SA8000 is an Social Accountability Certification for production sites developed by Social Accountability International.
It is the most established certification system for Social Accountability.
SA8000 was initiated by Social Accountability International and basically attempts to enforce a social contract implied in international labour law. It is a comprehensive, global, verifiable standard for auditing and certifying compliance with corporate responsibility. It is applicable to both small and large companies that want to demonstrate to customers and other stakeholders that they care. The heart of the standard is the belief that all workplaces should be managed in such a manner that basic human rights are supported and that management is prepared to accept accountability for this.
The most basic commitment is that to eliminate human slavery in all workplaces. There are about 27 million people held in slavery worldwide, many of them in support or service or resource businesses that supply global enterprises.
The cost of acquiring a certification for a factory can be up to 10-12.000 USD. The cost is dependent on the size of the site and local price levels.
See also Cocoa Protocol for a commodity sector approach to this issue.
See w:SA8000 for more information
There is an article on this in Wikipedia: SA8000 and if something mentioned here is not there it'll be integrated into the Wikipedia article where it can serve a wider audience.