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Our economic performance is managed as part of our business strategy. For a comprehensive account of our economic performance, see our Annual Report. Our Green Book measures our environmental and social profit and loss by applying financial values to a range of indicators on people, environment and community and progress on these is reported to senior management every six months.


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  • Direct Economic Impacts

    Many stakeholders inside and outside the Company rely on our economic performance. Strong economic performance means that:

    • Customer orders are fulfilled
    • Value is delivered to our shareholders
    • Value is delivered through our services to society
    • Employees are offered competitive salaries and benefits
    • Obligations to suppliers and creditors are met
    • Governments gain tax revenues
    • Local communities receive investment

    We do not receive any significant financial assistance from governments. We do benefit from incentives in the form of grants from certain government schemes, for example, energy saving incentives, but these are of low value.

    (Please see our Performance section for data on economic value generated and distributed this year.)

  • Indirect Economic Impacts

    With more than 90,000 employees, and a supply chain of over 77,000 suppliers, our indirect economic impacts are extensive and are also difficult to quantify. Some examples include:

    • Conducting a carbon footprint methodology verification for the tourism sector: with companies facing greater monitoring and reporting requirements following the Paris Agreement on climate action, SGS is delivering value to customers by helping to validate and improve the robustness of their emissions reporting. In Montenegro, SGS conducted a carbon footprint methodology verification for the tourism sector – one of the country’s most important industries. SGS experts from the UK and Serbia assessed the methodology developed by the UNDP-implemented “Towards Carbon Neutral Tourism Project” in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) reporting guidelines. This assessment helped the client to have confidence in the data used by the company and its stakeholders, thus reducing risks associated with non-compliance and misreporting.  
    • Facilitating international trade through e-commerce: DHgate is the first transactional B2B cross-border e-commerce marketplace in China. With over 1.2 million service providers and 30 million products available in 230 countries and regions, the company aims to promote China's small and medium-sized enterprises to the world. Every hour, around 100,000 consumers shop using the platform, placing an order every 3 seconds. Through a strategic cooperation agreement, SGS is helping DHgate to improve the quality of services and products offered on its platform. Services include on-site inspections, product testing, verification, consultancy and other quality control services, enabling DHgate to provide trusted products and services to customers who are increasingly seeking attributes such as quality and reliability alongside value for money.

    Many of our services have indirect economic impacts – for more information on our services see Sustainability Services.

  • Customer Relationship Management

    Customer relationship management and customer satisfaction were identified by SGS stakeholders as being material issues for the Company, as defined in our 2016 Business Materiality Matrix.

    We are committed to ensuring the highest levels of service excellence across our business. It is important that we have the necessary skills, competencies and processes in place to anticipate and adequately respond to our customers’ needs. Intrinsic to this is our ability to monitor and improve customer satisfaction levels.

    Customer satisfaction is monitored through various mechanisms, including customer satisfaction surveys (such as Voice of the Customer), formal and informal feedback via client management meetings, the tracking of on-time delivery through our Lab Excellence program, and customer care shared services. Since 2014, SGS has operated a Group-wide customer relationship management (CRM) system, which provides visibility on customer information, sales, operational activities and business opportunities. In addition to this, each business line manages its dialogue with customers using both formal and informal mechanisms. These could include surveys (such as our Voice of the Customer survey, which is used by various business lines across multiple geographies), periodic review meetings, customer seminars and workshops. In addition, our Compliance team works with EVPs and MDs in countries on specific issues raised by customers through our integrity hotlines.

    As part of the global IT strategy, we are developing a customer portal to enhance data and analytics relating to our customers. This platform will help us to understand and identify ways to improve and manage customer relationships.

    (See our case study on Voice of the Customer survey in China)