Social Accountability Certifications

BSCI iso26000 ethicaltrading sedex


Across the world, there is a growing demand from tuna retailers to be able to source tuna products that have been produced under fair social conditions and where workers are well treated. Pressure from NGOs such as fair-trade, fair-food, International Labor Organisation (ILO) as well as Greenpeace and other environmental agencies on the market and on retailers urges them to improve economic and social returns for the working people.

At the same time there is also increased pressure from the European Union on processing facilities to meet social standards, which condemn the use of child labour, forced labour and discrimination. It is acknowledged within the tuna processing industry that the best way to achieve this for those exporting to Europe is by assessing, documenting, implementing and certifying processing facilities based on a social standard.

Key aspects of employment relations in a social accountability certification:

1. Child labor Child labor shall not be used
2. Forced labor People have the right to change jobs and shall not be forced to work
3. Healthy & Safety People must not be endangered at work
4. Freedom of Association (key issue) People have the right to organize and be heard at work through collective bargaining
5. Discrimination Hiring, promotions and wages must be equal and fair
6. Disciplinary practices People must not be abused at work and free from all corporal punishment
7. Working hours Overtime is limited voluntary and paid at a premium
8. Remuneration People must earn enough to support themselves during a regular work week
9. Management System (MS) (key issue) A MS is the key to managing ongoing compliance, including requirement for a worker representative



sa8000Established: In 1997 by Social Accountability International (SAI)

SA8000 is an auditable certification standard that encourages organizations to develop, maintain, and apply socially acceptable practices in the workplace.

SA8000 certification is a management systems standard, modeled on ISO standards. The management systems criteria require that facilities seeking to gain and maintain certification must go beyond simple compliance to the standard and integrate it into their management systems and practices and demonstrate ongoing conformance with the standard. SA8000 is based on the principles of international human rights norms as described in the International Labour Organisation conventions (ILO), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It measures the performance of companies in eight areas important to social accountability in the workplace: child labour, forced labour, health and safety, free association and collective bargaining, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours and compensation. It also requires compliance with eight performance criteria, as outlined on the Social Accountability International website.


Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI)

BSCIEstablished: In 2003 by the Foreign Trade Association (FTA)

Business Social Compliance initiative; The ultimate goal of BSCI is to improve the working conditions in the global supply chain worldwide. This goal can only be achieved through a strong commitment from participants to implement the system. To get the BSCI agreement tuna processors must apply for BSCI assessment and audit under request of a client or retailer.



iso26000Established: In November 2010 as part of the ISO management system standards

The ISO 26000 standard builds on the Brundtland definition of sustainable development by defining social responsibility as the organization’s responsibility for the impacts of its decisions and activities regarding society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behavior that contributes to a sustainable development, including the health and welfare of society. It takes into account the expectations of stakeholders and is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behavior; it is integrated throughout the organization and practiced in its relationships. ISO26000 is a guideline and not a standard; however is globally accepted by many food retailers.


Ethical trading Initiative (ETI)

ethicaltradingEstablished: In 1998 by Department for International Development, alliance of companies, trade unions and voluntary organizations.

Ethical trade means that retailers, brands and their suppliers take responsibility for improving the working conditions of the people manufacturing their products. Most of these workers are employed by supplier companies around the world, many of them based in poor countries where laws designed to protect workers’ rights are inadequate or not enforced. Companies with a commitment to ethical trade adopt a code of labour practice that they expect all their suppliers to work by. Such codes address issues like wages, hours of work, health and safety and the right to join free trade unions.


Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA)

sedexEstablished: In 2004 by 29.800 organizations from around the world have made Sedex their platform of choice for exchanging ethical supply chain data.

SMETA is designed to reduce duplication of effort in ethical trade auditing, benefitting retailers, consumer brands, and their suppliers. It was developed in response to member demand for an ethical audit report format that could more easily be shared. SMETA is not a code of conduct, a new methodology, or a certification process, but describes an audit procedure which is a compilation of good practices of the ethical audit technique. The SMETA documents are designed to be used in conjunction with current established practices by experienced auditors to help them to conduct high quality audits that will be accepted by multiple retailers and brands.

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