It would be funny if it wasn’t sad, or “how to make a lie becomes official.”

An umbrela factory

An umbrela factory

We frequently base our newsletter on an example recently found during an audit. This month, we are taking an example ironically taken from an audit done the day of the release of last month “Hall of shame” which was a highly unjustified SA 8000 certification. This month, the factory was also SA 8000 certified despite working more than 77 hours per week, despite some fines for workers and many other points.

But the interesting part of this audit was the conclusion of the factory management. She was quite upset we had pointed out the inconsistencies of some records and stressed on the importance to our customer of getting the real records. She claimed: “if the customer wants the real records, we can send the records directly to the customer, you don’t need to come next time!”

That’s obviously quite surprising. She basically told us there is no need for an auditor to come to check the truth while if it is to check the falsified documents the auditor is needed. The purpose of the auditor is then no more to assess the factory but to assess its falsification process. A certificate would then certify the quality of the falsification?

How is it possible we (the brands, the auditing companies…) have mixed up the mind of the factories’ management so much that they think an audit is to make a lie official?

Back on last month’s article.

Last month news leads to many comments and several people told us to contact the SAAS (the organization managing the accreditation of auditing companies providing SA 8000 certification service). We have been contacted by the SAAS with a request to fill the “Uniform Complaint Report Form.” The purpose of the newsletter was not to point out one auditing company and the example was taken only as an illustration of a frequent situation. (The purpose of the newsletter is on the contrary to analyze the audit process and its consequences on a global point of view and to inform on some frequently met situations.) It was then not fair to point out this specific example while I could have pointed other ones (as the one of this month newsletter for example). So I tried to open the discussion with SAI and SAAS on how they intend to handle the huge gap between the prevailing practices in countries like China and the requirements of the SA8000. This gap should lead a compliant factory to be completely disconnected from its market. During this discussion, I will keep my approach of always trying to be fair, and keep the information gathered during an audit for the customer of this audit, allowing them to take a sensible decision.


  1. Eliane Mota Fukunaga

    Pierig I am sad with You. Certification does not mean if company comply with minimum requirement considering workers dignity, liberties or international conventions, for some certification companies and enterprises it is only a paper to grant business. No culture change, no new values and no ethical profit.

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