Published On: December 13, 2022Categories: ESG, Governance, Investor Relations, Tips & Tricks3 min read
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Less Than A Third Of Top Listed Companies Publishing Sustainability Information

Our research into 300 listed African companies reflected that less than 1 in 3 companies publish sustainability information.

Availability and quality of information are still very low. It is important to understand which aspects of environmental and social responsibility are most material. Materiality assessments identify key issues that may have a financial impact on the company.

“The broader purpose of materiality is to have a complete picture of the impact of your business’ activity on the environment and society and the impact of climate change on your business.”

8 Reasons Why Materiality Assessments Are Valuable For Executives

Materiality Assessments:

  1. Provide a complete picture of the potential impacts of the business on the environment and society.
  2. Help identify risks and opportunities related to sustainability issues.
  3. Help secure executive-level buy-in by making the business rationale for taking a double materiality approach explicit.
  4. Help companies stay ahead of potential risks and opportunities.
  5. Help companies better manage their reputation.
  6. Improve stakeholder engagement results from understanding what matters to them.
  7. Help with employee retention and recruitment.
  8. Open up new possibilities for business cooperation.

3 Easy Steps To Assessing Materiality

Conducting a materiality assessment provides a complete picture of the impact of businesses’ activity on the environment and society. Understanding these impacts is essential for executives as they make decisions about how best to operate their business in a sustainable manner.

So, if our assessment is mostly qualitative and many issues cannot be quantified, how do we assess materiality and rank the various issues, particularly environmental and social materiality?

One of the industry leaders in personal products (a company ranked first in its sector in the 2020 S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Index) is known for its engagement with NGOs and other stakeholders. Additionally, a few service providers monitor social media and news feeds to help identify and keep track of material issues in a particular industry.

So to get started you need to:-

1. Identify relevant stakeholders.
When conducting a materiality assessment, it is important to consider the relevant stakeholders. Internal stakeholders typically include employees, while external stakeholders include customers, suppliers, shareholders, civil society groups, and government agencies. It is best practice to start dialogues with various external stakeholders and industry leaders in terms of sustainability.

2. Group stakeholders.
Once the list of stakeholders has been identified, they are typically grouped into internal and external stakeholders.

3. Interview stakeholders.
From this point, there are three possible approaches for conducting a materiality assessment:

  • Internal and external stakeholders are surveyed and interviewed
  • External stakeholders are sent a questionnaire
  • Only internal stakeholders are surveyed and interviewed

Companies can easily implement resources like the Sustainability Toolkit to not only assess their stakeholders’ sentiments toward materiality, but also to stay in touch with said stakeholders and communicate all ESG efforts effectively and clearly.

We provide a bespoke online questionnaire/survey service that is:

  1. Low cost
  2. Broadly disseminated (both on company and AfricanFinancials channels)
  3. High impact
  4. Provides crucial data

Visit to learn how you can implement this fully turnkey service.

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AfricanFinancials works with Boards, CEOs and companies who want to build sustainable businesses through better corporate and investor communications. Our focus is online investor relations to promote secure two-way communications with investors and stakeholders.