Materiality - What should represent the two axes of your analysis, and how to ask about the importance of the issues on each?

Different frameworks have different views on what the two axes of your materiality analysis should represent. Datamaran’s Materiality module is sufficiently flexible to adjust to any of them. Here is how.

The Datamaran Materiality module offers by default:

  • An external view axis: providing an external perspective based on external sources.
  • An internal view axis: with various options to represent the internal importance of the issues.

If you would like to comply with GRI, and consider both the influence on stakeholders and the significant economic, environmental and social impacts:

  • The “external view” axis can represent stakeholders:
    • Datamaran sources are a proxy to your stakeholder voices. 
      • In the Benchmark, include both sustainability and financial reports to make sure you have all the sustainability-related information, since integrated reports are classified as financial by Datamaran. 
      • You can also add several benchmarks to cover your corporate stakeholder groups (strategic suppliers, corporate clients etc.) more specifically.
    • Option - You can run a stakeholder survey and ask for their point of view on the relative importance of the issues.
  • The “internal view” axis can represent your impacts:
    • Option - You can run an internal workshop with your internal sustainability experts and ask them to rate the issues based on their knowledge of your impacts. 
    • Option - You can run an internal or external survey with the same target and ask specifically about your biggest impacts.
    • Option - Do desk research on your impacts (lifecycle analysis, social or environmental impact studies etc), assess the importance of the issues and upload the score as a custom data file.

⇒ Here you focus on the impact of your operations and products on the environment and society. 

Example of question: "Please rate the magnitude of the impact of our company (including products and services) on the environment and society through its positive and negative contributions to each of the following issues:"

If you would like to follow the IIRC framework and assess how these issues impact value creation over the short, medium and long term:

  • The “external view” axis can still represent stakeholders, as IIRC also includes stakeholder relationships (responsiveness and inclusiveness) as a guiding principle
  • An internal view axis:
    • Option - You can run an internal workshop with your strategy, product, innovation, finance and risk departments and ask them to rate the issues based on their ability to create value. 
    • Option - You can run an internal or external survey with the same target and ask specifically about their ability to create value. 
    • Option - Do desk research on your strategy and risks (five-year strategic roadmap, risk inventory etc.), assess the issues and import the score as a custom data file.

⇒ Here you focus on the impact of the non-financial issues on your business. 

Example of question: "Please rate the magnitude of impact - considering both positive and negative impacts - of each of the following issues on our company's development, performance and market positioning, affecting the value of the company in a broad sense."