First party assessment occurs when an organization assesses itself. For example, a factory may conduct an internal audit seeking to ensure that it meetsSA8000. This could be done in preparation for additional assessments. This type of assessment does not constitute certification, but is a desirable first step.
Second party assessment occurs when an organization is assessed by a purchaser of its products against a standard selected by the purchaser. For example, a brand name garment retailer may audit a manufacturing or assembly contractor against SA8000. This type of assessment does not constitute certification.
Third party assessment occurs when a facility is voluntarily assessed against a uniform standard by an independent, external body that is neither a direct purchaser nor a consultant. The assessment can be conducted by any SAI-accredited body which could be a certification agency, a management systems auditing firm, an NGO, or a trade union. Any qualified agency may be accredited by SAI to audit against and certify compliance with SA8000. The assessment will address working conditions at specified locations and activities of the organization seeking certification. Company performance deemed to be in conformance with the standard is acknowledged by the granting of a certificate that can be displayed as specified and its contents communicated to relevant parties.