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GRI Content: G4-29, G4-30

Welcome to our seventh annual sustainability report, covering January 1 – December 31, 2015. This report provides a detailed description of our sustainability approach. Alongside this, we have started the process of integrating sustainability into our annual report and accounts, with more substantive detail on our sustainability approach appearing in the SGS Annual Report 2015.  

SGS is well positioned to evolve its reporting approach to a more integrated model. Our sustainability approach is well entrenched in the business, with a clearly articulated path as we work towards achieving our Sustainability Ambitions by 2020. Externally, our sustainability efforts are recognized by the DJSI and CDP, along with other ratings agencies. We are encouraged by the progress we are making in our sustainability performance, especially in relation to improvements in our lost time incident reporting and our total recordable injuries rate, as well as the uplift achieved in our equal opportunities ratio. We are also proud of our role in developing pioneering tools, such as our Green Book and our Value to Society estimation model which has been designed to evaluate the impacts of our actions on the natural environment, employees, customers, stakeholder networks and wider society.

We have come a long way in the eight years since we began our sustainability journey. In this time our sustainability approach has transitioned from process implementation to business integration and delivering value to society. Today, we are satisfied that we have a robust sustainability management system that is supported by an active program of projects and initiatives which are owned and driven at affiliate level. We are especially pleased that 77% of employees recognize the role that sustainability plays in supporting our business aims, and 80% consider that they are contributing to sustainability through their jobs.

Given recent changes to our leadership structure, coupled with a renewed business strategy, we feel prepared and inspired to take our sustainability program to the next level. Our Sustainability Ambitions 2020 outline six pivotal goals organized around our sustainability pillars: Professional Excellence, People, Environment and Community. These include goals linked to mandatory low emission fleet cars, and for 30% of our senior leadership positions to be held by women. Other Ambitions link to carbon reduction, talent retention, community investment and creating and delivering value. Alongside these, the newly launched SGS Business Principles will provide clarity on our way of doing business and will play an important role in guiding our actions as we steer the Company through its next chapter.

A feature of our established sustainability agenda is the realization that we can achieve more when we work with like-minded business partners, governments, non-governmental organizations, academic bodies and community groups. Through our support of initiatives spearheaded by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), SGS has achieved a step change in our contribution to the wider sustainable business movement this year. For example, working alongside the WBCSD, SGS is supporting global progress on energy efficiency in buildings (EEB). SGS co-hosted an EEB Laboratory in March 2015 involving Bangalore’s commercial building sector to identify ways to accelerate investments, address key barriers to decision making processes, and encourage key decision makers to commit to launching and implementing EEB initiatives. Alongside our EEB projects, actions on climate change mitigation remained the focus of our efforts in 2015, culminating in SGS participating in the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference, COP21, in Paris. Here, SGS was involved in several key collaborative processes, in partnership with Club Génération Responsable, aimed at helping to inform progress toward a universal, ambitious and balanced climate agreement. This included an exhibition on climate solutions in the Grand Palais attended by 42,000 visitors, a breakfast event at which SGS awarded the first sustainable retailer label, Labels Enseigne Responsable, and various debates on climate topics. The conference concluded with an agreement by the 195 participating countries to peak greenhouse gas emissions and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century; to keep global temperature increases “well below” 2oC and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5oC; to review progress every five years; and for US$100 billion a year of climate finance to be made available to developing countries by 2020, with further funding beyond this date.

We remain committed to our sustainability vision to use our scale and our expertise to enable a more sustainable future. We will continue to minimize our impact on the environment throughout our value chain, and we are committed to being a good corporate citizen through our investment in the communities in which we operate. Looking to the years ahead, I am confident that SGS is well placed to demonstrate the tangible value of our services and our people to society.

Daniel Rüfenacht, Vice President Corporate Sustainability

For more information on our approach to reporting please see Our Approach to Reporting.

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