SA8000 is an auditable certification standard that encourages organizations to develop, maintain, and apply socially acceptable practices in the workplace. It was developed in 1997 by Social Accountability International, formerly the Council on Economic Priorities, by an advisory board consisting of trade unions, NGOs, civil society organizations and companies.[1] The SA8000 streamlines the complexities of navigating industry and corporate codes to create a common language and standard for measuring social compliance. As it can be applied worldwide to any company in any industry, it is an extremely useful tool in measuring, comparing, and verifying social accountability in the workplace.


SA8000 certification is a management systems standard, modeled on ISO standards. The management systems criteria require that facilities seeking to gain and maintain certification must go beyond simple compliance to the standard, but also integrate it into their management systems and practices and demonstrate ongoing conformance with the standard. SA8000 is based on the principles of international human rights norms as described in International Labour Organisation conventions, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[2] It measures the performance of companies in eight areas important to social accountability in the workplace: child labour, forced labour, health and safety, free association and collective bargaining, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours and compensation.[3]

Performance criteria

It also requires compliance with eight performance criteria, as outlined on the Social Accountability International website.[4]

Certification is granted by independent certification bodies that are accredited and overseen by Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS). There are 23 accredited certifications bodies worldwide.[5] Statistics are reported quarterly and posted on the SAAS website. As of June 30, 2013, there were 3,231 certified facilities, employing a total of 1,862,936 workers, across 72 countries and 65 industrial sectors.[6]


  1. "Organization: Social Accountability International SAI". Retrieved 2013-10-15.
  2. "SA 8000 | Systems & standards | Strategies & tools". Retrieved 2013-10-15.
  3. "SA8000 - A Social Accountability Standard". 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-10-15.
  4. 1 2 "Social Accountability International | SA8000 Standard". Retrieved 2013-10-15.
  5. "SA8000 Accredited Certification Bodies". Archived from the original on January 5, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  6. "SA8000 Certified Facilities". Archived from the original on February 6, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
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