What is the SGE 21?
It is the first European standard for implementing, auditing and certifying an ethical and socially responsible management system.
The ESG 21 is a key tool for integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects into the management of companies and organizations of all types.
The SGE 21 develops the requirements for establishing, implementing and evaluating the Ethical and Socially Responsible Management System proposed by Forética. Implementing this system means that the organization's management is convinced of its capacity to generate responsible leadership.
The SGE 21 proposes a logical and clear structure on how to approach CSR in an integral way in the organization, involving the different areas and coordinating the resources and actions to be developed. It allows, on the one hand, to organize and highlight the different internal initiatives implemented and, on the other, to establish a roadmap for improving CSR performance.
SGE 21 is designed to suit all types of organizations and companies, from micro-SMEs to large multinationals, as well as third sector or academic entities.
The SGE 21 participates in the approach of traditional management systems such as quality, environment or health and safety, allowing joint audits. In addition, it presents a clear correspondence with the main transparency and reporting frameworks to maximize synergies.
The SGE 21 standard is aligned with the latest trends in social, environmental and good governance at a global level, thus ensuring that users of the standard are in line with the challenges and opportunities of sustainability, regardless of their geographical scope.
The SGE 21 standard establishes nine management areas that correspond to the main stakeholders and address the key social, environmental and good governance aspects for the company or organization. For each of these areas, a series of requirements are established that must be met.
This is the central management area of the standard, as it involves the involvement of top management in the process and is key to conveying the message and defining the guidelines for responsible management at all organizational levels.
The requirements requested in this area are:
- Develop an Ethics Management Policy and publicize it.
- Define a Code of Conduct to guide corporate decisions.
- Establish a Social Responsibility Committee to coordinate the integration of CSR in the organization.
- Designate a person responsible for the organization's ethics management system.
- Establish a methodology to identify and manage environmental, social and governance risks.
- Define a social responsibility plan, with objectives and progress indicators.
- Identify stakeholders
- Develop an anti-corruption policy
- Conduct annual internal audits
- Conduct an annual Management Review process of the main aspects of the system.
- Disclose non-financial information through the available channels and, in particular, publish a sustainability/CSR report.
One of the main values of organizations is their employees. That is why guaranteeing their rights, their opportunities, their capacity for professional and personal development and their well-being is essential for the success of organizations.
In this management area, the SGE 21 establishes the following requirements:
- Ensuring compliance with human rights
- Establishing policies and procedures to ensure equal opportunity and non-discrimination
- Know the existing diversity profiles and establish action plans for them.
- Design and maintain measures that favor the reconciliation of personal, family and work life.
- Inform employees about the design and structure of the organization and their roles, responsibilities and reporting lines.
- Periodically evaluate the work environment and implement actions to improve it.
- Ensure the health and well-being of people working for or on behalf of the organization.
- Assessing training needs and promoting the employability of employees
- Consider the needs, interests and demands in cases of restructuring.
Customers, understood as all buyers, consumers or users of an organization's products or services, are essential to the sustainability of the business. It is therefore essential to consider and respond appropriately to their needs and interests.
In the relationship with customers, SGE 21 establishes the following requirements:
- Consider environmental, social and good governance criteria in the design and development of products and services, promoting responsible innovation.
- Ensuring the quality of the organization's activity
- Clearly and honestly communicate information about the products and services offered.
- Facilitating access to products and services
- Establish responsible principles to guide the organization's advertising and marketing actions.
- Develop awareness-raising actions to promote the responsible use and consumption of products and services.
Having suppliers aligned with the philosophy of responsible management is a fundamental factor in ensuring the consistency of actions as well as sustainable production and consumption.
SGE 21 establishes the following requirements in relation to suppliers and the supply chain:
- Define responsible purchasing criteria that consider social, environmental and good governance aspects.
- Establish a system to evaluate and classify suppliers according to their level of relevance to the business or activity.
- Approve suppliers according to the purchasing criteria and the evaluation carried out
- Encourage communication with suppliers and their awareness of responsible practices.
Organizations and companies must be aware of their impact and level of influence on the social environment in which they operate and try to contribute in a positive way.
The relationship of the organization with its social environment is structured in the SGE 21 through the following requirements:
- Identify the current and potential positive and negative social impacts that the organization has on its social environment.
- Develop social and solidarity actions in the community that, ideally, favor the participation of its employees.
All organizations, regardless of their size and activity, have an impact on the environment in which they operate. Responsible management means promoting environmental sustainability.
In the SGE 21, the following requirements are established in the relationship of the organization with the environment:
- Identify and evaluate the environmental aspects and impacts of the organization, with the objective of managing and minimizing them.
- Establish objectives and targets at the operational level to monitor the aspects and impacts identified.
- Develop an environmental risk plan to prevent and manage possible emergencies related to the environment.
- Defining a strategy to combat climate change
Investors have a very relevant role in the financing, operation, management and control of a company or organization. The SGE 21 standard aims, at this point, to strengthen the governance of the organization through compliance with the following requirements:
- Establishment of a Code of Good Governance or investor relations protocol, containing relevant information on the organization's management.
