Materiality Matrix Update at Royal DSM in 4 Weeks

Agile Re-Fresh Materiality Assessment
Materiality Matrix Update at Royal DSM in 4 Weeks
Publ. date 4 Oct 2017
The materiality matrix has become a familiar sight in corporate reporting, often an intensive exercise that is traditionally repeated every three to four years. Today’s turbulent business environment requires a more frequent and agile approach, monitoring sustainability risks and opportunities around the clock.

This summer Finch & Beak launched its new service, the Re-Fresh Materiality Assessment, at DSM and put its newly designed approach into practice. “We followed a typical agile business design approach. First, we developed a prototype based on one of the global sustainability frontrunners public data to see how to best leverage the diverse data sources, for which we selected Nestlé as major player in one of our keymarkets. Then field tested the concept by interviewing sustainability frontrunners across various industries. The outcomes were fed into the prototype that formed the basis of the project at DSM”, Finch & Beak consultant Bas Nuijten explains.

When we started communicating, DSM was immediately interested by the innovative big data approach that is very much aligned with the company’s core values. And since the sustainability team had already foreseen to conduct a materiality update during the summer downtime, we could start the project mid August and deliver mid September.

Although some alterations in the process were made, the assessment went smoothly and according plan, very much to the likings of DSM. Simon Gobert, Sustainability Performance and Reporting Manager summarizes the approach “Finch & Beak has brought on board an innovative big data approach for updating our materiality matrix. The Re-Fresh Materiality Assessment was characterized by a high reach and much less internal effort in comparison with our previous, internal updates. Finch & Beak delivered within the 4 week timeframe due to a very well structured process. As a long-standing customer of Finch & Beak we were again very pleased with the agile way of working and the high quality of the final output”.

Key benefits of Re-Fresh Materiality Assessment

  1. Resource and time efficient, easy to organize. Using existing big data makes questionnaires dispensable while delivering quantitative outcomes, internal resources limited to a two-hour workshop resulting in a reduction of costs and no organizational hassle

  2. Integrates materiality challenges. Combining insights in material issues, SDGs and Dow Jones Sustainability Index performance in industry context

  3. Framework savvy. Materiality assessment is fully aligned with reporting framework of GRI

Interested in an agile update of your materiality matrix?

If you want to discover the benefits of integrating big data in the process of your materiality assessment, please contact us at for more information.

Image source: Andrew Hurley, Flickr

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