SGS is often synonymous with product testing and certification to the point that manufacturers sometimes refer to lab testing as “SGS testing”. That’s not surprising, given the incredible scope of product compliance services offered by Switzerland-based SGS.
This guide serves as an introduction to SGS company history, testing and certification services, main markets, accreditations, and more.
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SGS has a long history spanning nearly one and a half centuries. In the late 1870s, Henri Goldstuck established the company in Rouen, France, and proceeded to open new branches in Havre, Dunkirk, and Marseille – France’s three largest ports at that time.
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the company moved its headquarters from Paris to Geneva, Switzerland, and adopted Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS) as its name.
SGS went from inspecting grain shipments to inspecting industrial machines and goods. The company began its industrial services by expanding and establishing inspection and testing services for the gas and chemical sector.
During the late 20th century, SGS provided remediation services and environmental consultancy to companies in the gas and oil sectors, before going public in 1985.
In recent decades, SGS expanded to China and other countries. Today it is active worldwide and it employs more than 96,000 workers across 2,600 labs and offices.
HQ: 1 Place des Alpes, Geneva, Switzerland
Countries and markets
SGS provides testing and certification in several markets, including North America, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Australia.
United States and Canada
SGS offers certification, testing, and consultancy services to ensure product safety compliance with regulations such as:
- FDA 21 CFR
- FCC Part 15
- OSH Act
It is both recognized as an NRTL by OSHA and awarded A2LA accreditation to test and certify electrical and electronic products in the US.
The Standards Council of Canada also accredited SGS to test industrial and commercial equipment for safety, performance, and electrical safety.
SGS offers product safety testing services against standards for the US and Canadian markets, including:
- UL standards
- ASME standards
- ASTM standards
- ANSI standards
- NFPA standards
SGS’s offices and labs in the US can be found in many locations, such as:
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Denver, Colorado
- Houston, Texas
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Tampa, Florida
The company’s Canadian offices and labs can be found in places such as:
- Mississauga, Ontario
- Fort McMurray, Alberta
- Calgary, Alberta
- Quebec City, Quebec
SGS was awarded the IECEE Test Laboratory Qualification to test and certify electrical equipment. UKAS has also accredited SGS to certify against management system standards and sector schemes.
SGS offers product assessment and testing services to help businesses ensure that their products meet the requirements of regulations that demand the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark. Specifically, they offer services for products such as:
- Personal protective equipment
- Construction products
- Medical devices
It also offers to test products against UK REACH requirements so that said products can be sold on the UK market.
The company’s labs and offices are located across different counties in the UK, and they include places such as
- Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
- Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire
- Cramlington, Northumberland
- Conwy, Wales
- Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
SGS offers testing services against REACH and other regulations to companies who want to sell their products in the EU.
The company offers a range of REACH services including:
The company also offers testing and other services for products that fall under the scope of CE directives. Below we list four CE directives for which SGS offers its services:
SGS also offers testing services against EN standards relevant for different kinds of products, including:
a. EN 71 – Safety of Toys
b. EN ISO 20471 – High-visibility clothing – Test methods and requirements
c. EN 1150 – Protective clothing – Visibility clothing for non-professional use – Test methods and requirements
The company’s offices and labs can be found in many countries across the EU, including:
- The Czech Republic
SGS offers to test products against standards such as AS/NZS ISO 8124.3 – Migration of Certain Elements.
Their offices and labs are located in the following Australian states:
- Western Australia
- New South Wales
- South Australia
SGS provides certification services to companies wishing to ensure that their processes, products, services, or systems comply with national and international standards and regulations.
ISO 9001 is an internationally-recognized quality management system (QMS) standard that ensures services and products are in line with the requirements.
SGS offers to help companies set up their quality management systems and get ISO 9001-certified. It also provides services that complement its ISO 9001 certification program, such as:
- ISO 9001 training courses
- ISO 9001 gap assessments
- Integrated Management Systems Certification
ISO 14001 is an environmental management system standard that measures and improves environmental performance. In addition to offering ISO 14001 certification, SGS also offers gap analyses to businesses making the transition from ISO 14001:2004 to ISO 14001:2015.
