SAI e-Newsletter: RAGS Project to Reduce Gender Discrimination in India

Jay Owen SRI/ESG News


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RAGS Project to Reduce Gender Discrimination in India 

This 3 year program in garment factories is a humble effort to change the lives of women and to help establish a communications platform for workers and managers  

RAGS Project Impact: Vam Hi Fashions, Gurgaon, India

Video of Sumit Sahni, Factory Manager at Vam Hi Fashions, who explains the impact of his factory’s participation in SAI’s RAGS Project in their workplace:

Since 2010, SAI’s RAGS Project to reduce gender discrimination in the Indian ready-made garment sector has operated in factories in three cities- Bangalore, New Delhi and Tirupur.

Among the significant outcomes are training many more people than targeted and changes in attitudes and understanding across the board.  The significance of project impact is evident from the testimony of individuals. Stories from the factories that participated in the program convey the depth of the project’s impact at the factory level, where the future career outlook for women was dramatically improved through project outcomes such as improved internal policies and gender dialogue, achieved by establishing a platform for workers and managers to communicate on sensitive issues.

During the 3 year RAGS project, SAI’s team led by Rishi Sher Singh convened 22 gender discrimination workshops across three cities – training a total of 605 participants representing 201 factories surpassing the initial targets by over 50% and receiving a supplementary grant…>>Read more

To view photos from the Project, visit SAI’s Facebook Page: For more information about the project, contact SAI India Program Director Rishi Sher Singh – [email protected].

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Brazil: “Rapid Results” Approach to Worker Health & Safety

Updates from Wave 1’s 30-day mark of the project’s 100-day timeline

Group photo from the Brazil Worker Engagement workshop in Sao Paulo. View more photos from this training on SAI’s Facebook page:

On July 17-19, SAI with the Rapid Results Institute convened a workshop to launch Wave 2 of SAI’s Worker Engagement Program in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The program blends dynamic elements- 100-day Rapid Results change management methodologies and Labor Link mobile technology – with SAI’s management systems-based approach to identify the root causes of occupational health & safety (OHS) issues and drive measurable improvement in the workplace. Special focus is given to the development of a worker-manager team, identification of an ambitious and measurable goal and developing and implementing new workplace processes.


In the 30 days after the launch of Wave 1, which convened four companies, factory facilities representing over 3,100 workers across various industries, such as electronics manufacturing to petrochemical inspection, there were several developments. Once the support of senior management had been established, each facility created a worker-manager team to address the root causes of health and safety issues, develop a specific goal to make the workplace safer and more productive, and map out a process to reach that goal in 100 days. Facilitators and coaches guide the teams to meet the goal and make process changes to sustain the improvements behind the 100 days.

At their Quarterly Review Meeting after 25 days, Wave 1’s elected worker-manager team leaders reported that>>Read more


To view photos from this workshop, visit SAI’s Facebook page: article was written by SAI Research Intern Daniel Macmillen. For more information, contact Daniel –[email protected] or SAI Communications Manager Joleen Ong – [email protected].


Tata Steel Earns 4th SA8000 Certification

The company has demonstrated compliance to SA8000 for nearly a decade

Tata Steel achieves SA8000 certification for the fourth time in Jamshedpur, India. View a video of this ceremony on youtube:[Photo credit: DNV]

SAI is pleased to recognize Tata Steel’s four-time achievement of SA8000 certification, awarded in Jamshedpur, India on August 8.

The certificate was presented by SAAS-Accredited certification body, Det Norske Veritas (DNV) to Tata Steel for demonstrating its compliance with SA8000. The company has achieved four successful cycles of SA8000 certification in 2004, 2007, 2010 and now in 2013 as SA8000 certification must be renewed every 3 years.

“We go through audits every six months for SA8000 and look forward to feedback which helps us keep up with global practices and emerging trends,” said H M Nerurkar, Managing Director of Tata Steel. “Now onto the fourth certification cycle, I reaffirm Tata Steel’s commitment to improving employee relations practices not just for our own workforce but also in the supply chain we are part of.

