How to communicate the results of your data-driven materiality analysis: best practices

Your materiality matrix is a crucial tool for effectively communicating the importance of strategic Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) stakes within your organization and to external stakeholders. This matrix provides a visual representation of the most significant issues to your business and its stakeholders, helping you prioritize and focus your efforts on the areas that matter the most.

Internally, the materiality matrix serves as a powerful tool for gaining buy-in from key stakeholders within your organization. By clearly illustrating the environmental, social, and governance issues that have the greatest impact on your business and its stakeholders, the matrix helps align everyone's understanding and commitment to addressing these issues. It facilitates meaningful discussions, promotes collaboration, and fosters a shared sense of purpose, enabling your organization to develop and implement effective ESG strategies that drive positive change.

Externally, the materiality matrix serves as a compelling communication tool to engage with stakeholders such as investors, customers, suppliers, and the wider community. It demonstrates your organization's commitment to transparency and responsible business practices by showcasing the ESG issues you consider to be material and the actions you are taking to address them. This helps build trust and credibility, enhancing your reputation and attracting like-minded stakeholders who value sustainable and socially responsible business practices.

To effectively communicate with both internal and external stakeholders and enhance transparency, it is advisable to include the results of your materiality analysis in your annual disclosures. This not only positions your organization as a leader in ESG reporting but also strengthens stakeholder trust and supports sustainable growth. To ensure successful inclusion of the materiality analysis results, we recommend the following steps:

  • Citing Datamaran: Datamaran's data-driven materiality analysis has been endorsed as best practice by regulators EFRAG and SEC; citing Datamaran in your report enhances the credibility and trustworthiness of your ESG disclosures. Investors, stakeholders, and regulators value objective and reliable information, and referencing Datamaran demonstrates your commitment to robust and evidence-based reporting. You can include this text in your report to cite Datamaran.
  •  Make the matrix more actionable: Datamaran's quadrant view of the materiality matrix allows you an easy visualization of the relevance of the issues for your company and presents them in four action areas.
    • Develop strategy & communicate externally.
      This quadrant represents the issues of high importance to your company and your stakeholders. These should be considered priorities from a strategy and communication/reporting standpoint.
    • Communicate internally
      This quadrant represents the issues with higher importance to your stakeholders than to your company. It is important to share this information internally to ensure that relevant issues aren't being under-prioritized, or at least to have a clear rationale as to why they are deemed less important by your company.
    • Continue internal efforts
      This quadrant represents the issues with higher importance to your company than your stakeholders. Because of the relevance to your business, maintaining focus on these issues is likely important, though they may be less relevant for in-depth communication/reporting.
    • Keep under observation
      This quadrant represents the issues that are less important to your company and your stakeholders. Given the dynamic nature of these issues, it is essential to apply an ongoing monitoring approach through Dynamic Analysis to assess any changes in importance that may warrant a more action-oriented approach.

  • Tell a clearer story of what the data in your materiality matrix is showing: To enhance the clarity and understanding of your materiality matrix, you can utilize various gradients to distinguish different areas and identify the relevance of the issues for your company. Additionally, consider adding categories to your issues, such as "Environmental," "Social," and "Governance," or sorting them based on their impact within your value chain. This will provide a clear visualization of the issues within the matrix, making it easier for stakeholders to comprehend and engage with the information.