The testing, inspection and certification (TIC) market is constantly evolving in response to changing technologies and consumption patterns, emerging market production, multi-channel distribution and an increased focus on quality, protection, efficiency and regulation. With sustainable development and new technologies increasingly being a feature of every industry, demand for sustainability-related services represents an important opportunity for SGS. Our sustainability services are fully integrated into the strategy of each business line.
For SGS, creating and delivering value means using our scale and expertise to enable a more responsible, balanced and sustainable future. We help our customers to adopt and develop more sustainable business practices, and in turn, support them in creating products, technologies and services that deliver added value. We help organizations to:
- Ensure that they and their partners have efficient and manageable processes and systems in place which comply with stakeholder requirements related to quality, health and safety, environmental management, corporate social responsibility and other areas of sustainable development
- Become more environmentally responsible: we offer a comprehensive range of testing, verification, certification, consulting and training services. For example, we verify CO2 emissions trading. We advise on the use of wind energy, test soil and water for contaminants, check air quality, assess noise pollution, model groundwater dispersion and establish whether a level of vibration is acceptable. We also audit and certify environmental management systems and train companies on how to implement and report on them
- Ensure sustainable facilities and production through multiple services including site operation and management, green process design, and carbon footprint evaluation for products and packaging
- Implement procedures that minimize the risk of corruption, undertake due diligence checks on business partners and verify programs for certification
- Develop a better working or social environment through our auditing, reporting and support services, which range from supply chain management and social responsibility to traceability and training
Some specific examples of SGS sustainability services include:
- Protecting Cameroon against import and export fraud: a new scanner site in the port of Douala, financed and deployed by SGS, consists of two high throughput scanners capable of performing up to 300 scans per hour. Interfacing with SGS D-TECT, our innovative universal image analysis solution uses remote analysis and automated threat detection features to scan all import and export containers passing through the port, making Douala the first port in the world to implement 100% scanning. The scanning facility enables Cameroon Customs to target and control high risk shipments
- Ensuring responsible chemical management in the apparel industry: every year, the apparel industry uses large amounts of chemicals, including hazardous chemicals that pose a risk to workers during the manufacture of products, and to retailers, consumers and the environment during product use and disposal. While legislation on the management of hazardous chemicals exists and is increasing, many suppliers in the apparel supply chain are unsure about how to implement effective controls and monitoring processes. Through the SGS 4C model, we help companies to meet their chemical compliance obligations using processes focused around commitment, competence, critical point control and comprehensive system management
(See our case study on the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) program)
- Ensuring land tenure security in emerging economies: effective land management performs a crucial role in the sustainable development of urban areas and is a key driver of economic development. The exponential growth of urbanization – with the percentage of people living in urban areas around the world rising from 37.9% in 1976 to 54.5% in 2016 – has made the importance of sustainable urban development increasingly apparent. Land tenure security drives economic development in emerging economies through improved land governance and the sustainable management of land and natural resources. SGS Land Management focuses on land policy formulation, legal frameworks and modernization of land management processes and systems through the modeling of a fit for purpose, decentralized and inclusive land administration tool. SGS participated in HABITAT III, held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016. Convened by the United Nations General Assembly every 20 years, this global summit brings together member states, multilateral organizations, local governments and members of the private sector and civil society to rethink the urban agenda and develop policies that foster sustainable urban planning and ensure equity and prosperity for all
- Supporting crop farmers in Kenya in accessing global markets: Kenya’s Pest Control Products Board has accredited SGS to conduct field residue and efficacy trials for fungicides and insecticides in wheat, potatoes and vegetables for registration purposes. Valid for three years, this accreditation enables SGS in Kenya to offer new services in field research, in addition to the laboratory pesticide residue analysis which we have been conducting in the region for some years. SGS experts based across the country deliver farmland suitability surveys, soil and leaf analysis, agronomy advice, harvest monitoring, and pesticide residue analysis. These services help to ensure improved crops, harvests and yields while reducing costs and maximizing returns, significantly improving access to global markets for Kenya’s thriving and important agriculture industry
- Helping to create better transparency in global supply chains: with western governments introducing legislation to stamp out modern slavery, businesses in the food industry are particularly exposed given their long and protracted supply chains. The most important risk factor arises when companies outsource the recruiting function, for example hiring overseas labor agents to attract migrant workers to meet regional labor shortages. Labor agents may make false promises to prospective recruits, leading them to expect living and working conditions that are much better than the reality. Other labor agent practices can include withholding workers’ documents, such as passports, and charging workers fees, which can take them years to repay.
