SA 8000 (Social Accountability) is the international standard for social accountability issued in 1997 by SAI (Social Accountability International, New York), i.e. CEPAA (Council on Economic Priorities Accreditation Agency, London).
This elective standard is created in order to ensure compliance with rights and ethics in the production of goods and provision of services. It is applicable globally and to all types of organizations regardless of their size.
SA 8000 standard prescribes basic requirements in the following areas:
- Child labour
- Forced labour
- Health and Safety
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
- Disciplinary practices
- Working hours
- Management system
Social accountability is one of the most powerful tools in building a brand, which is one of the most valuable assets of a company in the contemporary economy. Associating a brand with socially accountable behaviour and benefits to society is positively correlated to sales and customer loyalty.
Employee satisfaction is one of the key comparative benefits realised by a socially accountable company. There is a series of proofs that in companies that encourage involvement or themselves involve their employees in socially beneficial projects employees have higher level of productivity and quality of work and lower level of absenteeism. Social accountability is one of the best ways of attracting and fostering employee loyalty, especially among employees with university degrees and professionals.
Finally, companies that with their proactive practices exceed requirements prescribed by regulations are less monitored by the state, and often get reliefs and privileges in doing business with the state. Furthermore, those companies get the so-called “licence for business“ from the society as a whole, i.e. they are publically recognised as useful and beneficial “corporate citizens“.