Our Approach to Managing Ethical Conduct
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The Chief Compliance Officer has overall responsibility for managing compliance with the Code of Integrity. Senior managers are expected to demonstrate visible and explicit support for the Code and all relevant training.
Training on bribery and corruption is included in the annual integrity training for employees and integrity e-learning for new employees. In addition, our network of investigators receives skills training by senior investigators with experience of tackling misconduct in other industries around the world and the public sector.
The SGS Code of Integrity encourages employees and customers to report suspected violations of our Code using confidential integrity helplines. During 2013, one incident of bribery and corruption was identified via the Integrity Helpline.
The Chief Compliance Officer monitors performance via the Integrity Helpline and formally updates the Professional Conduct Committee on suspected violations and emerging trends. In addition, the Compliance team monitors the proportion of employees completing the Annual Integrity Training (AIT) and signing the Code of Integrity, and the proportion of new employees completing the e-learning module on the Code of Integrity.
In 2013, a total of 172 investigations covering 17 types of misconduct were conducted, representing 82% of SGS operations. Of these, 36% related to bribery and corruption.
Our global Corporate Security team is responsible for protecting our people and assets from deliberate harm. This involves developing mandatory standards and guidelines, completing risk assessments and reviews, and managing the response to security-related threats and incidents. Corporate Security conducts investigations in accordance with specified standards, ensuring the ethical conduct of the investigators.
Policy documents guide affiliates through a security risk assessment process and enable them to adapt guidelines accordingly. A Security Intelligence Hub (SIHUB) supports the security risk management capability by collating internal and external data on the assets, threats and controls in place to minimize security incidents and facilitate business sustainability.
The SGS brand is used across the world to validate the quality of goods and materials that are sold or traded. Purchasing an item with an SGS logo or certificate verifies that it has met a required standard. The Corporate Security team is responsible for investigating incidents of fraudulent use of the SGS name and brand which includes a growing number of counterfeit certificates and inspection reports. During 2013 over 5,000 incidents relating to possible counterfeit, misused or altered documents were verified, representing more than CHF 50 million paid out by traders for counterfeit certificates.
We have taken steps to make our certificates more secure, but recognize that this could simply move the problem further down the chain. Our Corporate Security team works with heads of business lines to identify security issues, from the initial customer contact through to the final report or certificate being sent to the end user. We are putting in place practical measures to ensure that integrity is built into every stage of our operational processes in business lines and countries with identified exposure to this type of fraud. Read more about how we are tackling incidents of fraud in our 2013 Sustainability Highlights.