How We Manage Human Rights
The SGS Code of Integrity (the ‘Code’) sets out our principles on human rights issues covering non-discrimination, freedom of association and collective bargaining, child labor and forced labor, and bribery and corruption. The Code is supported by periodic risk assessments, mandatory training, due diligence procedures, performance monitoring and reporting, and whistle-blowing procedures.
Suspected violations of the Code are reported via an Integrity Helpline or directly to the corporate and local Compliance teams. Investigations are conducted by our trained network of investigators who report to the Global Head of Corporate Security.
The Chief Compliance Officer has overall responsibility for managing compliance with the Code and performance is reported to the Professional Conduct Committee. Senior managers are expected to demonstrate visible and explicit support for the Code and related training programs.
SGS businesses and assets (i.e. people, equipment, physical locations, intellectual property and funds) are inevitably exposed to security risks. The SGS Corporate Security team is responsible for ensuring that security arrangements are effective in enabling SGS to operate without unacceptable exposure to deliberate harm. Our comprehensive Global Security Standard and Security Guidelines and local security arrangements, including security guarding, focus on protecting our defined asset group while respecting human rights. These are supported by a Security Network which assists local implementation.
Human rights risks are managed through our business risk management system. Regional monitoring and decision-making are overseen by the Operations Council which assesses our scope of involvement in particular regions and evaluates the risks to individuals and communities as well as our assets. When assessing human rights risks, the Operations Council considers four critical factors: (1) compliance with international legislation, (2) safeguarding the safety and security of employees, (3) ensuring the continuity of essential services that enable civil society to function, and (4) preserving our independence, impartiality and neutrality.
A Security Intelligence Hub (SIHUB) supports the security risk management capability by collating internal and external data on the assets, threats and controls in place to minimize security incidents and facilitate business sustainability. Weekly reports on global security risks are prepared for the senior management team. Our global security network of trained risk managers is involved in implementing SGS global security standards and guidelines, enabling management to review and audit local security arrangements and risks, and maintain and test business continuity plans using common tools.
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All employees complete annual integrity training which is updated each year using real-life case studies drawn from the business. Training is typically conducted face-to-face and in teams by trained managers using scenarios adapted to the employees’ areas of work. Employees must sign the Code at the start of their employment with SGS and are required to complete the annual integrity training. The Compliance team monitors the proportion of employees completing the annual integrity training (AIT) and the integrity e-learning for new employees.
Employees recruited into our investigator and security networks are provided with skills training as part of their induction and undertake awareness training as part of their roles.
During 2014, SGS joined forces with the Anvil Group, an internationally renowned security organization specializing in travel risk management and crisis avoidance, to implement a comprehensive global support system for employees while travelling. Working in partnership with a dedicated travel agency, SGS employees are provided with access to generic and tailored pre-travel advice, advice or immediate assistance while travelling, a manned, multi-lingual 24-hour hotline, and a smartphone app which tracks employee movements while travelling in high risk locations. In addition, travel advice is available to employees through a dedicated online portal which includes policies, procedures and guidelines. During 2014, 43,887 travel itineraries were logged onto the global support system, 32,576 pre-trip information packs were provided to employees and 665 travelers were provided with targeted training. In total, 12 travelers called the travel hotline to seek assistance. Of these, two travelers were provided with practical support.