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Stakeholder engagement is a continuous and integral part our everyday business practices.  Our Sustainability Report is one tool we use to engage with our stakeholders. This year we conducted certain stakeholder engagements specifically as part of the preparation for our 2013 Sustainability Report:

  • We received feedback on our 2012 Sustainability Report through our website and used this to ensure key issues were covered in the 2013 Report
  • In August, we conducted a workshop in Geneva with 15 members of our Stakeholder Panel representing employees, customers, socially responsible investors, suppliers, NGOs and academics to discuss approaches to reporting, stakeholder feedback on our 2012 Report and material issues. This group was also invited to review our draft materiality matrix, and has provided a statement on our 2013 Sustainability Report
  • A session at the Euroforum (European Works Council) workshop in October 2013 focused on material issues, with a discussion of  the relative importance of different topics for SGS employees
  • We conducted interviews with senior management to get their input to the materiality matrix and their views on key topics to discuss in the 2013 Report

We would like to thank our stakeholders for their helpful feedback in 2013, in particular our Stakeholder Panel, who generously gave their time to help us make our reporting more responsive to stakeholder needs.

In the following section we have listed the type and frequency of engagement by stakeholder group, key issues raised in 2013 and our response.


This webpage includes information on “G4” General Standard Disclosures G4-25, G4-26 and G4-27.  See Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for further details on the alignment of the Sustainability Report to “G4”.

The content of this webpage has been verified and assured.

  • Senior Management

    Means of engagement Examples in 2013 Frequency
    Face-to-face meetings Meetings of the Sustainability Steering Committee Biannual
    Reports of the Vice President Corporate Sustainability to the CEO Regular
    Board risk review Annual
    Key issues raised in 2013:

    Board risk review

    Issue: In 2013 three topics directly linked to sustainability issues were reviewed by the Board as part of the annual risk assessment process. Several other topics in this assessment had an indirect link to sustainability. 

    Our response: Responsibilities for each risk were assigned by the Risk Assessment Panel, and additional actions required to mitigate the risk were identified. The topics were fed into our materiality matrix and are covered in our 2013 Sustainability Report.

  • Employees

    Means of engagement Examples in 2013 Frequency
    Survey CATALYST engagement survey Annual
    Sustainability e-learning survey Regular
    Face-to-face meetings The sustainability team conducted more than 100 meetings with employees and subcontractors in 2013 Regular
    Internal workshops 10 sustainability workshops were conducted in local affiliates Periodic
    Teamsites 56 local sustainability teamsites are used by affiliates to communicate progress and share best practice Ongoing
    HR engagement -  includes internal workshops, face-to-face meetings and e-learning SHINE onboarding program (for new employees) Regular
    Performance reviews Annual
    Learning and development programs Regular
    Annual Integrity Training workshops and e-learning Annual
    Internal campaigns Rules for Life Regular
    Safety Day Annual
    Doing more with Lëss Regular
    Corporate Communications SGS Intranet Ongoing
    SGS Inside newsletter and local affiliate newsletters Regular
    Social media Regular
    Formal consultation Euroforum (Employee Works Council)  Periodic
    Staff Committee (SGS China and Hong Kong) Periodic

    Key issues raised in 2013:

    CATALYST survey

    Issue: Employees would like to see clear, positive changes as a result of the CATALYST survey.
    Our response: The outcomes from CATALYST have been analyzed and widely communicated, and translated into local action plans. For a summary of responses to the 2013 CATALYST survey, see our 2013 Sustainability Highlights.

    Internal sustainability workshops

    Issue: Workshop participants, representing employees from our affiliates engaged in sustainability initiatives, would like more sharing of best practice as well as practical checklists, technical notes and web tools.

    Our response: We have provided participants with access to the relevant people and key materials on topics they are interested in.


  • Customers

    Means of engagement Examples in 2013 Frequency
    Face-to-face meetings Site visits and business meetings are part of our everyday business Regular
    Survey Voice of the Customer satisfaction survey for key international customers at corporate and local levels Annual
    Questionnaires Sustainability questionnaires, as part of the customers’ supply chain management practices Periodic
    Company brochures and newsletters  Brochures on Layer4 telecommunications monitoring, the “Hot Source” food industry newsletter and a series of newsletters on medical devices Periodic
    Trade shows, conferences  and seminars CTS Customer Meeting, December 6, 2013, Gurgaon; SGS India had a stall at the Green Building Congress in Chennai in October Periodic
    White papers and thought leadership White paper on non-destructive testing; white paper on e-mobility Periodic

    Key issues raised in 2013:

    Sustainability reporting
    Issue: The importance of reporting on carbon emissions, emissions from business travel, labor practices within SGS and integrity.

    Our response: These items are reported on in our 2013 Sustainability Report – see Energy and Climate Change, Talent Acquisition and Development, and Ethical Conduct.

    Collaboration opportunities

    Issue: Potential opportunities linked to our sustainability services were proposed by customers. 

    Our response: We review opportunities on a case-by-case basis.

  • Trade Bodies and Associations

    Means of engagement Examples in 2013 Frequency
    Face-to-face meetings and conferences As we serve a wide variety of industries, each business line engages with relevant trade bodies Periodic
    Corporate website Information on SGS, our aims, business lines and the industries we serve is available on our website Ongoing
    Best practice sharing

    Issue: Trade bodies and associations expressed to us an interest in sharing best practice on our sustainability approach.

    Our response: We share best practice through face-to-face meetings and by providing thought leadership articles.

