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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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SA8000:2014 Online Revision Webinar - Part 2: Social Fingerprint
Released and ready for enrollment
On July 1, 2015, SAI released SA8000:2014 Online Revision Webinar - Part 2: Social Fingerprint. This online course for auditors specifically reviews the changes made to the SA8000 Standard Management System element and explains the integration of the Social Fingerprint program into SA8000:2014. After taking this course, auditors will understand the purpose and value of Social Fingerprint for SA8000:2014. They will learn about the Social Fingerprint program and how it is incorporated into the SA8000:2014 audit and certification process. They will also learn how to use the Social Fingerprint tools (self-assessment, independent evaluation and rating chart) and the online portal.
This course is the second of two required courses for those who completed the SA8000 Basic Auditor Training Course prior to July 2015. SA8000:2014 Revision Webinar - Part 1 was released in October and was completed by almost 2,500 auditors. SA8000:2014 Revision Webinar- Part 2 is available free of charge from July 1, 2015 to September 30, 2015.
For more details regarding training requirements for SA8000 Auditors, please review
SAAS Advisory 4B
To enroll in the webinar,
New Modular Approach and Price Changes
Please note that part of the SA8000:2014 transition is affecting the SA8000 Auditor Training. Over the past year, SAI has been revising the SA8000 Basic Auditor Training course to reflect the changes made in SA8000:2014 and to recognize overall changes in the field of social compliance auditing. Two of the most important things for potential course participants to be aware of for the new Auditor Training are as follows: We are pleased to announce the release of our updated 5-Day Basic Auditor Training course. The updated course reflects the changes in SA8000:2014 as well as emerging issues and techniques in the field of social compliance auditing. About 1,000 people take the course every year, with a wide range of participants - auditors from SA8000, BSCI, Rainforest, Fairtrade and other systems, managers from brands and retailers, managers from facilities, and representatives from unions.
The updated course now takes a Modular Approach, so that our increasingly diverse audiences can tailor the training for their needs:
a. Module 1: The 3day Basic Social Auditing Course
- This Module will teach students how to apply methods and techniques to plan and conduct a Social Responsibility audit
b. Module 2: The 2day Introduction to SA8000 Course
- This module will teach students the principles of SA8000 and how to use tools, including Social Fingerprint, to plan and conduct an SA8000 audit.
*NOTE, these will often be offered together as a 5day course. In order to obtain the SA8000 Completion Certificate, participants must take both Modules 1 and 2. Participants may take the 3day Basic Social Auditing Course as a standalone. More information on what it means to take the 3day Basic Social Auditing Course will be available for potential participants by September 1, 2015.
To learn more regarding the SA8000:2014 transition, please visit our website here.
To view our Training Schedule, please visit our training page here.
*More information regarding the modular approach will be included on SAI's Training page in the coming months.
An Interview with a SA8000 certified factory
SAI sat down with David Goncalves, Head of Human Resources, at Impetus Group to learn more about IMPETUS's experience with the SA8000 Standard.
1. Can you tell us a little about the background of Impetus?
IMPETUS PORTUGAL - TÊXTEIS S.A. is a well-established family business founded in December 1973 producing underwear for men and women. The company began with only 6 employees, but now has nearly 700 employees across 12 companies, the group reaching an annual production of 4,650,000 articles. The company's technological level, organizational and logistic capacity, as well as the know-how acquired throughout four decades of activity, puts the company in the forefront of the underwear fashion industry in Europe.
2. What are some of the biggest challenges of social compliance in your industry?
We have a duty to sustain a healthy business for all our employees, in Portugal and everywhere we operate. We cannot increase profits at the expense of a single one of our employees and this is, of course, a challenge but one that we will never shirk from. Many employees have been at IMPETUS three decades or more. We want the best trained staff at every level: machine operators, sewers, designers and management.
A team building exercise at the Impetus Facility
3. What are some of the positive changes or overall benefits you have seen in the facility since becoming SA8000 certified?
Being SA8000 certified has had a high rate of return, without a doubt, because healthier, better trained and loyal employees drive quality, productivity, innovation and the sustainability of our enterprises group. Some positive changes include:
- Increased employee loyalty;
- Improved the productivity;
- Increased the regular communication between management & worker representative;
- Workers satisfaction survey conducted & satisfaction achieved;
- Increased the confidence also of the consumers;
- Making our reputation socially responsible.
4. You are a completely vertically integrated apparel company - can you talk more about this and explain for those outside of the field what it means?
Vertical integration is when a company expands its business into areas that are at different points on the same production path. IMPETUS, presenting a completely vertical structure, specializes in the production of Cut & Sew seamless underwear, providing its customers an excellent service that covers the development, IDT, production, and shipping. The whole production is exported to markets such as Europe, Canada, United States of America, Australia, China, Mexico and Japan.
5. What were your main motivations in deciding to pursue SA8000 certification?
IMPETUS believes and recognizes that its performance on the market is not focused only on economic activity. IMPETUS plays its role as a member of a set of duties, obligations, and commitments towards all the specific interest groups that depend on their activity: its shareholders, employees, suppliers, customers, competitors, media, Government, unions and special interest groups. In this way, IMPETUS, believes that the achievement of its long-term goals is necessarily based on strict compliance with the highest standards of ethical conduct. IMPETUS believes that the daily concerns have to be based on a strong sense of social responsibility and ethics and awareness of the impacts of its activity.
