Non-Governmental Organization Participation in the SA8000 Standard: The Challenges and Benefits of Southern Ngo Accreditation in the SA8000 System


Social Accountability International (SAI) has counted on the support of non-governmental organizations in various ways since the organization’s inception in 1997. However, there has been much criticism from the international community about the lack of non-governmental certification bodies. This paper seeks to address the challenges and benefits of formal NGO accreditation and to assess whether this role is appropriate for local human rights NGOs. How can the SA8000 system further incorporate and formalize Southern human rights NGOs in order to improve the efficacy of the system and maintain the integrity of human rights principles fundamental to labor rights for workers? Is accreditation necessary and desired as the way to formalize this relationship?

While at SAI, I was able to participate in events that demonstrate NGO capacity and professionalism. SAI participated in an evaluation audit in Peru, a roundtable discussion in Honduras, and various pilot audits as part of the SASA project that facilitated research for this paper. These events provided information from professionals in the corporate social responsibility field, including Southern NGOs, SA8000 auditors, representatives from the corporate sector, and supplier facility managers. I then followed up with stakeholders participating in the events by email surveys and interviews.

SAI must incorporate into their strategic plan this priority to work with local NGOs in areas where certifications are taking place. This priority should be demonstrated through increased training for NGOs and more opportunities for NGO representatives to participate in SA8000 audits.


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Labor Economics | Social Welfare

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