Our value to Society
Letter from the Chairman and CEO
For SGS, sustainability is part of our DNA. Our sustainability performance is widely recognized internationally.
We are pleased to share this year’s Corporate Sustainability Report with you. This report deals exclusively with SGS’s sustainability performance in 2019, yet it would be remiss of us not to acknowledge the unprecedented outbreak, which is one of the most disruptive pandemics in history. We do not yet know what the full impact of the COVID-19 virus will be, medically or economically, but it is already clear that the social and economic disruptions will be deep, broad and long-lasting.
During these difficult times, sustainability continues to remain a part of our DNA, and our Purpose-driven Leadership model continues to place value creation at the heart of our company. By enabling a better, safer and interconnected world, we deliver value, throughout our whole value chain, for our stakeholders and the wider society. Our sustainability leadership has again been widely recognized internationally, thanks to our continuous positive performance against our Sustainability Ambitions 2020. We invite you to find out more in our 2019 Sustainability Report.
The SGS Sustainability Report 2019 is aligned with the GRI Standards and is externally assured by Deloitte.
In 2019, SGS continued to deliver best-in-class sustainability performance.
The confidence and trust that our services create rely on our employees and suppliers behaving with the highest levels of integrity.
We add value to society together with our employees. The expertise of our people is central to our performance as a company and to the positive impact we have on society. We empower our employees to succeed in a safe, diverse and inclusive workplace, where everyone is treated fairly and with respect.
To protect our planet for future generations, we follow a carbon neutrality strategy, use resources efficiently and reduce waste. This helps us deliver sustainable value for society.
We want to create a positive, measurable and lasting impact on the local communities where we operate. We give back through projects that are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and focus on education, empowerment and environmental sustainability.
05DJSI Industry Leader
For a sixth consecutive year, SGS has been named industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) World and Europe.
06Platinum rating from Ecovadis
SGS has received the new Platinum rating from Ecovadis, which is awarded to companies scoring in the top 1% of their industry sector.
07A List Status Awarded by CDP
SGS has again been recognized with CDP "A List" status for climate change. This is in addition to our CDP Supplier Engagement Leader award for driving sustainability throughout the supply chain.
2019 Sustainability HighlightsOur Purpose-driven Leadership model places value creation at the heart of our company. Find out our 2019 Sustainability Highlights and discover how we are creating value to society by enabling a better, safer and interconnected world.
Sustainability at SGS
Our Purpose-driven Leadership puts sustainability at the heart of our company culture and policies. We are committed to creating net positive value to society. By aligning the SGS 2020 Sustainability Ambitions with the Sustainable Development Goals, we are leading the broader corporate sector in building a more sustainable economy, environment and society.
- 4.6million hours of employee training across the network
- 25%decrease in total greenhouse gas emissions since 2014
- 6,650million CHF value of positive societal benefits generated by SGS
Sustainability at SGS
Being a sustainable business is at the heart of our activities. Find out more about how we create long-term value to society.Watch the video
Our Material Topics
We conduct materiality assessments in order to identify the topics that are most material to our stakeholders.
In 2019, we carried out an in-depth materiality assessment to gather inputs with which to update our Business Materiality Matrix. This process involved a consultation with over 800 stakeholders in 74 countries. We combined their inputs with evaluations made by SGS’s Operations Council to determine the topics with the potential to have the highest impact on the organization.
Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were developed by the United Nations (UN) as a comprehensive and universally recognized framework of global priorities and aspirations for 2030. Our Sustainability Ambitions 2020 are closely linked to the SDGs, and our services support them. We have mapped our direct operations, supply chain and services against the SDGs to guide us in developing aligned strategic plans, allocating resources and developing associated local management and reporting processes.
What is Value to Society?Value to Society describes the value that we create beyond our financial return. SGS adds value to society in three ways: managing our direct operations against our Sustainability Ambitions, promoting sustainability in our supply chain and addressing global challenges through our leading services.
Our Approach to Sustainability
We use our scale and expertise to enable a more sustainable future.
We ensure that we add value to society across our supply chain and direct operations, while offering services that help our customers achieve their own sustainability objectives.
Through Purpose-Driven Leadership We Are Enabling a More Sustainable Future
Our Sustainability Strategy is shaped by our focus on Purpose-driven Leadership. We are committed to adding value to society and enabling a better, safer and interconnected world.
The SGS Sustainability Strategy is based on an analysis of Global Drivers (megatrends, Sustainable Development Goals and our Risk and Material Topics) and is built on four pillars: Professional Excellence, People, Environment and Community. Each pillar is supported by Group-wide policies, global programs and local initiatives.Read more about our Sustainability Strategy
Underpinning the Delivery of our Sustainability Strategy
A strong governance structure underpins the delivery of our sustainability strategy.
The Board of Directors is responsible for the direction of the Group and reviews sustainability risks as part of its annual risk review. The Board is also responsible for SGS’s top-level strategy, mission and values.
Our Operations Council takes this top-level strategy forward, approving and implementing more detailed strategies, policies and targets through all operations across the Group.
The Sustainability Steering Committee supports the Operations Council and meets twice a year to develop our sustainability strategy, review our sustainability management performance and approach, and agree on core programs and targets.
Our Sustainability Goals for 2020
In 2014, as part of our Sustainability Strategy, we have identified a number of sustainability goals that we are working toward until 2020. We set challenging targets for our own operations across our four pillars: Professional Excellence, People, Environment and Community.
Several of these goals have been achieved early. In 2019, we continued to deliver excellent results against our Sustainability Ambitions.
Measuring and Valuing Our Positive Economic, Social and Environmental Impacts
SGS has developed an Impact Valuation Framework that values the societal impacts that result from our activities across six capitals (financial, manufactured, social and relationship, human, natural and intellectual) and measures them in a common unit: the Swiss Franc. These impacts can be either positive or negative in order to reflect the associated benefit or cost.
This framework has been developed to enable an understanding of the value of our non-financial performance, both to SGS and to society. It guides us in maximizing our positive impact and minimizing our negative impact and ultimately provides us with a more holistic view of the value we add, beyond our financial return.
SGS is Best-in-Class for Sustainability Performance
SGS has once again been recognized for our sustainability leadership by a number of major organizations evaluating corporate sustainability performance. This recognition encourages us to continue to be ambitious and to strive to create ever greater value to society.
- SGS named industry leader by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the sixth consecutive year
- SGS awarded CDP “A List” status - SGS given the new Platinum rating from EcoVadis
- SGS named as a CDP Supplier Engagement Leader - SGS given the RobecoSam gold class award for its excellent sustainability performance
- SGS included in the FTSE4Good Index for the third year - SGS named as one of the 50 most sustainable companies worldwide by SEAL Awards
Sustainability Case Studies 2019
In 2019, our projects focused on adding value to society by enabling a better, safer and interconnected world.
These initiatives highlighted tangible actions being taken within our four Sustainability pillars - Professional Excellence, People, Environment and Community. Under each pillar, we use Group-wide policies, global programs and local initiatives to reach our goals. Many initiatives were developed worldwide in 2019 including: