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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
|SA8000: 2014 Pilot in Italy
Testing a New Approach to Certification
|SAI Senior Manager of Research and Stakeholder relations, Alex Katz
Piloting the Integration of Social Fingerprint and the Interpretation and Implementation of the New Standard
On February 16 and 17, SAI's Senior Manager of Research and Stakeholder Relations, Alex Katz, joined Luca Valli and Giulia Bobbolini from CISE (an accredited SA8000 certification body) on a visit to a company named Consorzio Formula Ambiente in Cesena, Italy. The visit was done to pilot the use of Social Fingerprint® as part of an SA8000: 2014 audit. The pilot was the first of three being carried out to test the integration of Social Fingerprint® into the audit system and to understand how organisations seeking to comply with SA8000: 2014 and auditors verifying compliance interpret and implement the Standard's new requirements. Click here to see a video of local news station Legacoop Romagna reporting on the pilot (note: this is an Italian language report).
Formula Ambiente is a consortium of 20 cooperatives that operate all over Italy. Their business activities include the collection and transport of urban and special waste, washing and sanitizing rubbish skips, manual and mechanical road sweeping, management of waste collection centers, and management and maintenance of public and private green areas. Their company has seven total sites that employ 683 people. Collectively, their employees are covered by four National Collective Bargaining Agreements and additional Company Collective Bargaining Agreements. Due to their size and revenue, the national list of businesses lists them as one of the ten most important companies in their sector.
Social Fingerprint, New Entre to SA8000
n A key change in SA8000:2014 is the strengthening and re-structuring of the management systems requirements
n In pursuit of SAI's mission to advance the human rights of workers around the world, the SA8000 Standard is revised every five years, ensuring its continued relevance and adoptability. Management systems has always been a key, differentiating characteristic of SA8000 in comparison with other workplace standards. It is key to embedding and sustaining social performance across any organization
n Management systems are commonly cited, but not widely understood. So, SA8000:2014 seeks to clarify requirements and increase understanding of effective management systems:
n Emphasize both development and implementation,
n Emphasize the difference between paper and action,
n Emphasize worker and stakeholder engagement, and
n Set clear criteria for measuring and improving.
n In 2008, SAI launched Social Fingerprint® (SF), a program of ratings, training and tools for companies to measure and improve their management systems, no matter what labor standard or code they use. SF breaks down "management systems" into components that companies can understand - process-based categories. SF measures the maturity of each category from Level 1 to 5, so that companies can measure and improve step-by-step. Almost 1,000 companies around the world have used Social Fingerprint.
n Now, SA8000:2014 Element 9: Management Systems has been aligned to correspond to Social Fingerprint® categories
n SA8000:2014 certification applicants will complete Social Fingerprint® self-assessment questionnaire as a precursor to certification. Applicants will:
n Receive orientation on management systems requirements
n Use self-assessment as internal benchmarking exercise
n SA8000:2014 certification audits with a Social Fingerprint® independent assessment as part of the management systems audit will be piloted in 2015.
These pilots will continue through April, and the new SA8000/SF system may launch in July 2015. As other pilots are conducted in the next month, this newsletter will explain outcomes and will share any best practices uncovered.
For more information, please contact SAI Senior Manager of Research and Stakeholder Relations, Alex Katz at AKatz@sa-intl.org.
Stories From the Field
SAI Technical Dir. Badri Gulur Tells How SA8000 Affects a Family
SAI Technical Director, Badri Gulur
At SAI, we are always thinking about how our projects and programs are improving the lives of workers in a very practical sense. And it is often the stories from the field that make these impacts more readily apparent and personal. In this installment of "Stories from the Field", SAI Technical Director talks about one of the first times he came face-to-face with the very real impacts of the SA8000 Standard implementation. It was at a factory in Andhra Pradesh, India.
