We continue to see an increase in requests for social responsibility audits and are pleased to see the growing commitment in this regard. Aside from reducing quality risks and cost, ensuring social responsibility improves quality of life and ultimately affects the quality of products being produced as well.
Principles of social responsibility per the ISO 26000 guideline include:
• Ethical behaviour
• Respect for stakeholder interests
• Respect for the rule of law
• Respect for international norms
• Respect for human rights
“The SA 8000 standard is based on the UN Declaration of Human Rights, conventions of the ILO, UN and national law, and spans industry and corporate codes to create a common language to measure social performance. It takes a management systems approach by setting out the structures and procedures that companies must adopt in order to ensure that compliance with the standard is continuously reviewed.”
The nine elements of the SA 8000 standard include:
- Child Labor
- Forced or Compulsory Labor
- Health & Safety
- Freedom of Association & Right to Collective Bargaining
- Disciplinary Practices
- Working Hours
- Management Systems
Pro QC auditors receive special training and certifications to be able to evaluate and identify areas of non-conformance. We also work with these facilities on corrective action so that they meet client and internationally accepted standards of conformance.
As an example, auditors discovered the following during a recent social responsibility audit at a factory in China:
The fire extinguishers in this facility were blocked and not easily accessible if needed. In addition, the clips were damaged resulting in a failure to function.
Chemicals were found to be open and exposed. They were also not labeled correctly. No inventory or MSDS information was available.
Exit doors were locked during working hours, which presents a safety risk in an emergency.
Contact us for additional information or to review example reports. Also, several SR resources worth mentioning include:
- ISO 26000 Guidance Information
- ISO 26000 Schematic Overview Download
- SA 8000 Standard Information
- 3BL CSR Minute – Updates on CSR in the global economy
- ASQ Publication: SR Integration Guide (Free download)
- Social Accountability Audits: Benefits & Features (Pro QC Newsletter Article)