  • Suppliers Business Partners and Consultants

    Means of engagement Examples in 2013 Frequency
    Questionnaire Sustainability screening questionnaire Periodic
    Site visits and face-to-face meetings We conducted site visits at supplier premises in China as part of the supplier screening process for the low cost sourcing program Periodic
    Supplier assessment process

    Issue: The supplier responses to the sustainability screening questionnaire were reviewed as part of the materiality process; no major issues had been raised by suppliers. However, the overall results of our materiality process in 2013 show that the supply chain management issue has evolved and risen in priority for certain stakeholders.

    Our response: We will review and update our supply chain management approach in 2014.

  • Shareholders

    Means of engagement Examples in 2013 Frequency
    Face-to-face meetings and responses to information requests A range of briefings and presentations are conducted each year by senior management Regular
    Investor days In 2013, investor days were hosted in Houston and New Orleans Annual
    Annual General Meeting

    This occurred on March 19, 2013 in Geneva

    An Extraordinary General Meeting of Shareholders took place on 10 July 2013 in Geneva 

    Annual Report Available at Financial Reports  Annual
    Half year results presentation Available at Financial Reports Annual
    Opportunities related to sustainability services

    Issue: At the investor days there was acknowledgement of the growth opportunities related to consolidating services across business lines, rising demand for sustainability services linked to increased regulations on issues such as medical device testing, and the strength of new acquisitions which offer niche services related to environmental and safety testing.

    Our response: We will continue to pursue opportunities in services related to sustainability, as part of our role in contributing to a more sustainable society.

  • Financial Community and Socially Responsible Investors

    Means of engagement Examples in 2013 Frequency
    Questionnaires and information requests In 2013 we responded to sustainability questionnaires aimed at supporting socially responsible investment, including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, EiRIS, Oekom, EthiFinance, Vigeo, Trucost, Fondation Guilé, and Swiss and Global Asset Management Periodic
    Annual Report Available at Financial Reports Annual
    Briefings and presentations These include face-to-face briefings by senior management, analyst reports and financial reports on the Investor Relations section of our corporate website. Regular
    Sustainability reporting

    Issue: Some ratings agencies asked for greater reporting on certain issues, particularly governance and risk, and sustainability services.

    Our response: We have deepened our reporting of these issues – see Governance on Sustainability IssuesManaging Risks and Opportunities and Sustainability Services.

  • Media

    Means of engagement Examples in 2013 Frequency
    Briefings and press releases  We consider a generally reactive approach to media engagement on sustainability issues to be appropriate for a company whose services rely on our independence. Press releases and other materials are available through the News center. Regular
    Supply chain audits

    Issue: Concerns were raised over the validity of a supply chain audit in an article in the New York Times.

    Our response: A statement was given to the newspaper by a sustainability manager, explaining that in the example given we had followed the inspection protocol developed by the Business Social Compliance Initiative.

  • Special Interest Groups NGOs and Academics

    Means of engagement Examples in 2013 Frequency
    Face-to-face meetings and workshops We have a long-standing relationship with Geneva University. In 2013, we presented to the students on what sustainability means for SGS Periodic
    We engaged with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) on Energy Efficiency in Buildings projects and others Periodic
    We spoke at conferences, and conducted several meetings with individual NGOs, on our Energy Efficiency in Buildings projects and philanthropy Periodic
    Questionnaires and information requests In 2013 we responded to sustainability questionnaires aimed at supporting socially responsible investment, including the Carbon Disclosure Project Periodic


    Issue:  WBCSD members were interested in learning more about our work on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.

    Our response: in 2014, SGS will formally join the WBCSD EEB Core Group to enable us to share best practice with WBCSD members.

  • Local Communities

    Means of engagement Examples in 2013 Frequency
    Projects We support almost 300 community projects at both the local and corporate level. In 2013, these included a road safety project run by SGS West Africa and we sponsored TOPtoTOP, a global climate expedition Ongoing
    Survey Our Community Survey gathered feedback on over 80 community projects Annual
    Face-to-face meetings Our CEO met with Dario Schwoerer, founder of TOPtoTOP, in December 2013 Periodic
    Typhoon Haiyan

    Issue: Some family members and friends of employees were affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in November 2013.  

    Our response: SGS launched a global appeal to channel donations from employees, with the amount raised being matched at corporate level.

  • Authorities Governments and Regulators

    Means of engagement Examples in 2013 Frequency
    Face-to-face meetings and workshops We hosted a workshop for West African telecoms regulators and fiscal authorities in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in December 2013 Periodic
    Written communication Brochures such as “Layer4 Insight” on regulatory enforcement in telecoms sector Periodic
    Unregulated telecommunications

    Issue: Unregulated telecommunications can incur financial loss, present risk to inward investment and, ultimately, obstruct socio-economic initiatives.

    Our response: We offer Layer4, a fully managed, end-to-end service to provide visibility on call behavior, enabling regulatory authorities to govern telecommunications services.

  • Unions and Works Councils

    Means of engagement Examples in 2013 Frequency
    Face-to-face meetings and briefings and conference calls  Euroforum (European Works Council) in Greece (October 2013) Periodic
    Staff Committee China (April 2013) Periodic

    Material issues for sustainability reporting

    Issue: A session at the Euroforum (European Works Council) workshop in October 2013 focused on material issues, ranking different sustainability topics in order of importance for SGS employees. Some employee representatives were concerned that the term ‘Anti-corruption’, as a key material issue for SGS, had negative connotations.

    Our response: Following internal consultation, ‘Anti-corruption’ was renamed ‘Managing ethical conduct’ in the materiality matrix.