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Last week, Ethical Corporation hosted a webinar with Oracle, Barclays and HP to help sustainability professionals master materiality in CSR reporting and communications
With materiality playing a prominent role in the GRI G4 framework (to be implemented by January 2016) - this discussion was very popular: over 850 sustainability professionals signed up to listen into the debate and take part in the live debate. The Materiality webinar was organised as part of the lead up to The 9th Annual CR Reporting and Communications Summit, which will help companies to drive efficiency and change through sustainability reporting.
Jon Chorely, Ellen Jackowski and Ved Walia all shared invaluable insight into materiality within their respective businesses and reflect on the results of the interactive voting (from over 300 live participants).
The three experts shared their materiality matrices, insight into their business strategies and provided the listeners with key learning points and takeaways. Here are just three of those practical tips that you can use:
1. Figure out the right process
Ellen Jackowski, who leads social innovation at HP, outlined the necessity of having a clear methodology before you launch into your assessment. It seems logical, but you need to know exactly what it is that you want to achieve, and the most effective way to get there. Ellen also highlighted the need to have all the right players involved, obtaining both an External and Internal point of view. Preparing and engaging before charging into your materiality assessment will help you align your reporting and strategy to business and stakeholder goals.
2. Begin with relative importance to business success
Sometimes, with sustainability professionals, we tend to focus on the external stakeholders first. Jon Chorely, The Chief Sustainability Officer at Oracle, highlights that there are two dimensions to the materiality matrix; defining which issues impact business success and sustainable development. Jon advised listeners that it is important to focus on which issues can add value to your company. "This allows you to align your investment decisions to those that work out best for the business."
3. Keep it simple
Another pottential pitfall is to overcomplicate the process. Materiality assessments are something that involve a number of external and internal stakeholders, and keeping it simple will help you win support for the process. Vedant Walia, Vice President of Citizenship, Reporting and Assurance at Barclays mentioned that it is important to have a clear view, but that you shouldn't try to overengineer the process. Vedant also mentioned that it's important to use the people around you and that you need to have the dialogue both internally and externally.
These three tips among many other useful pieces of advice were taken from Ethical Corporation's free webinar discussion on Materiality in CR Reporting and Communications.
Want to hear more? You can watch the full video here.
materiality CR Reporting HP Oracle Barclays