Our Approach to Local Communities
Across our global network we support almost 300 community initiatives that are initiated by employees and leadership teams in our affiliates in response to local challenges. Many of the projects are aligned to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The SGS Code of Integrity and Group Community policy underscore our respect for the rights and interests of local communities. To further these objectives, we aim to:
- Support employees to engage in local initiatives that align with the MDGs and improve quality of life
- Help build capacity within non-profit agencies through financial, in-kind and volunteer contributions
- Strengthen our local and global communities through ethical business practices, programs and employee volunteering
- 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. The CEO is ultimately responsible for the implementation of our Group Community policy and the Sustainability Steering Committee oversees implementation of social and environmental programs within the company.
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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 2013, we received feedback on more than 80 projects in 25 countries. Over 70% of projects focused on addressing issues linked to health, environmental sustainability, and poverty and hunger, and around 8% supported disaster relief efforts. Almost half of the projects were supported through employee volunteering, 15% benefited from pro bono services and the remainder were supported through sponsorships, donations and in-kind giving. Please see our 2013 Sustainability Highlights for case studies on our community involvement.
The UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have galvanized global and national development efforts on creating prosperous, sustainable and healthy communities. However, only three of the eight Goals have been achieved and further effort is needed to accelerate progress ahead of the 2015 deadline. At SGS we will continue to align our community projects to the MDGs and evolve our approach in line with the UN’s development agenda post-2015.
Community investment is led by our affiliates, with managing directors responsible for determining which projects to support. These contributions are supplemented by corporate sponsorships and donations towards projects where SGS has a long-standing commitment to supporting change. For example, the SGS Group supports TOPtoTOP, a global climate expedition aiming to summit the highest peak on each continent and travel between them using only human power and the forces of nature. Please see our 2013 Sustainability Highlights for an update on this and other global and local community projects.
Community investment is an important part of working for SGS for many employees around the world. We support employees who on their own initiative identify local causes to support through volunteering, in-kind giving and fund-raising. In 2013, 59% of the projects tracked in our annual community survey had raised employee awareness of social and environmental issues and around 38% had increased employees’ sense of wellbeing.
Alongside the MDGs, we recognize the urgent need to remove carbon from the atmosphere and 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 are investing in microcredit and microinsurance projects aimed at reducing or eliminating carbon while improving the lives of low-income people in our local communities.
SGS supports community development in a number of direct and indirect ways. For example, in addition to our projects, we strive to recruit talent from local communities and procure as many services and commodities from local suppliers as possible. 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.