Integrating sustainability into business operations is indispensable in today's corporate landscape. The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) underscore its significance. Double materiality is a central component within the CSRD and ESRS. This step-by-step guide prepared by the NBA (Koninklijke Nederlandse Beroepsorganisatie van Accountants - The Royal Netherlands Institute of Chartered Accountants) provides organizations with the necessary tools to establish a double materiality analysis.
The essence of double materiality analysis
Central to the CSRD and ESRS is the concept of double materiality analysis. This approach requires organizations to assess both the impact of their business activities on sustainability (impact materiality) and the influence of sustainability factors on their financial results (financial materiality). This offers a comprehensive view of sustainability issues and promotes an integrated approach to addressing them.
A Sequential approach
Start by assigning a responsible individual or forming a project team to lead the materiality analysis. Ensure a clear schedule and meticulously document the process for transparency and accountability.
2. Stakeholder identification
Identify stakeholders and their specific information needs. This can range from investors and customers to employees and communities. Understanding these needs is crucial for determining which sustainability topics are material. This requires a detailed understanding of the expectations and requirements of each stakeholder group.
3. Value creation and chain insight
Analyze your organization's value creation model. This includes understanding inputs, business activities, outputs, and outcomes. A thorough understanding of both the supply and demand chains is essential for identifying potential sustainability impacts.
4. Longlist of sustainability topics
Compile a broad list of sustainability topics that may be relevant to your organization. Use resources such as the SASB Materiality Finder, MSCI Industry Materiality Map, and the SDGs for inspiration. This list serves as the foundation for further evaluation.
5. Risk, opportunity, and impact analysis
Assess the identified topics to map out current and potential impacts, risks, and opportunities. This step aids in prioritizing topics based on their material significance.
Conduct both qualitative and (if applicable) quantitative assessments to determine material sustainability topics. This includes evaluating the severity, scope, likelihood, and recoverability of impacts. Establish threshold values for what is considered material.
7. Strategic implementation
Incorporate the identified material sustainability topics into the organization's strategic planning. This may lead to adjusting current goals or formulating new strategies to enhance sustainability performance.
Conducting a double materiality analysis is not only a necessity under the new regulations but also provides a strategic opportunity to embrace sustainability as a core value. This detailed step-by-step plan facilitates a structured approach to aligning business activities with sustainability objectives, enabling organizations to not only comply with regulations but also actively contribute to a more sustainable future.