SA 8000 is a workplace standard developed by Social Accountability International (SAI) in

1998. The SAI Advisory Board includes experts from trade unions, businesses and NGOs

from various countries. SAI is based in New York.


The standard promotes the implementation of International Labour Organization

(ILO) conventions covering social justice and working conditions. The standards

were initially developed for the manufacturing industry, and approved for use in

the agriculture sector in 2000. The latest revision took place from May 2013 to February 2014, resulting in the launch of SA8000:2014. This Standard supersedes previous versions from 2001, 2004 and 2008.


The core normative elements are derived from ILO labour standards, and include: child labour, forced labour, health and safety, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, discrimination, discipline, working hours, wages and having a management system in place to implement the standard. The SA8000 standard requires that companies have a management system in place, which assures respect for human rights in the work place. In line with this ISO-like approach, companies can get certified. There is no product label.


The SAI-SA8000 label is not used on products. Certified facilities and signatories may use the label in their communications. Large buyers (e.g. retailers) that are Signatory Members and consequently with the aim to reduce social risk in their supply chains try to move their suppliers towards SA8000 certification.


Read more on SA 8000 in Sustainability Map a very detailed database on private standards- that covers:

  • Self-Assessment Tool
  • The Standards’ relevance for specific markets (regional and product filter)
  • The Standard’s Requirements

                Detailed by by dimension:

  • Environment
    • Forests
    • Inputs
    • Biodviversity
    • Waste
    • Water
    • Energy
  • Social
    • Human rights and Local Communities
    • Labour practices (employment)
    • Labour practices (human development and social dialogue
  • Economic
    • Economic viability
    • Supply chain responisbilities
  • Quality
    • Product / service quality management
    • Food management systems


  • Ethics  
    • Ethics and Integrity

- The Standards’ Implementation Process

  • Audit details
  • Conformity Assessment procedure
  • List of Verification and Certification bodies
  • Duration of audit
  • Frequency of surveillance audits