by Jessye Waxman, Green Century Capital Management
As a shareholder advocate for an environmentally-responsible mutual fund company, I directly engage companies on their supply chain strategies and have successfully convinced them to adopt practices that have real-world impacts that protect a triple bottom line. I’ve collaborated with Aramark and Tyson Foods to develop robust no-deforestation commitments, and have successfully pressed Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the US, to adopt a no-deforestation policy that will cover its private label products.
Materiality assessments are formal exercises aimed at engaging stakeholders to find out how important specific environmental, social and governance issues are to them. The insights gained can then be used to guide strategy and help you tell a more meaningful sustainability story.
Each year at FCA, we put on our creative hats to explore what matters most to the Company, to our stakeholders and to the world in general. This analysis of “materiality” takes many forms: we conduct an online global survey; we benchmark automotive competitors and leading firms from other sectors; we evaluate input from key stakeholders with whom our employees work on a regular basis; we look at global trends and risks.
As a standard setter in sustainability reporting, GRI has a responsibility to engage in sustainability reporting and exemplify best practice in doing so. But, as a small non-profit organization, it faces constraints and challenges when reporting on its impacts. As part of our effort towards transparency, we’ll be sharing the process that we underwent when writing our sustainability report, the problems that we found along the way, and the solutions that we found. And it all begins with the materiality assessment.
Stakeholders and third-party reporting institutions now demand higher levels of detail and transparency from our organizations. Consequently, corporate sustainability disclosure and reporting has become more mainstream and ingrained within business operations, as well as more complex and time-intensive.