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More social responsibility with SA8000 certification

The Hera Group has set off on the path towards obtaining SA8000 certification. This is the most widespread international standard for the development of a system for managing corporate responsibility towards employees. The SA8000 standard has eight key principles: child labour, forced and compulsory labour, health and safety, freedom of association and right to collective bargaining, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours, remuneration. Of course in Italy many aspects are covered by the law and contracts: the SA8000 was developed to improve working conditions all over the world and so its application must be contextualised in the social and regulatory framework in which it operates.

To obtain the certification within the established timeframes Hera has launched three “worksites”, which correspond to three working groups: Acquisitions and Contracts, Staff Management, Health and Safety. Of particular importance is the work of the first group which must analyse and implement SA8000 criteria with regard to the supply chain and adopt actions that guarantee its observation.

The SA8000 actively involves suppliers and the working relationship with their personnel. In particular the company must monitor the commitment on the part of its suppliers to social responsibility (but also subcontractors and, where appropriate, subsuppliers) and establish suitable procedures for their selection and evaluation.

Around 4,000 suppliers will be involved and asked to make a specific pledge consisting of the signing of a letter of intent. Additional methods, more structured and demanding in nature, have been established to involve the most important suppliers: the filling out of a questionnaire and their consent for inspections to be carried out at sites where they do work or carry out services for Hera. The most important suppliers are identified by referring to the categories of goods, services and work acquired by the Group that are most relevant to the requisites of SA8000: with some suppliers in-depth ‘pilot’ inspections will soon be launched, to be completed by the end of 2012, in order to validate their methods, and this will be followed by a broader application as of 2013.

The project forms part of a broader training initiative that has recently involved over 700 Hera technical staff that manage supplier relations. The daily controls they carry out are in fact closely connected with the requisites of SA8000: many of the issues dealt with by the standard have formed part of their activities for a long time such as, for example, the monitoring of aspects relating to work safety.

The SA8000 is therefore an additional tool for monitoring, improving and qualifying the relationship with the world of suppliers. The company plans to leverage on it in order to take action with regard to the social fabric with which it directly or indirectly interacts, whether in the community or beyond. With this commitment to more responsible acquisitions, the Hera Group stands alongside all those in the world that actively seek to improving working conditions.

View the SA8000 standard on the SAI site
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