SA8000 Impacts Story:
Remembering 1999, when the SA8000 Standard was still new and in its formative stages, there were early stories of how the standard added value to the lives of the workers, their families and the community. As the Lead Auditor and Country Manager for SA8000 at Bureau Veritas, I was fortunate to have experienced the process for the first ever certification to the SA8000 Standard in many countries. One such experience was an SA8000 certification in the State of Andhra Pradesh, India. The company had arranged a ceremony to celebrate their expansion and opening of a new plant. They invited several dignitaries, including me and my team, as the event coincided with our surveillance audit visit.
The Factory Manager spoke about the achievement of the company in being awarded the SA8000 certification and hoped that the company's commitment to good labour practices and CSR activities would have a positive impact on the community. This was followed by the General Manager calling upon the employees and their families to share experiences. Amidst some hesitation by the employees to make a start at this large gathering, a young girl from the workers enclosure seized the microphone to say a few words in Telugu (the local language in the region).
In her own words: "I am not very aware of the certificate that the company has got, but I have been personally benefited from this initiative for the last 1 year". She said her father, who worked in the construction area, would come home smelling of cement dust and grease. She explained how she was always very hesitant to give him a warm hug at the first instant. However, this took a hygienic turn for the better, as for the last 1 year, he came home clean and smelling of 'Life Buoy soap'. She said she was gleefully giving him a warm hug on his return home. This was possible because the company created and implemented new health and hygiene practices as part of their adherence to the Health & Safety Clause of the SA8000 Standard. One small piece of the Standard had made a very big difference to a little girl and her father.
This story is one of many that illustrates how the benefits of implementation and certification to the SA8000 Standard, extend beyond the four walls of the factory into the lives and families of the workers. The sheer feeling of well-being communicated by the girl, and the fact that she was attributing something that seems small but has huge personal value, was an overwhelming, touching and unique experience that has been etched in my memory forever.
For more information, please contact SAI's Technical Director, Badri Gulur, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Windows on the World
SAI President & Founder, Alice Tepper Marlin
Speaks at Tata Steel
The President of SAI, Alice Tepper Marlin, recently traveled to Jamshedpur, India on a visit to Tata Steel, where she delivered their "Windows on the World" monthly lecture to Tata Steel officers. Discussions included corporate responsibility towards workers and society, Indian labour laws, management system and policy, budget, training, insurance facility, and the rights and safety of contract workers. She urged the Indian government to take tougher enforcement measures in the larger interest of the workers. Due to corruption and lack of effective implementation of the laws, the 70 per cent or more of Indian workers who work in the unorganized sector are deprived of their basic rights.
Ms. Tepper Marlin praised Tata Steel and recognized it as a stellar benchmark among Indian companies. Tata Steel was the world's first integrated steel plant to achieve SA8000 Certification, in 2004. The company has maintained and expanded the scope of its SA8000 certification ever since. In 2004, with not only 8,000 Tata employees on site but also 24,000 construction workers on site working for contractors in a major facility expansion, the extension of SA8000 conditions to the contractor workers posed a huge challenge. Tata Steel faced it remarkably well.
To implement occupational health and safety provisions, the company adopted an awareness and training program for the health and safety of its contract workers with positive results and provided health care to these workers. Bamboo scaffolding tied with rope was replaced with steel scaffolding that gave workers solid flat surfaces for standing. The company is now proceeding in the right direction with an ambitious zero accident goal and exploring ways to better integrate workers in the design and implementation of safety improvements. Alice commended Tata Steel for these accomplishments and for their larger interest of addressing workers at the global level, on issues of human rights and health of workers.
