SGS Corporate Sustainability Report 2009

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


As the worlds leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company we help our customers to build trust in their own products, services and operations. It is therefore only right that we meet their expectations, as well as the expectations of investors, by applying the same level of integrity and scrutiny to our own operations.



2. 2 review 3 100% of employees are required to sign the Code of Integrity and Professional Conduct and receive training on it 3. 4 5 contents C Who we are 6 Why WE need to be sure 7 About this report 8 Our reporting scope 9 Further information and feedback 9 Joint statement from our Chairman and CEO 10 Our approach to corporate sustainability 14 Governance 15 Sustainability management system 16 Materiality 18 Our Stakeholders 20 Measuring our performance 24 Professional excellence 28 Our contribution to sustainable development 29 Integrity 30 Risk management 33 What you told us 33 Highlights and case studies 34 Looking ahead 35 Our People 38 People management 39 Our performance 41 Highlights and case studies 42 What you told us 43 Looking ahead 43 Environment 46 Environmental management 49 Our performance 50 Highlights and case studies 51 What you told us 53 Looking AHEAD 53 Community 56 Community management 57 Highlights and case studies 58 Our performance 61 What you told us 61 looking ahead 61 Statement assurance 62 Benchmark GRI G3 Guidelines 64 Closing remarks 67 Glossary 68 Summary of reported data 69 Information 70 4. 76 whoweare SGS is the worlds leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, headquartered in Geneva. We employ over 59,000 people to operate a global network of more than 1,000 offices and laboratories around the world. Our organisation comprises ten business units operating across ten geographical regions. Each region is led by a Chief Operating Officer (COO). Each business line is led by an Executive Vice President (EVP). The COOs and EVPs, in conjunction with the functional Senior Vice Presidents (SVPs) and the Groups Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel make up the Operations Council which meets regularly throughout the year to determine Group-wide strategies and priorities and review performance. Management is overseen by a Board of eight non-executive Directors, including the Chairman, Sergio Marchionne. From our beginnings in 1878 as a grain inspection house, we have grown to become an industry leader. The Company, with 2009 revenues of CHF 4.7 billion and an operating margin of 17.3%, is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. An annual general meeting of shareholders is held with the outcomes posted on the SGS website. Why WE needto be sureAs the worlds leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company we help our customers to build trust in their own products, services and operations. It is therefore only right that we meet their expectations, as well as the expectations of investors, by applying the same level of integrity and scrutiny to our own operations. It is imperative that we conduct our business professionally and with absolute integrity. However, we want to go beyond this and fully embrace the opportunities and responsibilities that come from operating all over the world. We also know that to retain our leadership position we must continue to engage our stakeholders in demonstrating how sustainability is an integral and visible part of how we do business and involve them in the development of our services. Whowe are 5. 8 9 ourreport About this report This is the first SGS Corporate Sustainability Report, prepared for our employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, investors and other stakeholders interested in our approach to doing business responsibly. It provides an initial account of our responsibilities and performance and explains how we are managing our sustainability agenda, through the services we deliver to customers and within our own operations. Going forward, SGS will report its sustainability performance annually. In this report, we have highlighted some of the outstanding efforts of employees and associates who are contributing to sustainable development. We want it to serve as a call to action to each employee to embrace our sustainability strategy and do what they can to minimise our impacts and optimise our positive contribution to a more sustainable world. At the same time, we want to inspire our customers and other stakeholders to engage with us on our journey through active dialogue and collaboration. We have chosen to report under the four pillars of our corporate sustainability management system: Our reporting scope We recognise that it will take time to fully compile sustainability data across all of our operating territories with sufficient confidence to report publicly or accurately assess year-on-year performance. Therefore, while we collect data for all operations, our Group performance is tracked and reported using carefully selected countries which have been identified as representative of our Group performance. These cover more than two-thirds of employees and over three-quarters of revenue. Joint ventures are reported as our own operations. Limitations of scope The data presented in this report covers employees but, with some minor exceptions, does not include professionals working on behalf of SGS. We are aware that there are some differences in the way that data is being collected across our trend countries, often because of varying local context. This could result in some figures being under- or overstated. We are working to standardise these going forward. While we have put a manual in place to specify our reporting requirements, we recognise that there may be ongoing variations until such time as we can align all countries and business units with this standard. In the interest of accurate disclosure, we have made a conscious decision to limit our scope in these early years of reporting to areas where we have a high level of confidence in the data. In doing so, we accept that we are not yet providing complete detailed coverage of every country. Over time the scope will broaden as our sustainability reporting becomes more established and we gain a deeper insight into the issues which are important to our stakeholders. We now routinely collect data using 80 indicators of sustainability, covering people, environment, business, community, reputation and trust. These are used internally to highlight performance and drive improvement. The selection of data and other content published in this report have been mapped against the Global Reporting Initiative G3 guidelines. However, our focus has been largely formed by the areas that we believe are important for our business and our key stakeholders. We have begun to test the validity of these with stakeholders during 2009. In developing our sustainability strategy, the structure and the content of this report, we have embraced the principles of materiality and completeness of disclosure, and responsiveness to stakeholders, which form the basis for the Accountability AA1000AS standard. At this stage, our stakeholder engagement is not sufficiently developed to declare full alignment. Nevertheless, we plan further stakeholder dialogue in 2010 to build on the formal consultation process begun in 2009. Further information and feedback For more information or to provide feedback on this report please consult our corporate website or contact For employees we have set up a dedicated intranet site on sustainability