Frequently Asked Questions
- How does my company become accredited to certify factories and facilities to the SA8000 Standard?
- How does my non-governmental organization (NGO) become accredited to certify factories and facilities to the SA8000 Standard?
- How long does it take to be accredited?
- What are the average costs of SAAS accreditation?
- What is the renewal process for accreditation?
- What is certification?
- How do I become certified?
- How long does it take to be certified?
- What are the average costs of earning certification?
- What are the benefits of certification?
- How do I know if a facility is certified to SA8000?
- How do I become an SA8000 auditor?
- When does a certified organisation need to transition to SA8000:2014?
What is SAAS’s relationship with SAI?
SAAS began work in 1997 as an accreditation agency as part of Social Accountability International (SAI). SAAS is an independent decision-making department of SAI, providing accreditation to the SA8000 program.
What is the oversight process of SAAS?
SAAS is overseen by a Board of Directors, legally responsible for the fiscal and programmatic oversight of the organization. SAAS also confers with an Advisory Committee and Accreditation Review Panel in setting policy and making accreditation determinations. SAAS accreditation activities are reviewed through a series of internal audits, external audits and management reviews to ensure compliance with ISO Guide 17011.
If you would like further information on any of the possible routes for your involvement with SAAS, or have questions about accreditation and the application process, please contact:
Social Accountability Accreditation Services
9 East 37th Street, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10016
T: + 1 (212) 391-2106
How does my company become accredited to certify factories and facilities to the SA8000 Standard?
Accreditation is a process similar to licensing, wherein SAAS evaluates an applicant certification body's capacity to thoroughly audit a workplace for compliance with the appropriate Standard within the scope of SAAS. This process includes an audit of the body's written policies and procedures as well as observing auditors in the field. The ongoing accreditation process also includes the following:
1. Office audits: Office documentation review and interviews with staff
2. Witness audits: Observation of auditors conducting field audits
How long does it take to be accredited?
The accreditation process is very detailed and thorough and contains many steps. Therefore, the timeframe depends entirely on the readiness of the applicant to ensure quality audits and meet the criteria set out by SAAS. As such, there is no set timeline - the process could take anywhere from 6 months to more than a year, on average taking approximately 18 months from the submission of the application to granting of the certificate.
What are the average costs of SAAS accreditation?
The fee to apply to become accredited is $7,500. The costs associated with ongoing monitoring will vary depending on the number of SA8000 certifications and risk and performance by the CB. Please visit the Accreditation Fees page for the detailed list of costs.
In order for Certification Bodies (CBs) to renew their accreditation, they must undergo a complete reassessment through an office and witness audit by SAAS, similar to their initial accreditation application process.
Certification is the process by which individual facilities and organizations earn a document attesting to its compliance to a standard or code. Performance deemed to be in conformance with the standard is acknowledged by granting a certificate that can be displayed and its contents communicated to relevant parties.
How do I become certified?
Certification is the process by which facilities submit to an independent audit against the SA8000 Standard. If a facility meets the Standard, it will earn a certificate attesting to its social accountability policies, management, and operations. Companies that operate production facilities can seek to have individual facilities certified to SA8000 through audits by one of the accredited certification bodies (CBs).
How long does it take to be certified?
The average length of time for the certification process varies depending on the readiness of the facility and the systems it has put in place to meet the requirements of the system. Some facilities require a pre-assessment prior to a certification audit. If it is found that the facility requires additional procedures to meet the Standard, corrective actions must then be put in place. Once the certification audit is conducted, corrective actions may be issued and again, procedures will need to be put in place to correct them. Major corrective actions must be evident before certification may be granted. Therefore, the amount of time needed between applying to be certified and becoming certified could vary between several months and several years
What are the average costs of earning certification?
The average cost of earning certification varies for each applicant facility, depending on the Certification Body to which it applies location of the facility, facility size and scope of the certification. The average cost per audit day is between $500 and $1500 per day. The number of audits days required can be found in Procedure 200, Appendix 1.
- Putting company values into action.
- Enhancing company and brand reputation.
- Improving communication with employees and recruitment, retention and productivity.
- Supporting better supply chain management and performance.
- Enhanced opportunities for workers
- Education about core labor rights.
- A way to generate public awareness of companies committed to assuring humane working conditions.
How do I know if a facility is certified to SA8000?
Facilities certified to SA8000 are listed here. These facilities have been certified by certification bodies (CBs) accredited by SAAS. If an SA8000 “certificate” has been issued by an organization NOT listed on this website, it may not be a recognized accredited SA8000 certificate. If you are still unsure about the validity of an SA8000 certificate, please contact SAAS directly for more information.
1. Working directly for a SAAS-accredited Certification Body, or
2. Working as an individual auditor available for hire by accredited CBs.
When does a certified organisation need to transition to SA8000:2014?
SAAS has shared a list of frequently asked questions related to the transition to SA8000:2014. Please visit that page for related questions and answers.
How do I make a complaint?
SAAS has developed a complaints policy and provides guidance on lodging a complaint. The complaint should be made in writing and addressed to:
Executive Director, SAAS
9 East 37th Street, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10016
*The complaint should be fully detailed and objective evidence to the complaint must be provided. Any complaint that meets the required criteria will be fully investigated and complainants will be advised of the outcome of their complaint once this investigation has taken place.