SA8000 is a consensus standard that encourages companies and other organisations to develop, maintain and apply social, ethical and acceptable workplace practices within their sphere of influence. SA8000 is an initiative of the Council on Economic Priorities Accreditation Agency (CEPPA), an affiliate of the Council on Economic Priorities. In short, the SA8000 standard seeks to ensure certain benchmarks are applied to workplace practices through accredited and independent third party auditing. The overall mission of SA8000 is to improve working conditions globally.
With ever increasing frequency, companies are coming under scrutiny from governments, shareholders, customers, trade unions, human-rights groups, and others to prove that their activities are conducted in a way which is socially acceptable to those who may be touched by it. The notion of social accountability is not a new one. International organisations, trade unions, human-rights lobbyists and regulators have long strove to eliminate the inequities of the workplace. Child labour and prison/forced labour continue to be pivotal issues in many areas of the world. Most of us will buy goods manufactured under conditions that we would never admit. Illegal labour and discriminatory practices are still usual, even in the developed world.