where they can find more information, review the latest performance data and share knowledge, advice and best practice. Professional Excellence Trust lies at the heart of the value we deliver to our customers and society as a whole. Our conduct is measured on our ability to consistently deliver integrity, ethics, capability and quality without compromise. People People are our single most important asset. A highly skilled, motivated, productive and committed workforce drives our business success. We have a responsibility to ensure that our employees are safe at work, are treated fairly and with respect, and that they are empowered to contribute. Environment We are committed to conducting our business in a way that protects the environment. We also recognise our broader role in contributing to sound environmental management through our range of innovative products and services. Community Local communities are critical to our reputation and success. Many communities also depend on us. We encourage the support of communities, by investing our time, expertise and resources. The scope of this first report represents all our regions and business lines and relates to the year ending 31 December 2009. Some narrative outlining our progress includes activities up to the point of report publication in early 2010. The content of this report has been reviewed by an Internal Audit Team and our Sustainability Steering Committee. SGS has commissioned second party verification of the report and has also sought independent verification of our compliance with the Global Reporting Initiative G3 guidelines from GRI. 6. 10 11 Jointstatement Joint statement from the Chairman &CEO Dear stakeholders, This is SGSs first published Corporate Sustainability Report for the employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders and investors who each play a vital role in shaping our future. It is an opportunity to share what it means to us to be a responsible and sustainable company in the 21st century and to continue a dialogue with our stakeholders about the opportunities and challenges for our global business. It outlines our progress so far and some of the major priorities for SGS. It is the first step on a journey that will play a significant part in the future success of our Company. At SGS we believe it is vital to embrace sustainability as a positive challenge; a source of continuous enquiry, innovation and improvement. Our strategic priorities are focused on maintaining the ethical integrity of our business operations, reducing our environmental impact, improving our safety performance and involving our employees in meaningful grass-roots activities in the communities where they live and work. Over the past two years we have made significant strides in formalising our idea of sustainability by creating a structured management system. In 2008 we formed a Sustainability Steering Committee comprising the heads of our regions and businesses to shape the Group sustainability strategy. The strategy was endorsed by the Operations Council in 2008 and continues to be monitored periodically. Our Vice President Corporate Sustainability is supported by the Chief Operating Officers and Executive Vice Presidents in implementing the strategy across our global business and the establishment of regional Sustainability Sub-Committees ensures that the strategy is being effected locally. We have benchmarked our approach against a number of industry peers and best practice companies and we have designed a robust sustainability management system that will provide the information we need for ongoing improvement. We do not regard these commitments as the end target in our drive to a more sustainable future but as a useful guide in helping to integrate sustainability into every aspect of our business practice. Although we have some way to go in fully integrating sustainability throughout our global network, we are proud to highlight some important milestones on our journey so far. As a member of the Carbon Disclosure Project since 2006, we have put significant effort into reducing our carbon emissions. In November 2009, SGS signed the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Manifesto for Energy Efficiency in Buildings which pledges our Company to a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions from our owned buildings by 2013 and 20% by 2020. We are especially proud to be part of the Dow Jones STOXX Sustainability Index. As we enter 2010 it is timely to pause and consider what the next decade might mean for us. Above all, we must continue to foster a culture of professionalism, integrity and personal safety and prepare our employees to act responsibly and appropriately in challenging situations and new territories. We will need to continue to adjust and respond to the changing needs of a society that expects increasing confidence in the products and services they use. We must also consider what political, economic and personal changes need to happen to put us on the path to a low carbon future. In particular, SGS has a very important role to play in helping our customers across all industry sectors as well as our own business lines to develop and adopt a range of technologies and practices that will contribute to a reduction in climate change. During 2010 we will be launching several important initiatives to ensure our alignment with international best practice through the training of employees and improving awareness on sustainability issues and supporting our employees in meeting our internal sustainability goals. We will be embarking on a Group-wide initiative to train our 59,000 employees in the principles of sustainability and equip them to apply this knowledge in their respective roles. Alongside this, we plan to implement a series of internal campaigns focused on key sustainability themes to empower teams of employees in every market to become protagonists of change and progress. These will serve to complement the existing contribution we are making as a business to develop new services, build global awareness on safety, implement continuous improvement projects in our labs, and promote diversity across our workforce. We will also be continuing our dialogue with stakeholders so that we can learn from them and improve our sustainability performance. This report underlines our commitment to dialogue and transparency and aims to stimulate purposeful discussion on our role in securing a more sustainable future. Please take some time to read it and share your ideas on how you think we should progress by sending an email to We look forward to continuing our dialogue with you during 2010 and beyond. Sergio MarchionneChristopher Kirk ChairmanChief Executive Officer 7. during 2008 we integrated sustainability into our corporate business strategy 8. 14 15 Ourapproach At SGS we have strived to conduct our business responsibly and ethically. We know that how we do business is as important as the services we deliver to our customers. Given that sustainability is now regarded as a significant driver of value to customers and society, it is especially important for us. Sustainability is about managing a long-term profitable business while taking into account all the positive and negative environmental, social and economic effects it has on society. During 2008, we integrated sustainability into our corporate business strategy and began to formalise our approach through the adoption of a Group-wide sustainability management system. Governance In July 2008, we appointed a Sustainability Steering Committee, chaired by our Chief Executive Officer (...