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Navigating the Materiality Maze: A Survey of the Full Spectrum of Materiality Definitions and Approaches

Slides Bill Baue and Ralph Sturm

Slides Cornelis van der Lugt

Slides Jackie Cook

Slides Lou Coppola

Slides Rachel Guthrie

What’s materiality? And how do you draw lines between what is and isn’t material? Material to whom — solely shareholders, or all stakeholders?


These seemingly simple questions yield confoundingly thorny answers. This workshop seeks to survey the full spectrum of materiality definitions and approaches, from IIRC and SASB’s finance-influenced focus to GRI’s wider net that addresses the broad swath of stakeholders and sustainability impacts. With a goal of providing options without prescribing specific solutions, the workshop covers both in-depth academic and market research — including comparisons of financial and sustainability standards on; insights from the Climate Risk Disclosure tool (available on the Ceres website) that algorithmically searches the SEC’s EDGAR database for disclosure of material sustainability issues; and a G&A Institute study of most-reported (a proxy for most “material”) Aspects & Indicators in 1.2k+ GRI reports — as well as hands-on practitioner perspectives, including TD Bank’s experience with online stakeholder engagement and interactive materiality mapping for its corporate responsibility report. Attendees will take away a comprehensive understanding of the pros and cons of different approaches to defining materiality and reporting accordingly.


Bill Baue, Co-Founder, Sustainability Context Group

Cornis van der Lugt, Stellenbosch University and BSD Consulting, Curator of

Rachel Guthrie, Director, Corporate Responsibility, TD Bank

Lou Coppola, Partner & EVP, Governance & Accountability Institute, GRI Data Partner for North America

Jackie Cook, Founder, Fund Votes


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