- Make public and accessible the annual accounts of the organization, through the mechanisms that each one considers appropriate.
A company or organization with responsible management must ensure that it behaves with integrity and respect for its competitors, even encouraging collaboration in favor of sustainability and CSR in the sector or market in which it operates.
With these objectives in mind, the standard establishes the following requirements in relation to competition:
Respect competitors with respect to the capture and dissemination of information or property rights, among others, using arbitration formulas in the event of disputes
- Establish alliances and cooperation in the development of actions of common interest and exchange of experiences, among other aspects.
The main responsibility of an organization or company is to comply with the legislation and regulations established by public entities. It is also considered important to maintain an understanding and communication with public administrations regarding the promotion of sustainability and CSR.
The SGE 21 standard establishes the following requirements in the relationship with public administrations:
- Follow up and comply with the applicable legislation and regulations for each organization, updating the requirements periodically.
- To be transparent with regard to the satisfaction of taxes.
- Maintain open channels of communication and dialogue with public administrations and cooperate with them.
Enables better risk management
Promotes a responsible culture in the organization.
Facilitates access to new clients that incorporate ESG aspects in their contracting criteria (such as public administrations or large corporations).
It is easily integrated with other management systems.
Facilitates the collection of information and indicators of Social Responsibility.
Helps to demonstrate to stakeholders the organization's real commitment to CSR management, generating trust.
Contributes to the credibility and trust of the organization thanks to external review and recognition processes.
Companies and organizations can choose the SGE 21 as a reference standard to guide their steps in integrating environmental, social and good governance aspects into their strategy and management. Due to its characteristics, the standard is presented as a suitable tool to be used internally in the process of systematizing CSR.
Additionally, the standard provides the option for companies and organizations that use it to obtain an external demonstration element, which so indicates.
The evaluation of compliance with this Standard implies voluntarily acquiring a commitment to sustainability in economic, social and environmental matters. It also involves applying , demonstrating and maintaining ethical values.
This evaluation can be done in two ways:
The certification process is carried out exclusively through certification entities approved by Forética in three-year certification cycles (initial audit in the first year and follow-up audits in the following two years).
List of certifying entities of Forética:
- APPLUS + Certification
- Bureau Veritas Certification
- Chamber Certifies
- DNV GL.
- OCA Global
- TÜV Rheinland Ibérica
The entity that passes the audits receives a certificate that accredits it on behalf of the certifying entity that carried out the audit and Forética.
This option is especially interesting for those organizations with a purpose of continuous improvement through management systems and for which obtaining a certification in the SGE 21 standard is an element of differentiation and recognition.
For more information on the certification process, please contact email@example.com.
Evaluation by Forética of the level of application of the requirements of the Standard in an organization through a documentary review and collection of evidence in the public information of the entity. Through this process, validation is obtained of the use of the management methodology proposed by the Standard at a given time.
The conformity assessment process is carried out by Forética through professionals approved for this purpose according to the following considerations:
- It is a documentary review of the information provided by the company (self-declaration) and of evidence obtained through the public information of such entity.
- Includes the 9 management areas considered by the SGE 21
- It does not imply an exhaustive evaluation of each and every one of the requirements of the standard, but it does provide a first approximation of the degree of development of CSR in the organization, taking this international standard as a reference.
If a more detailed, exhaustive and face-to-face evaluation process is required, the certification process through a certification body is the most appropriate option.
You can learn more about the conformity assessment process here.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The offer will be prepared based on the criteria established for the allocation of audit days and the rates in force at the date of the request for quotation, the only valid offers being those issued directly by Forética. It will be the client who decides the Forética certification entity with which he/she wishes to carry out the certification of his/her management system.
Once the offer has been approved, the auditor appointed by the certification body chosen for the audit prepares the audit plan according to the format provided by Forética. This document will be sent to both the client and Forética.
The initial audit consists of two phases, phase 1 is the documentary review and generally does not require an on-site visit by the audit team, and phase 2 is the on-site audit in which the corresponding evidence is collected through personal interviews with the different people responsible for the audit, a visit to the facilities and a review of records. Follow-up audits do not require the completion of phase 1.
After each audit, the audit team prepares the documents that make up the certification dossier: the audit report and the corrective action requests, which must be responded to by the audited entity within the period established by the auditor, always less than 3 months.
When Forética receives the audit report and the resolution of the non-conformities, the Forética Certification Committee is convened (which lasts 10 calendar days), which will decide whether or not to issue the certificate with the recommendation of the certification body that has carried out the audit. The composition of this Committee is as follows: President of FORÉTICA or person delegated by him/her (who will act as chairman), partner expert in the field, representative of the certifying entity that has acted (who will have voice but no vote), representative of another member certifying entity, representative of an NGO and those responsible for Forética in the technical and scientific areas (one of whom will act as Secretary).
After a favorable evaluation by the Committee, the certificate issued shall be valid for a period of three years from the date on which the Committee decides to issue it. The continued validity of a certificate is subject to the fulfillment of the certification requirements.
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