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GRI Content: G4-SO1

Across our global network we support around 360 community initiatives that are initiated by employees and leadership teams in our affiliates in response to local challenges.

The SGS Code of Integrity, SGS Business Principles, SGS Policy Statements and Group Community policy and internal guidelines all underscore our respect for the rights and interests of local communities. To further these objectives, we aim to:

  • Support employees in engaging in local initiatives that align with the SDGs and improve quality of life
  • Help build capacity within non-profit agencies through volunteer, in-kind and financial contributions
  • Support disaster relief and environmental sustainability by sharing our expertise and network with non-profit organizations

Senior managers within our affiliates are responsible for ensuring adherence to our Code of Integrity and Group Community policy and guidelines, and establishing appropriate programs.

Our Core Themes

Our Sustainability Ambitions 2020 include a goal to increase our investment in communities by 30% by 2020, using a 2014 baseline. We aim to add value to society across three focus areas: Education, Empowerment and Environmental Sustainability:

Core Themes

We support communities through employee volunteering, pro bono services and in-kind support, cash donations, and community-led sponsorship. We also provide immediate support to communities in the aftermath of major disasters. The majority of community programs are identified and managed locally in line with the Group Community Policy and Guidelines.


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  • Employee Engagement

    For many employees, community investment is an important part of working for SGS and we encourage employees to take part in community volunteering activities. We recognize that many employees value the opportunity to use and develop their professional and personal skills through team-based and individual volunteering activities. In 2016, 54% of the 340 projects tracked in our annual community survey had engaged employees through volunteering.

  • Supporting a Carbon Neutral Future

    Alongside the SDGs, we recognize the urgent need to remove carbon from the atmosphere and we want to play our part in supporting communities to reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. As part of our decision to become carbon neutral, we invest in projects aimed at reducing or eliminating carbon while improving the lives of people in our local communities. See Carbon Neutrality for more information.

  • Community Outreach

    Many of our professional services are designed to help governments, institutions, businesses and non-governmental organizations meet society’s expectations at local, national and international levels. Through our consultants we are conducting a study to evaluate the value to society of our social responsibility audit services. Many of these services are focused on ensuring compliance with recognized labor standards. We are therefore looking to estimate the social value of helping our customers to protect the livelihoods of workers in supply chains. A summary of this work will be published in 2018.

  • Our Programs

    Our community programs are led by our affiliates through collaborations with local community organizations. Across our global network, we support around 360 community initiatives that are initiated by employees and leadership teams in our affiliates in response to local challenges. Selected case studies are included here.

    • Measuring Impacts: performance is measured based on the number of projects globally, the level of company investment and the number of employee volunteering hours. In addition, our annual community survey measures the impacts of key projects. During 2016, our survey collected information on 340 community projects in 32 countries. Of these, 22 involved SGS customers and 35 involved SGS suppliers.

      Most community projects focus on addressing issues linked to empowerment (including economic development, health, gender equality and alleviation from poverty and hunger), while other projects support education and environmental sustainability:

      • 54% of our community projects in 2016 were supported through employee volunteering
      • 27% benefited from cash donations
      • 11% benefited from cash sponsorship
      • 28% received in-kind donations and
      • 5% received pro bono services from SGS

      Support Community Projects
      We measure our support of local communities using metrics based on inputs (e.g. type of support, from in-kind or cash donations to employee time and expertise) and outcomes (in terms of social, environmental and economic impacts, including business benefits). In terms of impacts on our communities 41% of our community projects have helped improve health and wellbeing (including access to food) in our communities, while 24% have helped improve access to education and/or people skills. 47% of our community projects related to the environment have helped improve levels of recycling.

      At present, 63% of our projects are short-term or one-off projects, while 36% of projects are long-term collaborations with community partners. Over time, and following the roll-out of our Community Policy and Guidelines, we expect to see an increase in the proportion of projects that represent long-term, strategic partnerships with community organizations.

      Additionally, our community survey reflects that:

      • 49% of our projects were considered as having a positive impact on employee engagement
      • 42% were considered as improving teamwork
      • 60% were considered as raising SGS profile locally
      • 51% were considered as bearing on SGS's reputation
      Community Survey

    (See our Case Studies section for examples of our community investment projects around the world.)