Social certifications - what does it mean?

GOTS, Fairtrade, and PETA are examples of certifications with a focus on the working environment, environmental commitments, and better animal husbandry in the textile,- and fashion industries. They set environmental and ethical requirements, as well as labor laws, from raw material to final product to promote better working conditions and reduce suffering (for people and animals) and the huge climate footprint caused by the textile industry.

These are perhaps some of the most common or well-known certificates, but there are quite a few other certifications focusing on other aspects – for example, social.

The three below are examples of so-called social certifications, and they are based on the convention on human rights. This includes, among other things, the prohibition of child labor and the abolition of various types of discrimination.

Founded in 1997, SA8000® is a certification that encourages organizations to develop and implement social safety nets in the workplace. These are requirements that reflect labor regulations included in the Convention on Human Rights. For an organization to be granted an SA8000 certificate, it is required that they work in agreement with several requirements, these include no child labor, no forced labor, and legal working hours. Read about all the requirements here. Local Accredited Certification Bodies are responsible for the audit (independent review) and they visit the factories and evaluate them through employee interviews and activity records.

WRAP is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting ethical and safe production; it is the world's largest certification program with a complex audit process. The WRAP program certifies facilities according to the 12-WRAP principle included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A WRAP-accredited monitoring organization is selected to audit the factory in question, after which the audit is handed over to a WRAP team who decides whether they are compliant or not. 12 WRAP includes, among other things: The prohibition of harassment and assault, freedom of association and collective bargaining, and compensation and benefits according to law. Read about all the requirements here.

Sedex by SMETA
SMETA is an audit procedure covering working conditions, health and safety, business ethics, and the environment. It (the review format) was developed by Sedex, the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange, which is a non-profit organization that supports companies that wish to promote ethical and social standards in the workplace.

"Companies use SMETA to understand and make improvements to working conditions and environmental performance in their operations and supply chain."

So how does it happen? After a completed audit - by one of SMETA's accounting firms - where you as a company/organization/business or supplier are helped to understand standards for work, health and safety, environmental performance, and ethics in the workplace, SMETA provides an action plan to try to improve and solve the problems that have been discovered. The audit itself is designed to help protect workers from unsafe conditions, overwork, discrimination, low pay, and forced labor, among other things.

Read more about how we work with social certifications here!