Introduction to Our 2016 Sustainability Report
GRI Content: G4-29, G4-30
Welcome to our eighth annual sustainability report, covering January 1 to December 31, 2016. This report has been prepared in line with the GRI G4 Guidelines, to provide a comprehensive account of our sustainability approach. Alongside this report, we continue to move closer to integrated reporting through our business materiality matrix and the inclusion of substantive detail on our sustainability performance in the SGS Annual Report 2016.
We are living in a world where the “new normal” is defined by accelerated change and disruptive technologies. Companies must adapt by being forward thinking and embracing technologies that make the most sense for their industry and for future growth. Thus, we can expect more companies to invest in technological knowledge, become innovators or early adopters, actively use technologies to drive business performance and operational efficiencies, keep employees’ skills up-to-date and plan for a range of scenarios in which the potential benefits of emerging technologies are balanced with the risks they might pose.
At SGS, we have refocused, redefined and reshaped our sustainability strategy to ensure that our business can catalyze change at scale. A new generation of “sustainability”– a generation defined by a culture that is intuitive to the need for change and anchored by clear principles of responsible corporate behavior – is emerging. Building on our robust management systems and governance structure, we have defined the standards that we expect of ourselves and our business partners in the SGS Human Rights Policy, the SGS Supplier Code of Conduct and our revised corporate sustainability policies. In addition, our Sustainability Ambitions 2020 focus management attention on eight pivotal goals linked to professional and operational integrity, talent retention, women in leadership, reduced carbon emissions and community investment.
A highlight in 2016 has been the creation of our first Business Materiality Matrix, which moves us substantially closer to our goal of integrated reporting. The matrix integrates the outputs of our materiality and our business risk assessment processes to identify the most important issues on which to focus management attention. The process involved extensive consultation with around 850 stakeholders in 52 countries as well as a detailed benchmark review of globally relevant and sector specific sustainability issues and trends. A weighted analysis of the outputs of our stakeholder dialogue and the topics identified in our annual board risk review was also performed. The final phase of the process involved our leadership team prioritizing material issues based on levels of business impact and exposure to risk.
We have come a long way in the nine years since we began our sustainability journey. During this time, we have transitioned from process implementation to business integration and delivering value to society. Today, we have a clearly articulated roadmap as we work towards achieving our Sustainability Ambitions by 2020. I am encouraged by the progress we have made this year in our sustainability performance, especially in relation to improvements in our lost time incident reporting and our total recordable injuries rate, as well as the reduction in our CO2 emissions and our sponsorship of training places that will enable young people to acquire vocational skills and qualifications through the SGS Academy.
I believe that sustainable development has the potential to be a key differentiator for business and I am confident that in this technology driven, digitally driven and change driven world the next generation of sustainability at SGS can support the Company in pursuing its growth strategy and its mission to deliver value to society.
Daniel Rüfenacht, Vice President Corporate Sustainability
For more information on our materiality assessment please see The SGS Business Materiality Matrix.
For more information on our approach to reporting please see Our Approach to Reporting.
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