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GRI Content : G4-SO1

Across our global network we support around 200 community initiatives that are initiated by employees and leadership teams in our affiliates in response to local challenges.

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 SDGs and improve quality of life
  • Help build capacity within non-profit agencies through financial, in-kind and volunteer 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

During 2015, we established a strategic objective to increase our investment in communities by 30% by 2020, using a 2014 baseline. Following an assessment of the scope of community activities taking place across our affiliates, we re-organized our Community Policy and Guidelines around three core themes for our community approach which are set out below:

Core Themes 

We offer support to communities through cash donations, community-led sponsorship, employee volunteering, pro bono services and in-kind support. 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

    Community investment is an important part of working for SGS for many employees around the world and we encourage employees to take part in community volunteering activities. In particular, 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 2015, 67% of the projects tracked in our annual community survey had enhanced employee engagement.

  • Supporting a Carbon Neutral Future

    Alongside the SDGs, 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 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

    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.

  • Our Programs

    Our community program is led by our affiliates through collaborations with local community organizations. Across our global network, we support around 200 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 2015, we conducted an evaluation of 91 community projects in 22 countries. Of these, 6 involved SGS customers and 11 involved SGS suppliers.

      The majority of our 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. 43 of our community projects in 2015 were supported through employee volunteering, while 27 benefited from cash sponsorship and 15 benefited from cash donations. A further 16 received in-kind donations and 9 received pro bono services from SGS.

      Community Project

      Through our involvement in local programs, we aim to support communities by contributing to meaningful and measurable outcomes. We are currently working on a methodology that will enable us to accurately measure and assess our community impact. At the same time, we are also keen to understand the effects of our community investment on our employees and SGS as a company. While 1% of our projects were not considered by our internal stakeholders to have any direct positive impact on SGS, it is clear that many affiliates regard community investment as providing multiple benefits, particularly around improved reputation and local profile, and enhanced employee engagement and teamwork.

      At present, 60% of our projects are short-term, one-off projects. However, our aim is to develop long-term, strategic partnerships with community organizations. Through the roll-out of our revised Community Policy and Guidelines in 2016, which provide a framework for managing our community programs around our three core themes and the introduction of our match funding scheme, we expect the proportion of longer-term projects to increase.