ISO 45001 is an internationally recognized standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS).
SGS offers awareness training to businesses wanting to understand what ISO 45001 requires of them. It also provides gap analysis programs so that companies previously certified for OHSAS 18001 can make a smooth transition to acquiring an ISO 45001 certificate.
SGS also offers services for ISO 22000 certification, which is granted to organizations that meet the required food safety standards. Being ISO 22000-certified demonstrates that organizations can control hazards related to food safety by ensuring that the food they produce can be safely eaten.
The Food Safety Systems Certification (FSSC) 22000 is a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) food safety standard that is based on the Food Management System Standard ISO 22000 mentioned above.
SGS offers to audit, test, and subsequently award the FSSC 22000 to organizations so they can manage their responsibilities toward food safety and confidently sell their food products.
In addition to offering solutions to companies who need to transition from being ISO 13485:2003-certified to being ISO 13485:2016-certified, SGS also offers them internal auditing and risk-based thinking training.
ISO 50001 is an international energy management system that allows companies to improve their energy performance, and cut costs. The system puts in place an international framework for how commercial, institutional, and industrial organizations can use, supply, and consume energy.
SGS helps companies gain certification against ISO 50001, and it does this by offering:
- Gap assessments
- Certification audits
FSC Forest Management
An FSC Forest Management certification can help to assure buyers that the timber companies want to purchase has been responsibly sourced from a forest that has been confirmed to be managed according to the correct economic, social, and environmental standards.
SGS is an FSC-accredited body that carries out forest management certification services. The certification process is an assessment that is carried out independently. It ensures that an organization’s forest management practices comply with the FSC’s internationally-recognized standards.
SGS’s centuries-long expertise allows for it to provide testing services to a large array of industries.
Consumer goods and retail testing
SGS helps importers and manufacturers of consumer products meet quality expectations and safety requirements by offering them a complete range of services, which include:
- Laboratory testing
- Product inspection and consulting
- Process assessment
- Technical assistance
SGS offers a wide range of lab testing services to ensure chemical use is controlled following an organization’s industry tolerance levels. Their lab testing services include chemical material and finished products testing, including for:
- Plastics and synthetic fibers
- Pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals
- Consumer products
In addition to offering a comprehensive range of certification, consulting, and training services, SGS helps organizations become more responsible toward the environment.
The services they offer in this regard to testing services include:
- Testing soil and water for contaminants
- Testing the air quality
- Testing and assessing noise pollution
With regards to building material services and ensuring safety at all stages of construction, SGS INTRON carries out specialized materials testing using over 100 test methods.
These tests can help your company to assess:
- Chemical properties
- Physical properties
- Mechanical properties
- Environmental properties
SGS provides non-destructive testing (NDT) services to organizations to help them ensure that their equipment is safe and can be operated efficiently. This is important because potential machinery defects have to be detected before they result in an accident happening.
SGS’s non-destructive tests are carried out via international standards.
SGS has many different accreditations. We list several of them below.
|The United States
|Management Systems Certification
SGS has around 15 notified bodies in the EU. Below we list three examples. You can find more information on this website.
SGS Belgium NV – Division SGS CEBEC is accredited for the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive.
SGS Nederland B.V. is accredited for the following directives:
- Measuring Instruments Directive
- Construction Products Regulation
SGS Portugal – Sociedade Geral de Superintendência, S.A. is accredited for the following directives:
- Simple Pressure Vessels Directive
- Pressure Equipment Directive
- Transportable Pressure Equipment Directive
You can find some reviews written by SGS’s clients, including Accor and Easyfairs, this page.
Here you find a both video and written testimonials concerning Galson’s SGS lab.
You can also find some reviews of SGS on third-party websites such as: