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Traded asSIXSGSN
ISINCH0002497458 Edit this on Wikidata
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland
Key people
Peter Kalantzis (Acting Chairman)
Frankie Ng (CEO)
Dominik de Daniel (CFO)
ServicesTesting, inspection, certification
RevenueCHF 6.7 billion (2018)[1]
CHF 690 million (2018)[1]
Total assetsCHF 6.068 billion (end 2018)[1]
Total equityCHF 1.743 billion (end 2018)[1]
Number of employees
94,000 (end 2018)(2018)[1]

SGS (formerly Société Générale de Surveillance (French for General Society of Surveillance)) is a multinational company headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland which provides inspection, verification, testing and certification services. It has more than 94,000 employees and operates over 2,600 offices and laboratories worldwide.[1] It ranked on Forbes Global 2000 in 2015,[2] 2016 [3] and 2017.[4]

The core services offered by SGS include the inspection and verification of the quantity, weight and quality of traded goods, the testing of product quality and performance against various health, safety and regulatory standards, and to make sure that products, systems or services meet the requirements of standards set by governments, standardization bodies or by SGS customers.[a]


International traders in London, including those from France, Germany and the Netherlands, the Baltic, Hungary, the Mediterranean and the United States, founded the London Corn Trade Association in 1878 in order to standardize shipping documents for exporting nations and to clarify procedures and disputes relating to the quality of imported grain.

In the same year, SGS was founded in Rouen, France, by Henri Goldstuck, a young Latvian immigrant who, having seen the opportunities at one of the country’s largest ports, began to inspect French grain shipments.[5] With the aid of Captain Maxwell Shafftington, he borrowed money from an Austrian friend to start inspecting the shipments arriving in Rouen as, during transit, losses showed in the volume of grain as a result of shrinkage and theft. The service inspected and verified the quantity and quality of the grain on arrival with the importer.

Business grew rapidly; the two entrepreneurs went into business together in December 1878 and, within a year, had opened offices in Le Havre, Dunkirk and Marseilles.

In 1915, during the First World War, the company moved its headquarters from Paris to Geneva, Switzerland and on July 19, 1919 the company adopted the name Société Générale de Surveillance.

During the mid-20th century, SGS started offering inspection, testing and verification services across a variety of sectors, including industrial, minerals and oil, gas and chemicals, among others. In 1981, the company went public and in 1985 joined the Swiss Market Index.


The company works in the following industries: agriculture and food, automotive, aviation, chemical, construction, consumer goods and retail, energy, finance, industrial manufacturing, life sciences, logistics, mining, oil and gas, and public sector.

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • Ranked by Forbes as 2017 Top Multinational Performers[6]
  • Forbes ranked SGS in the world’s most innovative companies in 2017.[7]
  • Ranked by Dow Jones Sustainability Indices as a 2017[8] and 2016[9] Industry Leader in Commercial & Professional Services for its sustainability processes.[10]
  • KPMG ranked the SGS Code of Integrity in the top ten among Swiss companies in 2015.[11]
  • In 2015, the company joined RE100, a global group of companies that aims to generate their energy fully from renewable sources.[12]


  1. ^ Hermann Simon mentioned this company in his correspondent book as an example of a "Hidden Champion" (Simon, Hermann: Hidden Champions of the 21st Century : Success Strategies of unknown World Market Leaders. London: Springer, 2009. - ISBN 978-0-387-98147-5. P. 10).


  1. ^ a b c d e f "SGS 2018 Full Year Results" (PDF). SGS. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  2. ^ "China Takes Lead On The 2015 Global 2000". Forbes. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  3. ^ "The World's Biggest Public Companies list". Forbes. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Forbes World's Biggest Public Companies 2017 ranking". Forbes. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  5. ^ "SGS - E- Story". Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Forbes Top Multinational Performers". Forbes. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  7. ^ "The World's Most Innovative Companies". Forbes. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  8. ^ "Industry Group Leaders 2017 | Sustainability Indices". Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Industry Group Leaders 2016 | Sustainability Indices". Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Industry Group Leaders 2016 | Sustainability Indices". Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Swiss Codes of Conduct Benchmark" (PDF). 17 April 2015.
  12. ^ "World's Leading Companies Join Campaign for 100% renewable power -". REI Group. Retrieved 3 December 2015.

External links[edit]