work upon graduation. I also enjoyed learning about all of the different backgrounds of our staff and various approaches to this kind of work. I have realized how dynamic social responsibility can be.
|SAI and SAAS staff with summer interns from left to right: Caroline Lewis, Simone Liano, Tess Bone, Jane Hwang, Tracie Ninh, Tasneem Ahmed, Caroline Lewis' two children, Maggie Gabos, Nicole Platt, Alicia Mara, Sanam Shetty, Rochelle Zaid
4. Briefly describe what you consider to be your most significant lessons learned during this internship.
I have realized the potential for innovation within this field, especially on the corporate side. Our brown bag lunch with Amy Hall of Eileen Fisher was inspiring in regard to realizing how strong of an impact corporations can have by prioritizing the well-being of their workers while remaining a successful company. I appreciate the way they acknowledge their progress, as well as the work they have left to do. And all of their unique approaches to doing it, such as using sustainable fibers and dyes, investing in workers from the areas which they source, and taking on the immense task of mapping their supply chain. I would love to instill and be a part of a similar mentality wherever I eventually work. I think realizing the potential for innovation in this field was my most important lesson because I can see that there is so much more work to be done and in all different ways. I would love to contribute to inventive advancements to this field.
Another lesson I learned was that SAI is not alone in striving for social compliance. There is so much support for this work, even from unexpected sources like corporate executives. It was great encouragement to keep pursuing this path and pushing for social responsibility despite what road blocks are expected or encountered along the way.
5. Do you feel better prepared to enter the world of work after this internship?
I absolutely feel better prepared to enter the world of work after this internship- I am ready to be a grad school dropout and never leave the SAI offices! Going forward, I feel more equipped to understand these intricate problems and propose solutions in the form of tangible goals. It has been great to see the duality between teamwork and leadership in the SAI office and I would be fortunate to end up in a similar environment. I feel lucky to have been a part of the work here and I really feel prepared to become a valuable member of this field.
6. Would you recommend our internship to others? Why/why not? What would be your advice to future interns?
In case you couldn't already tell.... YES! I would absolutely recommend SAI to anyone interested in doing social compliance work because our organization will provide them with valuable experience and professional education on how to accomplish your goals within social responsibility. The open and supportive environment of SAI is very encouraging in realizing your potential. We have been provided several opportunities to learn from and connect with influential people in this field. It is refreshing to work with people whom are passionate about the work they do and has also expanded my own knowledge by being able to freely discuss a variety of issues surrounding social compliance with them. It is a positive and energized working environment which only enhances your drive!
For more information about SAI's internships please view our website page
Request a SAI Training Course in your City
Fill out this Form to Arrange a Training
Last month, SAI announced the release of our updated 5-Day Basic Auditor Training course. The updated course now takes a Modular Approach, so that we can better tailor training specific to your needs. Now, you can request training courses specific to you and your company's needs through
Have you wanted to learn methods and techniques to plan and conduct a Social Responsibility audit? Request a 3-Day Basic Social Auditing Course!
Want to learn more about the SA8000 standard?
Arrange a 2-Day introduction to SA8000 course to learn the principles of the standard and how to use tools, including Social Fingerprint.
Do you want to obtain the SA8000 completion certificate? Be sure you are enrolling in the normal SA8000 Basic Auditor Course, the 3-Day and 2-Day courses together.
Interested to learn how companies an implement the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights? Enroll or request this 2-Day training event.
SAI has recently added
7 new SA8000 Basic Courses
in Bangkok, Johannesburg, Dhaka, Ho Chi Minh, Istanbul, Lima, and Dubai.
2 SA8000 Advanced Courses
have been added in Dhaka and Ho Chi Minh. Don't wait;
More courses will be added in the upcoming weeks.
If you would like to request a course in a location not on the schedule please fill out THIS REQUEST FORM.
SA8000 Social Compliance &
Management System Consultant
SAI is seeking a local China Consultant Trainer
SAI seeks to expand its training capacity in China by recruiting and developing more qualified trainers. The focus is on gaining broader geographic coverage for a growing demand of Management System trainings needed in the country. In order to maintain quality, SAI has established the following requirements and qualification process for our consultants.
SAI developed one of the world's preeminent social standards - SA8000. SAI and SA8000 focus on human rights in the workplace and the supply chain. SAI trainers need to be able to understand and communication the perspective of all stakeholders. In addition to the training needs of SAI - this applicant may also be considered for Accreditation Auditing work with SAI's sister organization, Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS). Below you will see the qualifications & requirements for SAI consultant in China to take on the role of Trainer. Please note that this is a consultant position; not a full time employment.
Read more about the position
and fill out the required application
For more information about SAI's job openings please view our open positions
Office Manager, Tracie Ninh, on Work with SAI
Both my parents were refugees from the Viet Nam War; my mom immigrated when she was 16 and my dad was a "boat person" who fled to Indonesia before ending up in USA. My parents have now lived more years in America than they have in their homeland, and it is because of the sacrifices they and my family members have made for us first generation American-born that I work in this field.
Workers' rights in particular is something that I have been faced with daily since my youth without realizing it. All of my family members worked various jobs to make ends meet in search of the American dream. As an immigrant, you don't really have a choice about where you get your income. Your only concern is to pay bills and put food on the table at the end of the day. Now when I look back at what my aunts, uncles, and cousins have gone through, I realize how not having decent work can really marginalize people and keep them from fulfilling their full potential.
When looking for a career that would satiate my passion to work in human rights, I found SAI. This organization is doing amazing things at furthering worker rights and advancing human rights at work. To some, this may be too lofty to grasp; but to others who have witnessed and experienced injustices first hand, SAI is what we need. To put things simply: everyone will need to work at some point in their lives, so let's make work decent for all.
So in honor of my family, I dedicate my life to human rights.
Snapshots from SA8000 Training Courses
Photographs from SA8000 Courses in Vietnam
SA8000 Basic Course in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam on July 20-24
SA8000 Basic Course in Istanbul, Turkey on July 27-31
SA8000 Advanced Course in Bangkok, Thailand on August 3-5
For more information about SAI's Training Courses, please view our website
or email the Training Team at