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GRI Content: G4-2, G4-47

As an industry leader, we are committed to upholding the highest standards to ensure our business operates in a sustainable way. An important part of this is ensuring that SGS focuses its management’s attention and reporting on issues of critical importance to both our stakeholders and the business. We adopt a structured approach to identifying risks, opportunities and outcomes attributable to or associated with our people, operations and business activities which may materially affect the ability of SGS to create value. Examples of risk assessments conducted throughout the year include:

  • Environmental, health and safety (EHS) risk assessments conducted by our Operational Integrity (OI team);
  • Industrial hygiene risk assessments (covering, for example, exposure to chemicals; adequacy of personal protective equipment) conducted by our Industrial Health team
  • Security screening and investigations are conducted by our Security team and are monitored via Group Compliance “Supplier screening and self-assessments, as part of our responsible supply program
  • Human rights risk assessments as part of our business planning processes

In addition to these operational processes, SGS conducts a formal materiality assessment to determine the most important sustainability topics for us to prioritize, manage and report on. We consider factors such as impacts on our strategy and competitive position, as well as financial impacts, using outputs from our Board risk review, our Green Book (which quantifies costs associated with a range of sustainability issues) and other analyses.

The Vice President Corporate Sustainability is responsible for directing the Company’s materiality review and ensuring that the process is inclusive of relevant stakeholder interests. The materiality process is managed by the corporate sustainability team throughout the year and the outputs of the process are presented by the Vice President Corporate Sustainability to the Sustainability Sub-Committee of the Operations Council. We conduct in-depth materiality reviews every three years, with interim reviews of our material topics undertaken in the intervening period. In addition, we consult the SGS Stakeholder Panel on our materiality matrix at least every three years.

During 2016, we conducted an extensive materiality assessment process involving consultation with around 850 stakeholders in 52 countries and the direct engagement of our senior management team to identify and map the most important issues for SGS to manage. We produced a consolidated list of environmental, social and governance topics based on our materiality assessment and our Board risk review. Members of our Operations Council were involved in conducting an impact assessment, ranking each topic according to its relative impact on the business (covering business continuity, economic performance, reputation and legal compliance) along with their assessment of the controls in place to manage the impacts. The outcome was our first ever business materiality matrix, which was presented to the Sustainability Committee, Operations Council and the Board for approval.

Having completed 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.

See our Materiality Assessment section for more information on the process we applied in 2016.

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