Once determining the value, price and quality of the goods, nowadays, service features, customer satisfaction criteria and social conformity conditions have also become a sought-after feature in determining the value of the goods. Large companies are obliged to take social responsibility and act ethically due to the awareness of consumer trends and developing communication technologies. In particular, social responsibility activities and production that respects human rights are more prioritized in labor-intensive sectors. Because conscious consumers no longer want to use the products produced by the workers who work under non-humanitarian conditions and who do not receive their rights, or the products of a company where child workers are employed.
This naturally puts pressure on producer companies in determining competition and sales policies and necessitates the fulfillment of some social responsibilities.
Social responsibility refers to the obligation of an enterprise to protect and improve the environment in which it operates. Social responsibility issues can be listed as follows:
• To provide safe and quality products by considering the preferences and demands of customers
• Respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of employees
• Managing the company in a way that protects the rights of the partners and makes their investments profitable
• Protecting the natural environment
• Providing people with accurate information about the company's activities
• Supporting health, education and arts activities that contribute to the welfare of society
The SA 8000 standard has been developed to ensure that the social responsibilities of companies are fulfilled within certain standards. This standard is based on ISO 9001 Quality Management System and ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standards and takes care of performance conditions as well as system and procedure conditions.
What is SA 8000 Standard?
SA 8000 The Social Responsibility standard was published in 1997 by the Social Accountability International (SAI). This first version of the standard aims to protect the fundamental rights of employees. A large number of academics, employers, trade unions, human rights and children's rights organizations participated in the working group. The study was based on the International Labor Organization conventions, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In 2001, this standard was revised and accepted as the first supplier evaluation standard. This new version of the standard has also been extended to protect workers in their homes.
SA 8000 standard consists of four main parts. In the first section, the purpose and scope of the standard is defined. The second section describes the national legal requirements, the basic regulations of the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Constitution, which an enterprise must comply with in addition to the standard in order to obtain an SA 8000 Certificate. The third section describes the standard-related enterprise, child worker, supplier and forced labor. Finally, the final section describes the general conditions that the company must comply with when applying the SA 8000 Social Responsibility System and obtaining the SA 800 Certificate.
For example, businesses cannot employ child workers under the age of 15. If child workers above this age go to school, the period of work may not exceed ten hours per day. Businesses cannot force workers or demand identity or a certain deposit from workers. Employees have the right to form a union, to join a union and to bargain collectively. Workers cannot be employed more than 48 hours per week and overtime cannot exceed 12 hours per week. Wages must be at least sufficient to meet the basic needs of workers at the minimum wage level of the country. Companies must provide workers with a healthy work environment and take preventive measures for accidents and injuries. Finally, employees cannot be subjected to different treatment due to gender, ethnicity and similar reasons, and physical and psychological pressure cannot be applied to employees.
It is not enough for companies to comply with SA 8000 standard by themselves. The manufacturers and suppliers they work with must also comply with this standard.
Why was the SA 8000 Standard needed?
SA 8000 standard required three issues:
• In developing countries, the poor working conditions that employees are exposed to have become undeniable.
• Non-governmental organizations have started to make efforts to improve working conditions.
• While making the investment decision of the savings owners, they started to pay attention to the extent to which they act in accordance with the social responsibility of the enterprises besides financial gain.
Working conditions are getting worse in less developed and developing countries. Developed countries sensitive to human rights believe that more concrete steps should be taken in this regard. The SA 8000 standard was created with this requirement. Today, 80 of the world's toy production is made in third world countries, especially in Asia. In these countries, cheap labor and unhealthy working conditions are serious. Long working hours and far below western standards. In general, these non-qualified workers from rural areas are seen as potential labor force for international enterprises in any case.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) also play an active role in anti-human rights practices and preventive initiatives worldwide. In this way, a conscious reaction to bad working conditions has been initiated around the world.
What is SA 8000 Social Responsibility Certification Process?
When businesses start to establish and manage the SA 8000 standard, they can apply for a SA 8000 Certificate by applying to a certification body to prove this. In this case, the conditions of the enterprise are checked by the non-profit independent audit companies and if it is determined that the enterprise meets the required conditions, SA 8000 Certificate is issued and delivered to the enterprise. The auditors visit the enterprises that wish to obtain this document on-site and evaluate the practices in the issues covered by the standard.
Auditors can exchange information with regional human rights groups to increase the effectiveness of their audit and certification efforts.
What is the current status of our country?
It cannot be said that our country is in a very good condition in terms of the issues covered by the SA 8000 standard. Our country is in a very bad situation especially regarding the employment of child workers. Our country ranks fourth after Kenya, Bangladesh and Haiti. Our country is even behind countries like Algeria, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Pakistan.
Due to heavy inflation conditions, employees cannot receive a salary worthy of human dignity and pride. The social security system has recently come to meet the most basic needs such as health.
Turkey has signed the International Labor Organization Convention on Minimum Age for Employment Acceptance. Accordingly, it has agreed to make legal arrangements to prevent child labor and raise the minimum age for admission to a level that will allow children to develop physically and mentally. In addition, it adopted the International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor and signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, there has not been enough progress in practice.
SA has received 395 Certificate in Italy, 141 in India, 129 in China, 99 in Brazil, 53 in Pakistan. In our country, only 8000 company has received this certificate.
For developing countries such as our country, the SA 8000 standard has the following important functions:
• Preventing child labor
• Improving trade union rights and increasing unionization
• Improving working hours
• Lower wages to a decent level
• Ensuring positive developments in health and safety issues
our organization TÜRCERT Technical Control and Certification Inc., SA 8000 Social Responsibility certification activities, national and international accreditation organizations based on the authorization is carried out.