Transparency-One works in partnership with SGS to provide companies with access to data relating to operators throughout their supply chains. Using an open business-to-business network, it allows operators to collect product, ingredient and facility information uploaded by suppliers across the supply chain. Once a chain has been created, each company can examine all the facilities they have been given access to and make sure they are compliant with recognized social auditing and certification schemes. The system will also detect non-audited or non-certified suppliers, alerting companies to potential business risks and triggering remediation plans. The service can also help reduce the possibility of food fraud, unsafe food practices and forced labor while enhancing supply chain efficiency, building customer confidence and helping to improve trust in brands
- Ensuring best-in-class health and safety standards at Milazzo oil refinery: the Refinery of Milazzo is one of the most complex and advanced refineries in Europe. A joint venture corporation, whose shareholders include Eni and Kuwait Petroleum, the refinery appointed SGS in early 2016 to manage its maintenance and improvement program. This appointment builds on 17 years’ experience of SGS supporting Milazzo with its health and safety construction activities and maintenance of its safety standards. The project, which involved 2,000 company personnel and the induction of 1,717 workers entering the refinery, has resulted in Milazzo achieving a target of zero accidents during the turn-around. In addition, SGS verified 483 pieces of scaffolding and 410 health and safety plans, conducted 1,068 inspections, convened 298 safety coordination meetings, and rewarded 148 employees on their safety performance. During this time, 13,456 work permits were issued. All health and safety activities were performed by a dedicated team of up to 30 SGS experts during the project. Following the success of this project, Milazzo has awarded SGS a contract for construction health and safety for both maintenance and new projects
- Supporting Russian industries through oil condition monitoring: the analysis of used oil and other lubricants is a cost-effective means of identifying and preventing potential problems. Oil condition monitoring (OCM) provides information that can be used to determine when maintenance operations should be performed, reducing downtime and minimizing operating losses due to unexpected failure. SGS has been delivering OCM services for 40 years. We have the largest network of independent OCM laboratories in the world, with 32 laboratories analyzing more than 1,000,000 samples each year. Our new dedicated testing facility in St Petersburg, Russia offers a complete range of OCM services to industries including factories, road transport, railway, marine, mining and power generation. Using our centralized Services for Oil and Fuel Intranet Application (Sofi@) LIMS system to gather and analyze data on engines and other pieces of equipment located around the world, our central team of mechanical engineers, based in France, interprets the sample analytical results
Other services may have indirect sustainability benefits. For example:
- Promoting trust in the not-for-profit sector: ensuring the transparency, integrity and performance of development agencies, public institutions, foundations, NGOs and grassroots organizations is of crucial importance to donors, beneficiaries, contractors or local authorities. SGS aid efficiency services support these organizations by assuring the quality and integrity of their management approaches and promoting accountability to stakeholders. The SGS NGO Benchmark Certification audit provides an impartial assessment of the compliance level of an NGO with international best practices and evaluates it on criteria including strategy; governance; integrity management; communication, advocacy and public image; human resources; fund-raising and financial controls; operations; outcomes; and continuous improvement.
- Optimizing products and manufacturing processes through cradle to cradle certification: the usefulness of Cradle to Cradle principles in optimizing products and manufacturing has been recognized in multiple programs that are driving sustainability, such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The LEED program rewards the use of Cradle to Cradle Certified products because of the chemical composition risk assessment and stringent work to continually improve products and help manufacturers and designers understand and reduce the impacts of material choices on the end user and the environment. Since manufacturers can obtain a certification for a product range, multiple products that use the same or similar material composition and have the same end use can be certified together, which increases the offering of certified products in the market by simplifying the process and reducing cost. Various levels of certification exist: basic, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Each requirement covers five categories: material health, renewable energy, water stewardship, material reutilization and social fairness. Following an in-depth assessment, a rating is generated and the material health category is scored from basic to platinum. Once a product is certified, an optimization plan can be developed to help the certification holder either retain certification or obtain a higher level during recertification.
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