Tag: sa8000

Recognizing & Ensuring Human Rights

12357218_1048232075219308_6286050902802464327_oThis week represents the 67th anniversary of the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights.

In Tampa, we attended a luncheon event recognizing the 30 articles (human rights) described within the Declaration.

The General Assembly,

Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

At Pro QC, we are particularly proud to help organizations ensure worker’s rights through on-site social audits. Standards and industry guidelines such as SA8000 and ISO 26000 use the Declaration as a basis for accountability within the supply chain.

Article 23 (Worker’s Rights)

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 29 (Social Responsibility) 

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

Download the full Declaration here.  There’s an illustrated version here.

Social Responsibility & Risk-Based Thinking

We attended ASQ’s Joint Technical Communities Conference in Orlando, FL this week.  In addition to attending some really insightful and valuable sessions by impressive quality industry leaders, we enjoyed participating in the panel discussion related to SR and the Update of Risk in the New ISO Management Systems Standards.

Risk is highlighted in the recently issued ISO 9001:2015.  Identifying opportunities over threats is inherent. Preventative thinking is thoughtfully applied.

“One of the key changes in the 2015 revision of ISO 9001 is to establish a systematic approach to risk, rather than treating it as a single component of a quality management system.

In previous editions of ISO 9001, a clause on preventive action was separated from the whole. Now risk is considered and included throughout the standard.

By taking a risk-based approach, an organization becomes proactive rather than purely reactive, preventing or reducing undesired effects and promoting continual improvement. Preventive action is automatic when a management system is risk-based.”

(Source: ISO-TC176-SC2_N1222_N1222_-_Risk_in_ISO_9001_2)

The moderator and presenter during the session, ASQ Fellow Dick Gould, laid out risk as identified in ISO 31000:2009.  In that, positive risk is an opportunity. Successful organizations evaluate their threats and their opportunities.

Here are a few examples that we shared of positive risk opportunities associated with social responsibility:

  • Many electronics companies working with Foxconn as a contract manufacturer realized a very real threat when an increase in worker suicides in 2010 gained international exposure. Apple was an organization that identified an opportunity that came from working with Foxconn to assess and improve conditions.  They took advantage of the opportunity to join the Fair Labor Association and have subsequently helped changed several industries and increased profits as a result.
  • A packaging company was receiving violations for ink disposal and there wasn’t an easy answer to resolve the associated issues. As a negative risk, the threat would include violations and wasted materials.  The positive risk is the opportunity that presents itself when the organization realizes the benefits to their stakeholders and bottom line by exploring preventative action. Switching to a water-based ink reduces the need for increased disposal requirements.
  • Many organizations reach out to Pro QC for assistance with social audits at their manufacturers abroad.  They identify an opportunity to demonstrate their vision, mission and values through ensuring social responsibility throughout the supply chain.  Assessing and improving worker conditions within factories is stakeholder and bottom-line friendly.

In the same ISO document referenced above, there’s a compelling argument for risk-based thinking:

By considering risk throughout the organization the likelihood of achieving stated objectives is improved, output is more consistent and customers can be confident that they will receive the expected product or service.

Risk-based thinking therefore:

  • builds a strong knowledge base
  • establishes a proactive culture of improvement
  • assures consistency of quality of goods or services
  • improves customer confidence and satisfaction

Contact us for additional information regarding ISO 9001:2015 or SA8000 social audits. Example reports are found here and demonstrate how our clients have effectively identified opportunities that have driven improvements.

The Quality – Social Responsibility Connection

As a guest blogger on the ASQ site this month, my post discusses the connection between quality and social responsibility, in addition to highlighting ideas for action as it relates to individual accountability.  Check out the article here.  For additional info regarding the quality – SR connection, I reference the following articles:

csr

Earth Day 2015: Celebrating Sustainable & Socially Responsible Suppliers

Each year on April 22ndearth-day-e1429542414966-270x300, the world celebrates Earth Day.

“Events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.” 

At Pro QC, we like Earth Day because it’s an opportunity to express our commitment to helping ensure sustainability and social responsibility within the supply chain.  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. 80% of CEOs recently surveyed agree that ensuring social responsibility contributes to long-term success.  Environmental leadership is considered compatible with good returns.

Standards including SA 8000, ISO 26000 and ISO 14000 are generally incorporated into SR audits. A social responsibility audit can be included in a general systems audit for an added level of assurance.

Social Responsibility – These evaluations focus on health and safety, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours, compensation, management practices, forced labor, freedom of association and child labor laws.

Sustainability – These evaluations combine elements of key standards along with additional elements covering energy usage, renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions, materials and waste reduction, life cycle management, supplier’s supply chain activities and more.

Benefits of ensuring social responsibility include:

Human Resources – Recruitment & Retention Benefits
Higher employee morale leads to greater rates of retention, which cuts the costs of recruiting and training new staff. In addition, a growing trend in recruitment appears to be concern regarding a company’s corporate social responsibility activities.

Increased Product Quality & Safety
Reducing defects and accidents enhances product quality. A less fatigued and adult workforce is less likely to cause accidents or defects on the production line. In addition, a supplier that shows little concern over health and safety is more likely to produce poor quality products.

Risk Management
Proactive corporate responsibility offsets the risks of scandals or accidents that can create unwanted attention from consumers, regulators, government or the media.

Brand Development
Investing in a socially accountable supply chain benefits a company’s brand by differentiating from competition and building a positive reputation in the minds of consumers.

Stronger Management
Providing training, defining responsibility and developing manuals will strengthen the management of the company.

Government Intervention
If businesses take voluntary steps to ensure social accountability, they are more likely to avoid mandated government regulation and taxation.

In a late-2010 survey from sustainable consulting group BSR, when asked which areas sustainable companies show the most leadership and which areas will drive ongoing business success, both questions yielded the same top answers: creating innovative products and business models designed for sustainability (40 percent leadership, 66 percent business success); measuring and demonstrating positive social and environmental impacts (39 percent for both); and responding promptly and effectively to accidents, product quality issues and other incidents (35 percent leadership, 39 percent business success).

Source: Bottom-Line Benefits of Sustainability 

We have written several articles that provide more info:

Investing in Sustainability & Social Responsibility

Why Social Responsibility in Factories Matters

Sustainability Audits: An Evolving Process

Social Accountability Audits: Benefits & Features

Ask us for sample reports!

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.” ~Chinese Proverb

How will you celebrate Earth Day?

Why social responsibility at factories matters

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:

• Accountability
• Transparency
• Ethical behaviour
• Respect for stakeholder interests
• Respect for the rule of law
• Respect for international norms
of behaviour
• 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:

  1. Child Labor
  2. Forced or Compulsory Labor
  3. Health & Safety
  4. Freedom of Association & Right to Collective Bargaining
  5. Discrimination
  6. Disciplinary Practices
  7. Working Hours
  8. Remuneration
  9. 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:

Photo 2

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.

Photo 5

Chemicals were found to be open and exposed.  They were also not labeled correctly. No inventory or MSDS information was available. 

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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: