New GRI and RobecoSAM publication explores materiality

Source: Global Reporting Initiative, 4 March 2015

Today, GRI, architect of the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting standard, and RobecoSAM, the investment specialist focused exclusively on Sustainability Investing and which conducts the annual assessment for the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, announce the launch of the new research publication Defining Materiality: What Matters to Reporters and Investors. The research explores materiality from the reporter’s perspective, as expounded in GRI reports, and compares this with the investor perspective of materiality, as formulated by RobecoSAM.
GRI and RobecoSAM analyzed data from two sectors of the economy: Technology Hardware & Equipment and Banks & Diverse Financials. Analysis of material Aspects listed in GRI reports and of RobecoSAM’s investor-focused materiality assessments, revealed an overall high degree of overlap between the topics reporting organizations consider material and those considered material by investors.

“This research indicates that despite lingering concerns in the market about different definitions, there seems to be a common understanding of the concept of materiality and the similarities exceed the differences,” said GRI Director Services Ásthildur Hjaltadóttir. “By conducting stakeholder engagement as outlined in the GRI Guidelines reporters can communicate effectively to investors as well as their other stakeholder groups.”

“This joint research collaboration reveals the value that an analysis of the most material issues provides for both companies and investors,” said Daniel Wild, Head of Sustainability Investing Research & Development at RobecoSAM. “We hope this joint publication with GRI will lead to additional discussion and collaborations between investors and reporters.”

Download the publication (pdf)