SA8000:2014 is the current version of the SA8000 Standard. It replaced SA8000:2008 in June 2014. The most significant updates to the Standard as compared to SA8000:2008 are explained here below.

Forced or Compulsory Labor

All organizations certified to SA8000:2014 must now ensure that their workers are free from employment fees and costs.

Health and Safety

All organizations certified to SA8000:2014 must have a Health and Safety Committee consisting of management representatives and workers, which is responsible for monitoring health and safety hazards.

Management System

SA8000:2014 places increasing emphasis on the importance of a strong management system. A management system is a set of policies, procedures, and processes that helps an organization integrate the requirements of the SA8000 Standard into its daily operations.

Benefits of SA8000 Certification

Earning an accredited SA8000 certificate is an attestation to an organization’s compliance to the SA8000® Standard for three years. An accredited SA8000 certification provides ongoing and reliable assurance that an organization is upholding social performance expectations, while also continuously improving their management systems to address and prevent social and labor risks.

As a voluntary standard, it is central to SA8000 that organizations take ownership of their performance and continuously monitor and improve their own social controls. Independent oversight and regular surveillance audits by approved third- party certification bodies provide confidence that the organization is managing its operations effectively and has a low risk of non-conformities to the Standard.

Some characteristics of an SA8000-certified organization are:

  • Holistic management system to maintain compliance to the Standard
  • Worker engagement and dialogue
  • Cross-functional internal collaboration
  • Collaboration in the supply chain

While accredited certification is a valuable tool to evaluate performance and drive supply chain improvement by committing an organization for three years, it is important to recognize that no code or monitoring system can provide absolute assurance or drive positive change alone. All social auditing practices need to be considered as part of a larger effort to improve labor conditions, including equitable contractual cooperation between buyers and suppliers, worker and management training, capacity building, stakeholder engagement, and various other tools to improve systems and collaboration.