Materiality assessments are a way for organisations to identify what matters to stakeholders, thus creating solid leads toward developing a sustainability plan. This is why engagement is the leading edge of sustainability – by engaging with our stakeholders and finding out what is important to them, we can shape strategy to be better aligned with stakeholder expectations.
You may recall an earlier post commenting on engagement in gold mines. Those mining companies that genuinely engaged with proximate communities had a smoother path to production and therefore a quicker payback period. You can read more at Stakeholder Engagement Pays!
The materiality of issues is mapped out according to their importance to internal stakeholders, on one axis, and external stakeholders, on the other. This approach helps to contrast different perspectives and priorities, but also identifies the sweet spot, where materiality is high for both sets of stakeholders.
UPS stakeholder and materiality processes are outlined here.