A highlight of this trip to India
(which also included time at Tata Beverages's hospital and community projects in Munnar, Kerala) was a visit to a Tata Steel community project, the Pipla school for girls. A project of Tata Steel benefiting young girls who dropped out of school to help their families -- for instance in the case of death or grave illness of a parent. The girls come from India's scheduled tribes in rural villages. They typically advance 2-5 grade levels in just 11 months, preparing them to be mainstreamed back to school. All the girls were healthy, poised, bursting with happiness & enthusiasm, and they had goals for themselves like being a teacher or veterinarian. They sang not only in their native language but also Hindi and some English, they danced, and several told me their stories and their aspirations in English. Each has overcome more obstacles in their short lives than I can begin to even understand.
|Students of the Pipla School for Girls
Student of the Pipla School for Girls
The confident, poised girl in the photo above is showing me her school project. She was forced by poverty to drop out of school, but saved by the Pipla project to fill education gaps, adequately nourish them, & return to school. The Pipla school transforms these girls in just 11 months!
SAI Advisory Board Considering New Members
Openings are Available on SAI's Advisory Board
|SAI Advisory Board Members at the Fall AB meeting
We value your input and invite indications of interest and nominations. Because of our rules limiting the number of terms an AB Member can serve, seats are now available on SAI's multi-stakeholder Advisory Board. The Advisory Board of SAI sets policy recommendations relevant to SAI's mission and its implementation. It also decides on and issues the periodic revisions to SA8000 and its Guidelines.
We have openings in both the Business and Civil Society (e.g., trade unions, NGOs, academics) sectors. Prospective candidates should have related experience and skills. The position is voluntary and requires attendance at our 3-day semi-annual meetings, participation in an AB committee and availability for at least 4 days of specialized service as requested and volunteered.
We are particularly seeking candidates from underrepresented sectors, such as Asian, African and Latin American suppliers and NGOs. For further information or to refer candidates' CVs, contact Dorianne Beyer, Esq., Chair, Membership Committee, SAI Advisory Board at
by April 15.
Living Wage Researchers Needed - Groundbreaking Project
Send Expression of Interest for Living Wage Benchmarks Calculations
The Living Wage Group seeks to engage researchers to use the Anker Living Wage methodology in countries where the members of the living wage group certify farm operations and factories. We are interested to partner with researchers who share our mission and with whom we could engage in a longer term partnership to build a robust Living wage database.
At present, attention to the topic of a Living Wage (LW) is growing due to declining wage shares worldwide, widening wage and income inequalities and growing interest in corporate social responsibility. Since 2013, Fairtrade International, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), GoodWeave, Sustainable Agriculture Network/Rainforest Alliance (SAN/RA), Social Accountability International (SAI), and UTZ Certified are working in a group facilitated by ISEAL Alliance to implement a methodology to calculate living wages and to promote the payment of a living wage for workers that are protected by their respective labour standards. The long term goal and shared mission of our six organisations, as expressed in our joint statement is to see improvements in workers' conditions, including wage levels, in the farms, factories and supply chains participating in our respective certification systems and beyond.
So far, the LW working group has come to a common definition of living wage as well as an agreed process for devising and testing the living wage methodology, currently being finalized by Richard and Martha Anker that will form the basis of a training manual to calculate living wage benchmarks in rural and urban contexts. The methodology has been tested during four pilot studies in South Africa , Dominican Republic, Kenya and Malawi. Once completed, the manual and other materials will form the basis of a five-day workshop to train 20-25 researchers and standards professionals of the six organizations to learn how to replicate the methodology.
Objectives of the Consultancy
The Living Wage Group seeks to engage researchers to use the Anker Living Wage methodology in the countries where the members of the living wage group certify farm operations and factories. Implementation of the methodology needs to occur in a harmonized way to ensure consistency and quality, and therefore, legitimacy among relevant stakeholders. The researchers will have the opportunity to attend a tailor made training lead by international LW experts Richard Anker and Martha Anker. Following the training, the trainees will apply the methodology in their country to complete a LW report. The draft reports will be evaluated by Richard and Martha Anker and/or a designated expert before reports are finalised and published. We are interested to partner with researchers that share our mission and with whom we could engage on a longer term partnership towards building a robust Living wage database.
The selected focus countries where one (or multiple site) LW benchmarks will be calculated and that fall under the scope of this call are:
The above set of country studies will be followed in the near future with a second set of country studies as part of our ambition to gradually build a LW database for a wide number of countries. Therefore, in your application, please indicate the country you are applying for as well as possible interest in conducting future additional studies in other countries mentioned below.
