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Practitioners’ Perspectives
Sustainability leaders discuss the function and future of materiality analysis

Part three of our materiality blog series

In the previous segment of our materiality blog series, we analyzed GRI reporting criteria to determine whether materiality analysis is truly an integral component of a report based on the GRI G3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. We found that while the language in the GRI Guidelines strongly encourages the use of materiality, there is no formal requirement for companies to follow any particular analysis process.

Extending our inquiry, we reached out to sustainability professionals at companies currently using the GRI Guidelines—hoping to better understand the perceived role of materiality analysis within corporations themselves.

A powerful tool

In speaking with best-practice leaders, including representatives from Timberland, EMC, and Intel, we posed the following questions:

Have you conducted a materiality analysis within your company? If so, how?
Do you believe that materiality analysis has… More >

In this third installment of our series, we consider how a materiality analysis can leapfrog companies over common roadblocks to developing a sustainable business strategy—and position them for integrated financial and sustainability reporting.

Crafting a comprehensive sustainability strategy isn’t easy (indeed, to quote Ken Frietas of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship: “It’s a long, hard, slog!”) Companies face several challenges to successfully incorporating sustainability risks and opportunities into their business strategies, including:

Information overload: the sustainability “umbrella” encompasses a huge array of potential social, environmental, and economic issues.
Squeaky wheels: the most vocal stakeholders may be focused on issues of relatively minor importance
Limited resources: organizations must choose carefully where to allocate scarce resources
Turf wars: there may be internal conflicts over the importance of specific sustainability issues

A materiality analysis is useful in addressing all of these challenges. It provides… More >