SGS SA history, profile and history video

     SGS SA is engaged in inspection, verification, testing, certification, and quality assurance services. It lines of business include: Agriculture, Minerals, Life Science, Consumer Testing, System and Services Certification, Industrial, Environmental, Automotive, Government and Institutions, and Oil, Gas and Chemicals. The company was founded in 1878 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

    “SGS History

    International traders in London, including those from France, Germany and the Low Countries, 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 a young Latvian immigrant who, having seen the opportunities at one of the country’s largest ports, began to inspect French grain shipments. With the aid of Captain Maxwell Shafftington he borrowed money from an Austrian friend in order 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 defended the rights of exporters by inspecting and verifying 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. An early innovation, still offered by the company today, was the Full Outturn Guarantee (FOG) which is a service that reimburses the exporter for any loss or gain during shipping as long as SGS can inspect the cargo during both the loading and unloading processes.

    By 1913 the company had grown considerably into a leading grain inspection business and was inspecting 21 million tonnes of grain per year from a network of 45 offices across Europe. In 1915, during the First World War, the company moved its Headquarters from Paris to Geneva, Switzerland, in order to continue its operations in a neutral country and on July 19, 1919 the company adopted the name it carries today, Société Générale de Surveillance.

    During the mid-20th century, SGS began to diversify and 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 the current structure of SGS, consisting of ten business segments operating across ten geographical regions, was formed in 2001.”

    *Information from and

    **Video published on YouTube by “SGS



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