Materiality Process and Results
As an industry leader, SGS is committed to sustainable operations. To achieve this effectively, it is important that we consider and report on which issues are most critical to our stakeholders and the business. Management is deeply involved in these processes.
Our Materiality Matrix maps our identified material topics against their importance for stakeholders and their impact on SGS, providing us with a powerful analytical tool.
We decide which issues are critical through a periodic materiality assessment. This process allows us to prioritize issues through our strategies and programs, which allows us to address the issues of most importance to our business. It also ensures that we stay in touch with and respond to the information needs and expectations of our stakeholders. Any issues of importance are included in our Annual Report and our Sustainability Report.
Since 2013 – when we first referenced the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 guidelines as part of a detailed materiality process – our approach to materiality has evolved in line with GRI reporting guidelines.
Our approach has also evolved as we strive to move towards an integrated reporting model.
In 2016, SGS carried out its first materiality assessment process. The latest materiality assessment was developed in 2019 and we updated our Business Materiality Matrix accordingly. This process involved a consultation with over 800 stakeholders in 74 countries. These included customers, senior managers, employees, suppliers, NGOs, ratings agencies, sustainability professionals and academics. Alongside a survey, we conducted a detailed benchmark review of globally relevant and sector-specific sustainability issues and trends. We then conducted a weighted analysis of the results by stakeholder type, which allowed us to determine the topics that are most important to our stakeholders. As a next step, all Operations Council members were asked to complete an impact evaluation, considering the effect each topic would have on the business if not managed appropriately. The results of this evaluation were then merged with the outputs of our latest business risk identification process, which determined the topics with the potential to have the highest impact on the organization.
The outcome of this complete process was the development of our revised 2019 Business Materiality Matrix.