How to leverage a Shared Topic for your Materiality Analysis

In this article, you will learn how to assess the Shared Topics in the Community Topics feature and find the right one to use in your Materiality Analysis

Accessing and reviewing Shared Topics

Finding and filtering the Shared Topics library

To access the Shared Topics library, click the Shared Topics tab in the Community Topics feature. The resulting page contains a list of all of the topics that have been created by Datamaran and its clients and shared with the community.

It is important to note that a topic created in Community Topics has been checked for accuracy, or “validated”, only against sustainability and financial reports from companies within a defined sector(s). When leveraging a Shared Topic for inclusion in a materiality analysis, the sector(s) used to create the topic should match the sector(s) applied in your materiality analysis. This is very important to remember as you’re reviewing the Shared Topics library since the validity of a topic checked in the context of another sector(s) cannot be confirmed without additional review.

To identify those Shared Topics that have been created and validated within the context of your relevant sector(s), use the sector filter located on the left-hand side of the page. By adding a sector(s) to the filter, the Shared Topic list will refine to just show those topics validated against the selected sector(s). 

You can also filter the Shared Topics list by keyword found in the topic name.

Reviewing the Shared Topics

When you identify a Shared Topic that may represent an emerging trend or specific area of your business you think could be assessed in your materiality analysis, you can quickly review the topic details by clicking the arrow on the right-hand side of the topic box. Included in these summary details are the topic name, topic description, sector(s) in which the terms were validated, and the specific terms that comprise the topic. Together, these details should give you a greater understanding of whether the topic is appropriate for your company.

There may be instances when a Shared Topic has been created and validated within the context of a sector(s) different from that which you are using in your Benchmark materiality analysis, but when the topic still appropriately represents an area of your business that warrants inclusion in your materiality analysis. In these cases, you can use the terms that comprise the Shared Topic but will need to change the scope of the topic to reflect the sector(s) appropriate to your materiality analysis. This action of changing the topic scope also means that all the terms will need to be revalidated, since the previous validations are no longer applicable.

Leveraging a Shared Topic for your Materiality Analysis

Make it your own: add it to 'Your Topics'

Once you identify a Shared Topic that you think accurately reflects an emerging trend or industry-specific area relevant to your company, the first step is to add it to your 'Your Topics' list. To do this, click the 'Add to Your Topics' button next to the appropriate Shared Topic. This will create a copy of the topic for you to edit or include in your Materiality Analysis.

Reviewing your new topic

It is strongly suggested that you first review the topic composition before including it in your Materiality Analysis. This is to ensure that the scope aligns with your needs, and for you to get a better feel for the quality of the topic by scrutinizing the terms and term statistics.

Clicking the 'View' button next to the topic you just added will open the 'Validate Terms' page. Here you can see each of the terms that are included in the topic, together with their statistics. 

To review how a term was validated in context, click the applicable 'Review' button. This will open the term validation screen, through which you can browse to view the text samples, identify whether they were deemed valid or not, and validate additional samples if available. You can also change the 'valid' or 'invalid' selection for any sample.

To better understand how to approach this, visit our 'How to build a new topic' page.

Editing the topic

To make any edits to the topic, including adding or removing terms, you will need to return the topic to draft mode. On the 'Validate Terms' page, under the 'Topic Status' section, click the 'Return to Draft' button. Once in 'Draft' mode, you can make any appropriate edits to the topic. You can also change topic name, description and sector scope under the 'Topic Details' tab.

On occasions when you need to change the sector scope of a topic, note that this action resets all of the term statistics and removes existing term validation. All terms will need to be re-validated under the new sector scope.

After you complete all necessary edits, remember to publish the topic again by clicking the 'Publish' button on the 'Validate Terms' page.

Including the new topic in your Topic Mapping

When you're happy with your new topic and it is in 'Published' mode, you can add it to your Topic Mapping. Under a new or existing issue in your Topic Mapping, enter the first few letters of the topic name and it will appear in the list under the search bar. Click the topic name to add it to that issue.

It is important to remember that the default Datamaran topics have been carefully reviewed across all data sources tracked in the platform, while Your Topics have been reviewed in the context of defined sources. As such, the analytical results are less comprehensive when viewed across the multitude of stakeholder voices included in your Materiality Analysis. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to limit Your Topics to under 5 per Topic Mapping.

When reviewing the results of your Materiality Analysis that includes one or more of Your Topics, N/A will be calculated for all of the sources against which Your Topic was not validated.