In order for stakeholders involved in social auditing and certification to know that the Certification Bodies (CBs) conducting the audits are reliably competent to perform their tasks in evaluating organizations to social standards, the CBs must be part of an oversight system - also known as accreditation. The accreditation function encompasses oversight of auditors and the management systems of the auditing companies.
SAAS assesses a CB's competence through a series of audits which review the management, processes, and auditor qualifications of the CB's certification process. The CB, in turn, evaluates the implementation of the accredited social system at a factory, farm or other organization to ensure compliance with all elements of the system.
Accreditation Versus Certification
Accreditation is the process of formal recognition of competence that grants approval to qualified organizations, including Certification Bodies (CBs), who are then given the ability to perform certification audits. Once a Certification Body is granted accreditation by SAAS, the Certification Body is able to certify facilities that comply with SA8000 and other social standards within the SAAS scope of accreditation.
The purpose of accreditation is to provide assurance that auditing bodies are competent to do the work they undertake and that their audit practices are undertaken impartially, competently and effectively. This in turn provides quality assurance to stakeholders, reduces potential risks to the system, and maintains consumer, supplier, and purchaser confidence in the services provided.
Third party accredited certification to SA8000 occurs when a facility is voluntarily audited against the SA8000 Standard by an independent, external body that is neither a direct purchaser nor a consultant. Performance deemed to be in compliance with the Standard is acknowledged by the granting of a certificate. A third party auditing scheme requires compliance by the auditing firm (known as a Certification Body in the world of SA8000) to a set of institutional criteria and elaborate auditing requirements – for SA8000, this includes requirements for SA8000 auditor training and qualifications, an audit day table prescribing the required number of audit days, guidelines for stakeholder engagement, basic needs wage calculation and other such requirements for obtaining and maintaining accreditation for conducting SA8000 audits.
Applying For Accreditation
Organizations interested in delivering auditing services for any of the programs within the scope of SAAS activities should visit the Accreditation Requirements page.
Please visit the Document Library to review the updated policies and procedures.
Applying For Certification
Organizations interested in being certified to SA8000 should visit the SA8000 Certification page.