Enterprise Risk Management

 
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Updating Your Materiality Matrix Post Covid-19

As the world is in various stages of recovery from the impact of the corona virus, it becomes clear that while there is a ‘new normal’, companies are aiming to go back to business-as-usual as soon as possible. How does Covid-19 affect your company’s sustainability strategy and how should this be reflected in your materiality matrix? Should you discard your old matrix and rebuild from scratch? Should pandemics be featured in it? As is almost always the case in complex situations, the answer is: it depends.
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Lessons from DSM’s Winning Sustainability Strategy

The roots of global specialty chemicals company Royal DSM are as a Dutch state-owned coal mining company that started in 1902. The company’s future, however, is far removed from its past. DSM’s Strategy 2021 describes how the company plans to drive above-market growth through developing innovative solutions addressing Nutrition & Health, Climate & Energy and Resources & Circularity, together with increased customer-centricity and large innovation projects. In this article, DSM’s approach is decomposed by looking at the elements of its sustainability strategy, and we provide tips how to replicate this.
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The Benefits of Forward-Looking Materiality

The COVID-19 outbreak shows that a topic that seems to be immaterial a few months ago, can be material today. The increasing transparency, growing stakeholder influence and visible changes of our planet increase the pace in which ESG topics become material. Companies should avoid being surprised by the impact of future ESG factors and identify which topics become material for their business in the future. In this article, we illustrate the importance of a forward-looking approach towards materiality.
5 Steps for Integrating ESG Risks into ERM

5 Steps for Integrating ESG Risks into ERM

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report in 2018, four of the top five risks were environmental or societal, including extreme weather events, water crises, natural disasters, and failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Growing interest from investors seeking to understand how organizations are identifying and responding to ESG-related risks is pressuring companies to fully integrate them in their Enterprise Risk Management (ERM). To support organizations in this challenge, COSO and the WBCSD released the final version of the “Guidance for Applying ERM to Environmental, Social and Governance related Risks”. The guidance presents a pragmatic 5-step process to identify and manage ESG risks today while maintaining resilience to adapt and respond to the megatrends of tomorrow.
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Mature Materiality Management for Long-Term Shareholder Value

Over the last few years, the link between financial interest and companies’ effective management of ESG issues and risks has rapidly become more and more evident. We see an increasing number of cases where corporate loans are issued by financers such as ING, BBVA, and DBS Bank whereby interest rates are linked to sustainability performance as indicated by third-party ratings such as Sustainalytics or inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. These examples make the business case for an effective management of the right ESG issues extremely straightforward.
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Checking Your ESG Blind Spots under the ‘Duty of Care’

We can no longer deny it: no matter the industry, each company faces a wide range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks found both within the business operations and throughout the value chain that need to be identified, monitored and managed. Although the benefits of good ESG risk management seem obvious, there are still companies claiming that some of the most important ESG risks such as human rights or climate change do not concern them. What European lawmakers have shown in 2018 through the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive and the French “Duty of Care” law is that ESG risks affect all companies, albeit to a varying degree. In all cases, it is necessary for them to broaden the scope of ESG risks to avoid potential blind spots, and to be transparent towards stakeholders on the risks that are most prevalent.
Less is More – the Materiality Conundrum

Less is More – the Materiality Conundrum

It sounds contradictory: Less is More. However, it is highly relevant for the sustainability focus of corporations. Companies often slip into the trap of focusing on too many ESG issues that are not material to their business. Solid research has shown that focusing performance on ESG issues that are truly material has a positive effect on total shareholder returns. So companies should concentrate on enhancing their impact in fields that matter the most. By committing to a select number of ESG issues, companies can unleash the full potential of their materiality matrices.
Sustainability and Enterprise Risk Management

It's Time to Get Serious about Materiality

Last year, research among WBCSD member companies on sustainability and risk disclosures revealed that only 29% of material topics as published in the sustainability report were also included in the company’s legal disclosure of risks. Amazingly enough, for 35% of member companies this disclosure dropped to zero(!) demonstrating a feeble link between sustainability reporting and Enterprise Risk Management. With the launch of a public consultation on fiduciary duties and sustainability by the European Commission in November 2017, the increase of the interest in this topic is likely to further expand.
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Lean Materiality Matrix 'Re-Fresh' Using Big Data

The materiality matrix has become a familiar sight in corporate reporting, representing a selection of topics that generate impact on the company and that are relevant to its stakeholders. Traditionally, full materiality assessments are conducted involving internal and external stakeholders in an elaborate process. But, today’s turbulent business environment requires a more frequent and agile approach, monitoring sustainability risks and opportunities around the clock. Finch & Beak’s Re-Fresh Materiality Assessment guarantees an annual update of your materiality matrix within 4 weeks by using big data from Bloomberg and CDP, among others.
Paying for Climate Change

Paying for Climate Change: Expensive Externalities

New York City is suing five major oil companies for their contribution to climate change. This new lawsuit highlights that the time for companies to pay for previously unaccounted externalities may come faster than expected. So it is increasingly important for companies to perform impact valuations in order to gain insights on their negative and positive externalities, and learn how to mitigate risks and leverage opportunities.
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