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GRI Content: G4-2, G4-45, G4-46, G4-49, G4-HR9

On a yearly basis the SGS Board of Directors conducts an assessment of the risks facing the Group. This process is conducted with the active participation and input of Management. Once identified, risks are assessed according to their likelihood, severity and mitigation. The Board of Directors deliberates on the adequacy of measures in place to mitigate and manage risks and assigns responsibility to designated managers for the implementation of such measures. As part of this process, the ownership and accountability for identified risks are approved by the Board of Directors. The implementation of such actions is audited by Internal Audit. These findings are communicated to the Board of Directors so that progress and identified risks can be monitored objectively and independently from Management.

The risks identified and monitored by the Board fall broadly into four categories:

  • Strategy and Planning Risks – arise when the company’s strategy selection and execution is inadequate and when there are external factors that can affect the company’s performance
  • Governance and Integrity Risks – arise when corporate governance structure and controls are inadequate and when ethical culture and procedures are weak.
  • Global Support Risks – arise when core functions of the company do not operate effectively and do not support the business performance.
  • Operations Risks – arise when business processes do not achieve the objectives they were designed to achieve in supporting the company’s business model.

Our online sustainability report describes the processes we used to identify our most important issues in detail, and it explains how we manage each of these important issues through our sustainability pillars and the management systems underpinning them, as well as through the programs we are developing to drive progress towards our 2020 Sustainability Ambitions.

During 2016, we merged the outputs of our materiality and our business risk assessment processes to create our first Business Materiality Matrix. Members of the Operations Council were involved in assessing each of our material sustainability issues and our business risks based on their relative impact on the business (covering business continuity, economic performance, reputation and legal compliance) as well as their assessment of the controls in place to manage the impacts. This resulted in the development of our first Business Materiality Matrix, which was presented to the Sustainability Committee, Operations Council and the Board for approval.

Having conducted such a robust exercise to assess our material and business issues, we are reassured to find that our business objectives and our 2020 Sustainability Ambitions remain focused on the most important issues for our stakeholders and for the business. We plan to conduct a high-level materiality review every year, and to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our materiality and business risks every three years.

(For more detail on our process for creating our business materiality matrix, see our Materiality Process.)

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