Would you recommend implementing SA8000 to other businesses?
Yes, of course! SA8000 is a working tool that helps companies to be more competitive, more professional, and stand out among other companies.
For more information about SA8000, please view our website here.
SAI Welcomes Mr. Ewert from the FTA
This summer, SAI welcomed its most recent advisory board member, Christian Ewert. Mr. Ewert is currently Director General of the Foreign Trade Association (FTA), an organization committed to promoting free trade and sustainable supply chains. FTA has partnered closely with SAI in the past, especially through the collaboration between SAI and FTA's Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI).
As Director General, Mr. Ewert has led FTA through a number of initiatives this year, including informing the European Parliament's recent resolution commemorating the Rana Plaza collapse, and advocating that the EU adapt trade policy to reflect modern global value chains.
Prior to his position at FTA, Christian was President and CEO of the International Council of Toy Industries CARE Foundation, which promotes socially sustainable production of children's toys and juvenile products. He has also served as COO and Board Member at the German toy company Zapf Creation, as well as CEO of Boards and More Group, a water and winter sports products company. Given his background in industry and extensive knowledge surrounding supply chain compliance, he will bring a diverse and valuable perspective to SAI's board meetings.
With regards to his new board position, Christian Ewert says: "I am delighted to join the SAI Advisory Board, my objective is to contribute my knowledge of corporate and social compliance towards the continued success of SAI. Having already enjoyed a decade of a long and close relationship with SAI, FTA/BSCI will continue to explore common interests, cooperation and collaboration for our mutual benefit."
To learn more about our Advisory Board members, please see our webpage at
Meet Student, Maria Sheikh, from the Muslim Women's Resource Center
Maria Sheikh was a participant in the SA8000 Basic Course that took place in New York City June 15-19. She traveled to the course from Chicago, where she works with the Muslim Women's Resource Center (MWRC). MWRC provides a variety of services to its community, including integrating recent immigrants into American life, assisting individuals with preparation for citizenship, facilitating children's programs, and homecare for the elderly.
Maria first became interested in attending the training because her brother had attended an SAI training and recommended that Maria experience one as well. Additionally, Maria had noticed a lack of a social auditing presence in Chicago and was interested in bringing some of her knowledge back to the area. She already nurtured an interest in many of the topics addressed by SA8000 and frequently reads human rights-related articles.
Upon arriving at the course, Maria was surprised by a few things. She had expected the course to be technically dense and difficult; although it was indeed challenging, she found that the course was designed for diverse audiences and she could understand better than she had anticipated. Something else that surprised her was learning that social auditing requires a great deal of subjective decision-making. As Maria came to understand, there are many more "grey areas" in this field than one might expect. Ultimately, it is the job of the social auditor to make many difficult decisions, weighing various evidence. Although social auditors can refer to the standards against which they are evaluating a facility, assessing a factory is about more than completing a checklist; it requires a great deal of critical thinking and experience.
Among the most memorable parts of the course for Maria was when she heard a story about an auditor who was held in a factory for four hours due to issuing a non-conformance, as well as another auditor who was threatened with a gun. This increased her respect for social auditors and illuminated to her how important it is for companies to realize that audits are meant to help them, not to hurt them.
Since completing the course, Maria's interest in and knowledge of social auditing has strengthened. She intends to bring knowledge she gained from the course back to her community in Chicago. Workplace issues are gaining increasing attention in Illinois. For example, a proposed "Right to Work" bill recently caused controversy in the state legislature.
Coordinator Theresa Bone on Work with SAAS
As a young person, I questioned the inequality I saw in my community and beyond. I went on to explore issues of homelessness in the US, economic underdevelopment abroad and the conditions for sustainable peace. I studied the concept of local empowerment in development work, and later joined an NGO promoting rural development through social entrepreneurship in Central and South America.
During this time, I was exposed to issues of business and human rights in the communities I visited. I realized that this was, for me, the key issue of our increasingly globalized world: the potential of business to advance and to improve people's lives, while at the same time the risk (and far too often reality) of negative human rights impacts. I decided to pursue this field, and returned to the United States for my Master of International Affairs from Columbia School of International and Public Affairs with a concentration in human rights.
I was drawn to SAI and SAAS for their unique approach and long track record improving human rights in the supply chain. I found the multi-stakeholder, multi-faceted approach compelling, and knew that I had a lot to learn here. Since joining SAAS nearly a year ago, I am continually amazed by the dedication and knowledge of our team both at HQ and in the field. I am proud to be part of this team and the work that we do.
*SAAS is an independent organization that oversees the accreditation and certification to the SA8000 Standard. For more information on SAAS, please see their website here.
Snapshots from SA8000 Training Courses
Photographs from SA8000 Courses in New Delhi, Dhaka, and Guadalajara
SA8000 Basic Course in New York, NY on June 15-19
SA8000 Basic Course in Esslingen, Germany on July 6-10
For more information about SAI's Training Courses, please view our website here or email Training Manager, Emily Crain at ECrain@sa-intl.org