SAI Advisory Board member, Mr. Sunil Bhaskaran, Vice President  (Corporate Services), Tata Steel and Management Representative for SA8000 Management Review Committee noted that Tata Steel in the future, in compliance with all existing standards would also focus on the service areas and has already implemented feedback received out of various audits. Also, the SA8000 standard would require to be better communicated to the contractors, suppliers and vendors.”

According to Mr. P N Singh, President of Tata Workers’ Union, “Tata Steel achieved the certification due to the…>>Read more

View the article published in the Hindu: For more information about SA8000, contact SAI Sr. Manager of Research & Stakeholder Relations Alex Katz – [email protected].    

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Pillars in Practice Project Update: Bangladesh

Interview with the CSR Centre Bangladesh on the climate for labor rights in Bangladesh

Farhana Sharmin, Program Officer at the <strong class='StrictlyAutoTagBold'>CSR</strong> Centre Bangladesh” src=”” width=”156″ height=”194″ name=”1409d96c85562bd6_ACCOUNT.IMAGE.1016″ align=”left” hspace=”4″ vspace=”5″ /><span style=Farhana Sharmin is the Program Officer at the CSR Centre Bangladesh, an implementation partner in SAI and the Danish Institute for Human Rights’ ‘Pillars in Practice‘ (PIP) Project. The project is centered on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In October, the Project will convene its second multi-stakeholder advisory committee meeting in Dhaka, following up on progress from the May 2013 meeting. Since May, there have been substantial changes in Bangladesh’s labor laws, in addition to the international media spotlight following the Rana Plana tragedy.

SAI Communications Manager Joleen Ong interviewed Ms. Sharmin, who reflected on the PIP meeting in May, her experience with SAI’s SA8000 course and more broadly, the climate for human rights in Bangladesh:

Joleen Ong: Can you tell me about your role at the CSR center Bangladesh? Also the CSR Center’s role in the Pillar in Practice course?

Farhana Sharmin: I’ve been at the CSR Centre for a year and a half as the Program Officer, where I’m involved in programs, research and help to organize a lot of trainings that focus on CSR to raise awareness, as well as other specific areas such as access to agriculture and gender equity.

As an implementing partner in the Pillars in Practice Program in Bangladesh, I am engaged with promoting the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights in the garment sector. A big part of the CSR Centre’s role is to raise awareness across all stakeholder groups.

Joleen Ong: The PIP Program’s MAC meeting in Dhaka in May was quite well attended. In your opinion, what was the most interesting moment that you observed?

Farhana Sharmin: There was a breakout session where we asked participants to prioritize the human rights issues in Bangladesh that needed more focus. The priorities that were identified were forced labor…>>Read more

‘Like’ the Pillars in Practice Program on Facebook:  For more information, contact SAI Sr. Manager of Research & Stakeholder Relations Alex Katz- [email protected].  

KPMG Sustainable Supply Chains

SAI leads seminar on securing long term business viability through sustainable supply chains in India

From left: Yasir Ahmad, KPMG Technical Director; Rishi Sher Singh, SAI India Program Director; Santhosh Jayaram, KPMG India Technical Director – Sustainability and Climate Change

On June 17, SAI India Program Director Rishi Sher Singh led a half-day session in Gurgaon, India in partnership with KPMG –“Sustainable Supply Chains: Securing Long Term Business Viability.” The event sought to raise awareness on sustainability standards and link to regional developments for CSR and government requirements.

Mr. Singh presented on how SA8000 and its trainings and capacity building efforts can be valuable for social requirements, also how SA8000 links to local requirements. He also led a session about opportunity and challenges on adoption of social standards for large companies as well as highlighting best practices.

Most attendees were KPMG clients from a diverse group of sectors, including communications, chemicals, infrastructure, oil and gas, and steel. In the next few months, more sessions are planned for additional cities, including Mumbai, Pune and possibly Bangalore…>>Read more

For more information, contact SAI India Program Director Rishi Sher Singh – [email protected].

How Companies Can Implement the UN Guiding Principles for Business & Human Rights

Two-day training event demonstrates how companies can transform principles to practice



Sept. 23-24, 2013 
Utrecht, The Netherlands 

June 2011, the UN adopted the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, written by UN Special Representative John Ruggie. One of the tenets of the principles is that businesses need to respect human rights in their company and in their supply chains. But what does this mean and how is it accomplished?


The training addresses these questions with sections on:

  • Content, scope  and implications of the Guiding Principles  
  • How companies can meet their responsibility to respect human rights  
  • Distinguishing whether a company has caused, contributed to or is linked to adverse human rights impacts, and what actions are needed by the company as a response
  • Avoiding adverse impacts in the supply chain through collaborative approaches and mutual buyer-supplier responsibility  
  • Key human rights risks and how to prioritize among them
  • The business case for human rights 

Additionally the course introduces a six-step method…>>Read more

To learn more about SAI and ICCO’s training course and handbook on how to implement the UN Guiding Principles for Business & Human Rights, visit For more information, please contact SAI Training Manager Stephanie Wilson – [email protected].  

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Webcast: Effective Social Compliance Management Systems

Improving Social Performance in the Global Supply Chain


Host: MetricStream
: Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013

Time: 9 am PST | 12 pm EST

Duration: 1 hour

It is increasingly clear that management systems are the key to improving social compliance in a company and in their supply chain. But what does a good social compliance management system look like?

Join this webcast with SAI Executive Advisor Craig Moss and Sonal Sinha, Associate Vice President of Industry Solutions at MetricStream as they discuss social management systems, SAI’s SA8000 standard and Social Fingerprint® tools.

Salient discussion points include:

  • Adopt a management system approach to measure and improve social performance in your supply chain
  • Key components of an effective social compliance management system
  • Leverage SA8000 standard for creating effective social management systems
  • Social Fingerprint® and system rating tools to evaluate program effectiveness
  • Automate and streamline program elements of social compliance programs

At SAI, the belief is that a management system is “trained, committed…>>Read more


For more details about the webcast and to register visit: For more information, please contact SAI Training Manager Stephanie Wilson – [email protected].  

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Meet SAI’s New Intern: Kritika Joshi

We are pleased to welcome Ms. Joshi, based in Delhi, to the team 

SAI India Intern Kritika Joshi works with SAI’s Alex Katz at a training in New Delhi on the impact of overtime and productivity on working conditions,

Kritika Joshi is a student of M.Sc. Environment studies and resources management at the department of natural resources, TERI University, New Delhi specializing in sustainability and corporate social responsibility. She is a Biotechnologist and has earned her Bachelor’s degree from the School of Studies in Zoology and Biotechnology, Vikram University, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India.

Hailing from rural and urban background, she has observed the changing status of women in different societal contexts. “Watching women turning into an object for a predominant section of society has invoked me…>>Read more


To learn more about SAI Internships, visit For more information, contact Kritka – [email protected] or SAI Communications Manager Joleen Ong – [email protected].

Highlights & Announcements

SAI Communications Manager Joleen Ong during the question portion of a ‘social media for NGOs’ workshop in Faridabad, India.

On August 10, SAI Communications Manager Joleen Ong led a two-hour workshop in Faridabad, India at the South Asian Fundraising Group’s (SAFRG) 24th Annual Conference. Ms. Ong spoke about how NGOs can integrate social media tools to increase visibility and support fundraising efforts. The audience included over 20 representatives from global NGOs, including people from India, the Philippines, Thailand, US and the UK. Learn more

‘The Five Excuses Marketeers Use for Failing to Promote Sustainability’

SAI Advisory Board member Tensie Whelan, President of the Rainforest Alliance, wrote a guest article in the Guardian’s Sustainable Business Blog about how many US companies are increasing their sustainability, but are reluctant to promote their efforts. Read it

GoodWeave’s Child-Labor-Free Rug Certification – A Step in the Right Direction 
Interesting article in the Guardian about GoodWeave’s product certification in the handmade rug industry, which has helped to raise awareness of child labour and expose malpractice. Read it

White Paper: The 2013 CXO Study Sustainability and the C-Suite

In July 2013, SAI Authorized Representative Newport Consulting Group released this white paper, which examines the leadership engagement, influence, motivations and engagement tools of C-suite executives. Read it

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