ACCSR said the white paper, Reclaiming what’s material: A fresh approach to materiality analysis for reporting, strategy and business model appraisal, presents a new approach to the latest corporate catchword – materiality.
Dr Leeora Black, managing director of ACCSR, said this new approach involves broadening the scope and finding more meaningful connections between business strategy and material issues.
“Materiality essentially means getting to the core of what matters most to an organisation and its stakeholders, and then using this information to interrogate current business models and strategies and to embed appropriate responses,” she said.
“In our regular discussions with clients, we see that this really isn’t happening, which de-values what should be an incredibly worthwhile business process."
According to ACCSR, the paper outlines common materiality pitfalls, such as limiting the scope to mere data provision for sustainability reports, unintentionally ‘shoehorning’ the process to fit a desired outcome, not drilling down enough and not going beyond plotting issues on a linear matrix.
“The paper then suggests a more robust approach to materiality, which ACCSR calls a value chain approach. This is achieved by mapping the entire value chain, including the supply chain, so that business-critical impacts are not left out of the analysis," an ACCSR statement said.
Ms Black said the recommendations made in the paper can provide real benefits both to organisations and their stakeholders from the materiality process.
“With some guidance, re-focusing and a slight change in approach, we believe organisations will get far more out of the materiality process,” she said.
“We should all want to get to the heart of what truly matters to our organisation and its stakeholders because, in the end, that’s what’s going to increase social capital in the short and long term.”