Future LW benchmarks include (not to be commissioned under the scope of this call for proposal):
Rwanda, Uganda, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Peru, Pakistan, Chile, Philippines, El Salvador, Argentina, Panama, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Laos, Nepal, Cote D'Ivoire, Egypt, Jamaica, Madagascar, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Tunisia, Turkey, United States, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Mozambique.
The selected researchers will be expected to produce a high-quality report documenting the application of the Anker LW methodology and key findings in the country where living wage benchmarks will be calculated.
The selected researchers will be required to attend a 5 days training workshop delivered by Richard and Martha Anker. For India and China specifically, due to the complexity of the context and diversity of the country, the training will be extended by one to two days to discuss how to do LW benchmarks in multiple sites and regions within India and China. For India and China, this initial training workshop is expected to be followed up by a country based training workshop as part of the initial benchmark calculation(s).
In order to complete the requirements of our LW approach, the researchers will have to follow a number of agreed upon steps including but not limited to undertaking preliminary desk research, collecting field data, mapping relevant stakeholders and organising stakeholder consultation. Finally, when the report is in an advanced form, the researcher will need to present his or her findings to a multi-stakeholder validation event or process to finalise the report that will be organized jointly by the standard setting organization.
More detailed terms of reference and linked deliverables for each LW benchmark commissioning will be further discussed with the candidates during the contracting phase. For example adjacent deliverables could be agreed upon (including potential multiple national benchmarks calculation and or additional wage and cost analysis research). These agreements are considered additional to the standard LW report and will be discussed with the candidates on a case by case basis.
Timeline and Budget
It is expected that the researcher will complete the assignment over several months .
The researchers must be available to attend a training event between 11th and 15th of May in Istanbul, Turkey.
For China and India benchmarks, the training will be extended to May 17th. Additional China and India specific trainings will be occurring for a 5 day period in China and India respectively. The China and India trainings will occur within 3-5 months of the first original training with dates to be determined.
The researchers will need to be available to conduct the field work in June/July 2015. With the expectation of China and India, a first draft report should be completed before 1st of August 2015. The final reports are to be validated and finalised before the end of 2015.
We estimate that approximately 20 to 25 working days and 5 to 7 training attendance days will be required to complete one LW benchmark report. The estimated budget available for each benchmark report is up to Euro 10,000. Submitted proposals should include costs in a day rate including all additional expenses and taxes. Please note that if multiple benchmarks in a country (e.g. rural and urban) are required and/or adjacent wage/cost research is requested, an additional budget will be made available for these extra tasks.
Travel, food and accommodation expenses will be paid to support participation in the training workshop. Candidates will not receive consultancy fees for attending the training workshops.
- Have at least 5 years of research experience including extensive experience with collection of primary data, with a track record in the field of labour and livelihoods.
- Knowledge and experience analysing household survey data and secondary analysis of data.
- Understanding of terms and conditions of work and living conditions in the research countries (rural and urban)
- Fluency in English and fluency in local language of research countries.
- Social science background - at least a Masters' Degree (preferably a PhD) in a Social Science or related discipline such as economics, sociology, demography.
- A publication record in reputable journals is an advantage.
Expression of Interest
All parties who wish to express an interest in this assignment should send a statement of interest in carrying out the work and qualification in light of the above mentioned criteria. It is important to indicate suitability and availability to conduct benchmarks in particular countries. Researchers that are not immediately retained may be considered for future training and living wage benchmark calculations.
A CV and short statement of interest should be submitted to Natalie Gawor (email@example.com) on or before the close of business (5pm GMT) on Tuesday 31st of March 2015.
The submission shall include the following information:
1. Name(s) and contact information of main investigator and main contact person
2. An indication of the LW country/countries or region you are applying for.
3. A presentation of the researcher (or team), including a summary of experience, relevant knowledge and relevant publications or studies (including references or links to those) and an annex with short CVs (preferably no longer than 2 pages each)
4. A statement that the relevant members of the research team are available to conduct the work within the time frames set out in the TOR.
