News From SAI May Advisory Board Meeting
Letter from Alice Tepper Marlin, President


Alice Tepper Marlin, SAI President and CEO with Amy Hall, Chair of SAI's Advisory Board and Director of Social Consciousness at Eileen Fisher
Photo By: Joe Iarocci 

Convening SAI's wonderful multi-stakeholder Advisory Board is one of my favorite jobs. Just look at the engaged, energized attendees at our 3-day spring meeting, hosted in Hamburg, Germany, by Tchibo GmbH, one of the world's largest coffee roasters and a very popular retailer in Germany. The company is also among the top sustainability leaders in Europe and the world.


Achim Lohrie of Tchibo and Laura Rubbo of The Walt Disney Company kicked off a fascinating discussion of new thinking and initiatives around the rapidly growing engagement of governments, especially in Europe. The German Alliance for Sustainable Textiles, in formation, is among the most ambitious. The aim under discussion is to extend decent work well beyond cut & sew, all the way down the value chain. Cotton may be expected to have at least 20% organic and sustainably grown by 2020 and 100% by 2050. This initiative involves retailers, unions and ministries, has had input into the G-7 agreements, and is expected to apply not only to German retailers, but also to any retailer doing business in Germany.   


 We reported excellent progress towards SAI's 2015 measurable goals to 

  • EMBED human rights in company operations, 
  • EMPOWER people to protect worker rights, 
  • PROPEL consensus based on sustainable solutions and 
  • INNOVATE to transform, with tools to enable stakeholders to advance human rights in the workplace.
(Left to Right) AB Member Laura Rubbo, AB member and Director International Labor Standards at The Walt Disney Company; Observer Adam Greene, Senior Advisor in the ILO Bureau for Employers' Activities; and Observer Vera Fenske, Vice President Sustainability at DEG
Photo By: Joe Iarocci 

TenSquared was a major focus of the meeting. Jane Hwang, SAI COO, was joined in this discussion by Rohini Barreto, SAI Director of Strategic Programs, Stephanie Wilson, SAI Senior Program Manager, and Dundar Sahin, SAI Authorized Rep and AKUT Institute Director in Turkey. 14 TenSquared worker-manager teams comprise the initial 3 waves in Turkey, from a wide range of industries, including steel, textile and apparel, call centers, pharmacutical, label manufacturing, robotics, electronics, etc.


The NYU Capstone  Project delivered a highly positive independent evaluation of TenSquared in Brazil, finding that 8-16 months after the completion of TenSquared projects, there was marked engagement of workers, new openness between workers & managers, impressive gains in personal development, self-confidence, empowerment and ability to approach management, and markedly improved OHS practices and awareness. 

AB members provided advice on the TenSquared adaptions planned in China and Indiato further scale its remarkable impact as well as the licensing approach to make the TenSquared sustainable after expenditure of the generous grants provided by The Walt Disney Company. For more information about TenSquared,  click here.


TenSquared was selected at our Fall 2014 AB meeting as a pooled project, meaning all Signatory Members are committed together to working on it in 2015.


SAI was happy to welcome Board of Director members and Observers to the meeting.

  • From the Board of Directors: Joe Iarocci, Managing Partner at  Servant Leadership Now and Jan Furstenborg, Former Head of UNI Commerce Global Union
  • Observers were Vera Fenske of DEG (Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH), Adam Greene of the ILONanda Bergstein ofTchibo GmbH, and Christian Ewert of the FTA (Foreign Trade Association of Europe). We thank each of them for their informative presentations and their participation in our discussions.

Nanda Bergstein discussed Tchibo's approach to Living Wages and Freedom of Association in its worker/manager & producer/buyer WE program and in the new ACT project that aims to enable raises in wages and agreement of what a Living Wage is through collective bargaining, in a manner designed to raise wages that levels playing field where price competition has tended to press wages down. Amy Hall, Chair of the SAI AB and Director of Social Consciousness at Eileen Fisher, and Alex Katz, SAI Manager of Stakeholder Research and Engagement, discussed SAI Living Wage projects. The SAI Living Wage project has already achieved agreement among half a dozen leading ESG standards groups on a definition of Living Wage and the sophisticated Anker methodology to calculate it.  Already an impressive group of academics in several countries including China have been trained and qualified in the Anker method, which includes extensive data collection and local stakeholder engagement, and are calculating Living Wage benchmarks in dozens of locations.  The benchmarks can be a starting point for dialog between workers, managers and stakeholders about wage levels and how companies can make progress towards Living Wage. Read more about SAI's Living Wage work below and learn more about our Living Wage webinar here.

SAI is also engaged in several projects with companies aimed at understanding how they might implement progress towards a Living Wage.


SAI's AB during the Spring 2015 Advisory Board meeting at Tchibo in Hamburg, Germany
(Front row and then behind, left to right) Rochelle Zaid - Executive Director, Social Accountability Accreditation Services; Alice Tepper Marlin - President and Founder, Social Accountability International; Federico Tani - Translator, CGIL; Vera Fenske - Vice President Sustainability, DEG; Margaret Jungk - Founding Director of the Human Rights and Business Department, Danish Institute for Human Rights; Rohini Barreto - Director of Strategic Programs, SAI; Luna Lee - Human Rights Leader, Eileen Fisher; Christian Ewert - Director General, The Foreign Trade Association; Dominique Gangneux - Proxy,Rainforest Alliance; Rossella Ravagli - Head of Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility, Gucci; Achim Lohrie- Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Tchibo GmbH; Jane Hwang - Chief Operating Officer, SAI; Alex Katz- Senior Manager Research & Stakeholder Relations, SAI; Amy Hall - Advisory Board Chair & Director of Social Consciousness, Eileen Fisher; Christie Daly - Senior Manager Corporate Programs, SAI; Dundar Sahin - Director of AKUT Search and Rescue Association; Badrinath Gulur - Technical Director, SAI; David Zwiebel - National Child Labor Committee; Laura Rubbo - Director of International Labor Standards, The Walt Disney Company; Dorianne Beyer - General Counsel, National Child Labor Committee; Sunil Bhaskaran - Vice President Corporate Services, Tata Steel Limited; Ivano Corraini - Lead of the National Legal Office, CGIL; Adam Greene - Observer Senior Advisor, International Labour Organization; Joe Iarocci - Founding Partner - Cairnway Center for Servant Leadership Excellence


Michael Toffel of Harvard Business School gave a presentation about Monitoring Global Supply Chains, reporting on his impressive findings with a focus on auditor competence.


David Zwiebel, Chair of the Assurance Committee and representing the National Child Labor Committee, presented the new Auditor Competence requirements for the SA8000 system and a one-year pilot on working hours in China was approved.

For more information about SAI's Advisory Board, please view our website or email