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News 2A Social Accountability Program for Vietnam

Vietnam is currently seeking to increase its export production, particularly to the US and Europe. With this in mind, SAI has developed programs for factory workers and managers in Vietnam based on its internationally recognized independent workplace standard, SA8000.
GOALS

The goals of SAI’s program are to: 

  • Promote the rule of law (e.g., following the Vietnamese labor code will make getting SA8000 certification easier since both are based on the ILO Conventions).
  • Bring Vietnam’s documented success in pursuit of these goals to the attention of the global business community. In particular, attract orders from US and European retail and brand importers.

    Partners Include:
    • Adidas
    • Coop Italia
    • Gap
    • Kesko
    • MAST Industries
    • Pentland
    • Scancom
    • Timberland
  • Put in place the commitment, the expertise and the local means to continue the active pursuit of these goals.
The program partners with buyers to provide them with a means to train workers in the factories that they source from in Vietnam. In exchange for providing worker, management and worker/management training at little cost, SAI asks the buyers to support the factories through their implementation process, by assisting in covering costs associated with certification. SAI is also asking buyers to recognize that SA8000 is equal, if not more rigorous, than their own company codes of conduct which they are already using in the factories in Vietnam.

Additionally, SAI is working with private sector, civil society, the trade union and government actors to ensure a transparent, comprehensive program for promoting the implementation of SA8000. To do this, SAI seeks to identify and address potential challenges to implementing the standard according to its original intent.

SAI has also provided SA8000 supplier training to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam through partnerships with the Ho Chi Minh City Textile and Embroidery Association (AGTEK) and the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (LEFASO) 

SAI’s program in Vietnam is based on four pillars: research and evaluation; local alliances; training; and international communications and marketing.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
  • Develop an information base that will help place SA8000 training and outreach programs in the proper context and facilitate future evaluation of the program’s impact.
  • Build strategic alliances and establish a local presence in order to promote and ensure overall effective implementation of the SA8000 standard.
  • Provide training on the SA8000 standard, management systems for implementing the standard to workplace managers, workers, workers representatives, government officials, business leaders and academics.
EXPECTED OUTCOMES

For many buyers, the SA8000 certification will be an easy way to ensure they are sourcing from a reputable supplier, a factor that is increasingly important in the global marketplace. SAI looks forward to playing a constructive role in this process.

ACTIVITIES IN 2003
  • Advanced auditor training course
  • Two joint worker-manager trainings, followed up by one-on-one factory visits
  • Two calibration meetings
  • Four Advisory Committee meetings
  • Certified facilities training
  • One train-the-trainer course
  • Ongoing stakeholder meetings
ACTIVITIES IN 2004

Capacity Building 
SAI advanced its objective to build local capacity to improve working conditions through the following activities:

  • SAI moderated four Corporate Social Responsibility seminars. 150 key local stakeholders attended these events. Follow-up activities covered:
    CSR workshops: 40 factories
    Training courses: 42 labor inspectors
    Publicity campaign: 10 articles
  • The first draft of a SA8000 Self Assessment Tool was finished and tested at five factories. This tool is designed for factory managers and workers to analyze the gap between current factory conditions and what is needed to implement SA8000.
  • One supplier training: 14 small and medium factories participated, covering 20,040 workers.
  • One auditor calibration meeting
  • Five witness audits at SA8000 certified factories
  • One Advisory Committee meeting
Marketing and Communications
SAI’s ongoing efforts in Vietnam include regular contact with the certification bodies, factories, buyers, Vietnam government, NGOs, and others interested in or utilizing the SA8000 standard. At least 15 articles and news on SA8000 have run in key newspapers in the country over the past year.

(Source SAI website)
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