SA 8000 Certification – Definition

Cite this article as:"SA 8000 Certification – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated May 1, 2019, last accessed October 29, 2020,


SA8000 Certification Definition

SA8000 Certification is an attestation issued to a company having met the criteria and standards of SA800. SA8000 was established in 1989 by a coalition of corporate organizations. It is an international workplace-quality standard or an auditable certification standard that fosters social accountability and other appropriate practices in the workplace.

The SA8000 certification follows the standards and practises of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The criteria for SA8000 certification emanated from the resolutions of various industries on social accountability and standard organizational practises. Hence, before a company can have SA8000 certification, it must undergo the assessment of SA8000.

A Little More on What is SA8000 Certification

The criteria for SA8000 certification are quite clear, any interested organization must be audited by SA800. The principles of SA800 are also crystal clear, these principles rest on human right practises, social accountability, health and safety among others. The aim of the certification is to ensure that there is compliance to organizational standards. However, organizations are not just required to comply with the standards but also maintain these standards.

Certification of SA800 also require an organization to undergo an assessment on corporate practice and evaluation by SA800. Any organization having complied with the conventions of International Labour Organization, International Human Rights, ISO standards among others is proven worthy of SA8000 certification.

Under SA800 certification, the performance of an organization is measured in eight areas. These areas are considered vital for social accountability, human right practises among other international standards. These eight performance criteria are;

  1. Child Labor: The organization must not be found using child labor, the employment of young workers should also be conditional.
  2. Disciplinary Practices: Every worker should be treated fairly and humanely. No regard for abuse of employee, harsh punishment or corporal punishment.
  3. Discrimination: The organization should not show discrimination in the following areas; race, colour, religion, ideologies, recruitment, training, remuneration and compensation, gender, promotion and orientation.
  4. Health and Safety: Each workplace should make provision for the health and safety of workers. This include access to medical care, prevention of accidents, hygienic workplace, among others.
  5. Working Hours: The organization just comply with the standard working hours. No overuse of workers or overtime is permitted.
  6. Forced and Compulsory Labor: No use of forced labor, people should be recruited of their own accord.
  7. Remuneration: Appropriate wage should be allotted to employees, no disregard for human rights or insufficient wages. Remuneration should meet the basic needs of employees.
  8. Freedom of Association and Right to Collective Bargaining: Organizations must respect the right of employees to form and join trade unions of their choice.

The certification is accredited by SAAS (Social Accountability Accreditation Services) but granted by independent certification bodies. There is a total number of 23 certification bodies globally with the accreditation of SAAS.  Also, 3,231 firms and facilities have been certified as at June 30, 2013.

References for SA8000

Academic Research on SA8000

Codes to coordinate supply chains: SMEs’ experiences with SA8000, Ciliberti, F., de Groot, G., de Haan, J., & Pontrandolfo, P. (2009). Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 14(2), 117-127.

AA1000 and SA8000 compared: a systematic comparison of contemporary accountability standards, Göbbels, M., & Jonker, J. (2003). Managerial Auditing Journal, 18(1), 54-58.

Tailoring corporate responsibility to suppliers: Managing SA8000 in Indian garment manufacturing, Stigzelius, I., & Mark-Herbert, C. (2009).Scandinavian Journal of Management, 25(1), 46-56.

SA8000 Certification and Chinese Enterprise Development [J], JIANG, Q. J., & HE, W. (2004). China Industrial Economy, 10, 006.

The SA8000 social certification standard: Literature review and theory-based research agenda, Sartor, M., Orzes, G., Di Mauro, C., Ebrahimpour, M., & Nassimbeni, G. (2016). International Journal of Production Economics, 175, 164-181.

SA8000 as CSR‐washing? The role of stakeholder pressures, Boiral, O., HerasSaizarbitoria, I., & Testa, F. (2017). Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 24(1), 57-70.

Social values and sustainability: A survey on drivers, barriers and benefits of SA8000 certification in Italian firms, Merli, R., Preziosi, M., & Massa, I. (2015). Sustainability, 7(4), 4120-4130.

Notices for Corporations Dealing with Social Accountability (SA8000) Standard [J], You-huan, L. I. (2004). The Theory and Practice of Finance and Economics, 5, 020.

Corporate social responsibility: A survey of the Italian SA8000 certified companies, La Rosa, S., & Lo Franco, E. (2005). Asian Journal on Quality, 6(3), 132-152.

Performance implications of SA8000 certification, Orzes, G., Jia, F., Sartor, M., & Nassimbeni, G. (2017). International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 37(11), 1625-1653.

The Influence of SA8000 on Foreign Trade Development and Its Countermeasures [J], ZHAN, J. H., & ZHOU, Q. L. (2009). Journal of Shandong Institute of Business and Technology, 4, 016.

Was this article helpful?