5. A brief explanation about why the team is interested in conducting the work and how the team plans to structure its work (max 1 page
For more information, please contact SAI Senior Manager of Research and Stakeholder Relations, Alex Katz at AKatz@sa-intl.org.
Introducing New Positions for Long Time SAI Staff Members
Christie Daly - Senior Manager of Corporate Programs
We are pleased to announce the promotion of Christie Daly to Senior Manager of Corporate Programs.
Christie has served SAI for over 5 years in a number of key roles. In her previous role as Manager in Corporate Programs, Christie contributed significantly to the effective delivery and growth of custom projects for both Corporate Members and other corporate clients. She has been able to juggle multiple projects covering a range of technical topics and clients. In particular, she was instrumental in the expanded use of Social Fingerprint, managing the Disney Licensee Program and adapting it for use by other companies such as NBC Universal and Walmart. As part of these programs, Christie has conducted close to 200 Social Fingerprint evaluations of a wide array of brands, suppliers, and licensees. Christie began at SAI in 2009 as Executive Assistant to Alice Tepper Marlin, President.
As Senior Manager, Christie will manage our growing team at HQ and the field, in the design and delivery of Corporate Programs. She will also have a greater focus on promoting and expanding corporate memberships as well as capacity-building programs for other corporate partners.
Before joining SAI, Christie worked as a Project Associate at the NYC Department of Education in the Office of Public and Community Affairs. She received a Master's Degree from NYU's Center for Global Affairs with a concentration in Human Rights and Humanitarian Assistance and her Bachelor's from Skidmore College. During her graduate school internship at the NYU School of Law Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, she conducted research on a wide range of business and human rights issues.
Richard Cook - Chief Financial & Administrative Officer
We are also proud to announce that Richard Cook, a 10 year veteran of SAI who previously served as our CFO, has been promoted to Chief Financial & Administrative Officer.
Mr. Cook supervises all accounting and administrative systems staff, oversees budget development, annual audits, funder reports, tax filings and prepares interim financial reporting. He also oversees cash management, banking, contracts, policy reviews, all human resource-related dealings and IT. He also serves as a member of ISEAL's finance committee. Richard has a BBA in Accounting and Computer Science from Pace University.
SA8000 Training Courses
Photographs from Courses in Bangkok, Thailand
SAI Lead Trainer Sanjiv Singh taught the SA8000 Basic course in Bangkok, Thailand from 9-13 March 2015. Participants included several Certification Bodies, Piaget Watches and VF Corporation and represented Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, UAE, Cambodia, South Korea and Germany.
Group picture of SA8000 students from the Bangkok, Thailand Basic Course
Emily Crain, SAI Training Manager caught up with Sanjiv Singh immediately after the course. In Sanjiv's words: It was a pleasure teaching a diverse group of participants that represented the Far East, Middle East, South East Asia, Europe and North America. The experience, knowledge and blend of cultures in the classroom provided a rich learning experience that benefited each participant. It is becoming fairly common for participants from other parts of the world to travel far and take courses with practitioners of the trade and learn about real life challenges in the social auditing world.
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Highlights & Announcements
Intertek Ethical Sourcing Forum
Alex Katz, SAI's Senior Manager of Research and Stakeholder Relations, held a mini-lab at Intertek's Ethical Sourcing Forum on March 26, 2015. During the mini-lab, Alex presented SAI's living wage project and helped guide attendees to overcome confusion on the concept of the living wage, its calculation, and its implementation. For more information please contact Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UL Responsible Sourcing Summit
On March 3 and 4, Christie Daly (Senior Manager for Corporate Programs) and Craig Moss (Executive Advisor) attended the UL Responsible Sourcing Summit in Los Angeles where they presented on TenSquared and SAI's recent work on Living Wage.