Materiality Assessment

What issues are important to stakeholders and the event, and impactful on sustainable development?

As part of your sustainability issues identification you will be carrying out a ‘materiality assessment’ (whether you realised it or not!)

A materiality assessment is the process undertaken to reveal a broad list of sustainability issues, and is a common process for any organisation seriously looking at its role in supporting sustainable development. 

A materiality assessment involves identifying and prioritising the socio-economic and environmental issues that impact society and the planet, matter to your stakeholders, and your organisation.

You can conduct your materiality assessment through desktop work, and also, importantly through engaging stakeholders, often through a workshop. 

Through this process you condense condense them into a short-list of topics that inform company strategy, targets, and reporting.

This should be done on a regular basis as issue’s importance adjusts and new issues emerge.

What is a ‘material’ issue?

Materiality Assessment Steps

The materiality assessment process weighs or rates the impact on stakeholders / frequency stakeholders bring this issue up, with the relative impact on sustainable development (socio-economic and environment)..

DESKTOP ISSUES SCAN

Identify the issues through desktop research, and through what you already know as the sustainability co-ordinator or keen event manager. Use this checklist.

IDENTIFY AND CHECK IN WITH STAKEHOLDERS

Identify your stakeholders and conduct short interviews and discussions with them to get a sense of the important and relevant sustainability issues. More on identifying stakeholders.

SURVEY OR WORKSHOP

Next you would host a survey or run a workshop to dive deeper and broader into the issues identification process.

VOTE OR SCORE ISSUES

If holding a workshop, you would do a scoring or voting system to help to bring to the top, those issues which are most important to stakeholders, to sustainable development and to the organisation. If doing this all via desktop analysis, use a scoring system to weight issues. Use this worksheet.

CREATE A MATERIALITY MATRIX/GRAPH

Ultimately, the rating system will reveal the level of importance of various issues. These can be graphically presented in a charts displayed on this page. You could get creative and have larger circles for more prominent issues.

EXPLAIN YOUR PROCESS

It is important that you have documented the process and decision filters you have used to reveal the most important issues.

Sample Materiality Assessment Graphs