We want to understand in detail those material issues which affect our business to ensure we are addressing and reporting on the full range of issues. To do this we undertook a materiality review commissioning an external consultancy to look not just at immediate business and stakeholder groups, but also beyond, to capture the wider media opinion of our business (local and national), peer groups, industry organisations/associations and commentators, and what issues they perceived as material/important for businesses such as ours.
The review revealed a range of issues – 18 in total, which were then individually examined and validated in detail by members of the Executive Board and Sustainability Committee in a dedicated workshop facilitated by the same external consultancy. This established their relative importance to our business balanced with their perceived importance to our stakeholders, recognising that they can value issues differently to us with varying levels of significance.
From this review it was clear that many of the issues raised were actually sub-issues of more headline issues. Therefore, to make the categorisation process simpler those sub-issues were grouped under their respective headline. As a result, from the original 18 issues identified, nine core issues emerged which were (in rank order):
- Resource efficiency (including energy efficiency, greenhouse gases, water and waste management);
- Health and safety;
- Community (including investment and engagement);
- Employees (including development, engagement and diversity);
- Business conduct (including regulatory actions);
- Materials (including timber use, steel, concrete etc);
- Customer engagement;
- Supplier engagement; and
- Human rights.
To set these issues into the context of our business our materiality matrix shows these nine issues in relation to our four sustainability priorities and which issues connect with which priority.