GRI and RobecoSAM have released the publication “Defining What Matters: Do companies and investors agree on what is material?”
The publication examines whether the information companies disclose in their sustainability reports correlates with what investors want to know.
Main conclusions are:
The study found general alignment between disclosed topics and investor interests. The research also indicates GRI’s approach to materiality is appropriate as a basis for disclosures to investors, as it gives a broad perspective on risk.
…. and more specific findings are:
Materiality is the threshold at which topics become important enough to be disclosed.
To investigate whether companies are reporting information that meets investors’ needs, GRI and RobecoSAM studied 129 sustainability reports from three sectors (mining, metals and electric utilities) and uncovered a number of findings:
- In all three sectors, there is general alignment between the topics disclosed and information investors want to know, though this is less the case for companies in the electric utilities sector.
- GRI Standards are well placed to form the basis of disclosures for investors as evidenced by the fact that RobecoSAM’s investor-driven approach to materiality complements GRI’s approach.
- Investors want companies to disclose more in depth information that explains the relevance of disclosed topics to corporate strategy and the assessment of opportunities and risks. This provides investors with the insights they need to understand the long-term potential of companies.
- There is agreement among investors and corporations on the growing importance of a materiality analysis for defining the most important sustainability issues.