On Wednesday, 17th August 2016, Salterbaxter hosted an event on the topic of materiality. Salterbaxter’s Nigel Salter (CEO) and Huw Maggs, (Strategy Director) led the discussion with Caroline Hill, Head of Sustainability at Land Securities, contributing as a guest speaker.
Materiality is a hot topic in today’s corporate discussion around sustainability, so it was a successful turnout with a range of diverse delegates and stimulating debate.
Below are some key points raised during the event;
- Be cautious of only using group discussions to assess and prioritise your issues: you can end up with the loudest voice in the room skewing the outputs. Workshops are helpful but also conduct interviews or surveys, and make sure that any group sessions are carefully planned apply clear criteria for assessing the relevance of issues so it’s not just a free for all.
- Seek input from a mix of external stakeholder, not just the usual suspects and those who are likely to have a narrow issue-specific focus.
- Manage disagreement – if you have survey data that is contradictory, explore it in more detail during interviews and workshops. Why might there be disagreement.
- Don’t stop there either; be open and transparent about key disparities in your reporting.
- It’s great if your current approach mirrors the results, but it may not and it’s important to explore those topics where they are not aligned. It may be that you are missing an important signal, but equally it might be that a certain topic is simply being thrown-up as a short-term ‘newsworthy’ topic.
- An external agency can provide independence to the process, but stay closely involved.
In our latest thought-piece written by Huw, we note five high-level fundamentals – important considerations to make sure you get the most value out of your materiality assessment.
The five fundamentals:
- Focus on change
- See the bigger picture
- Set clear objectives
- Think creatively
- Involve the best people
If you would like to discuss any strategic challenges you are facing and how Salterbaxter can help, then please contact us on 020 7229 5720 or email Samuel.firstname.lastname@example.org.