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Materiality

from impacts to risks and opportunities

Tech Talks provides a window on the work of the Technical Committee – what global experts are debating and the answers that are emerging.

Tech Talks take place on the second Thursday of every month.

Hosted by Peadar Duffy, Chair of The ESG Exchange Technical Committee

For the first webinar in this series we have partnered with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Expert Guests for this event include:

As ESG continues to grow in importance, regulators, investors, and other stakeholders have increasingly sharpened their scrutiny of companies’ ESG actions and reporting. ESG-related disclosures have already triggered claims based on public reporting (or the absence of public reporting) in both formal and informal venues. Additionally, public watchdog groups will likely double down on their attempts to bring about ESG reform via litigation geared towards marketing and other representations. A well-conducted ESG materiality assessment serves as a key step in a company’s process of understanding the ESG risks and opportunities relevant to its business and stakeholders, and in managing possible ESG-related legal liability risks.

 

While “ESG materiality assessment” has become a term of art, companies should take care to clarify that the term materiality in this context is intended to reflect priority ESG issues, and specifically flag that the term does not carry the same meaning as it does under securities and other laws in the US or other jurisdictions.

 

This is an extract of the October 2022 article by the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance titled: Voluntary ESG “Materiality” Assessments — Legal Considerations and Dos and Don’ts

This recording is relevant for:

  • Board, Audit, Risk and Sustainability Committee members
  • CEOs, CFOs and executive management
  • Legal counsel and compliance officers
  • Sustainability officers
  • ESG practitioners

What you will learn

forewarned is forearmed

This 1-hour recording is intended to equip attendees with the technical ability to explain the various approaches to materiality determination and to understand the considerations for such in the context of the Global Reporting Initiative Standards and other international sustainability reporting standards.

Watch this recording to learn how to:

  • Explain the various approaches to the determination of materiality
  • Understand the considerations for such in the context of GRI standards and other international standards.

Starting out with materiality assessments?

We recommend you join the Reporting with the GRI Standards course, which covers the aspect of materiality assessment in depth. After attending this course, you will be able to:  

  • Explain the structure and purpose of the GRI Standards.
  • Define the key concepts and reporting principles in the GRI Standards.
  • Identify the requirements for reporting in accordance with the GRI Standards.
  • Describe the process for identifying an organization’s impacts and determining material topics.
  • Report contextual information about an organization and how it manages its material topics.

Important additional materials

Kindly sponsored by:

Expert Guests

Peadar Duffy

Global ESG Practice Lead at Archer Integrated Risk Management

Chair of the Technical Committee

Peadar Duffy is Archer’s Global ESG Practice Lead, and is responsible for leveraging his thought leadership in the organizational risk and governance domains to provide strategic direction and collaboration across Archer’s internal and external partners in the design and development of Archer’s ESG solutions. 


He currently represents Ireland on the ISO technical committees for Risk Management (TC 262) and the Governance of Organisations (TC 309) where he is involved in the development and revision of various guidelines, reports and technical specifications.


Most recently Mr. Duffy had been involved with other international experts in the development of the first global governance guideline which emphasizes organizational purpose and other ESG-sustainability principles underpinning performance and long-term viability. Mr. Duffy began his 25-year career in risk management spanning multiple industry sectors in Ireland, the US and Middle East following 15 years in the Irish military.

Dr Carol Adams

Professor of Accounting at DUBS;
Chair, GRI's Global Sustainability Standards Board;
Editor, Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

Carol is currently Chair of the Institute of Chartered Accountant’s of Scotland’s (ICAS) Sustainability Panel and member of their Policy Leadership Board. She is a member, Public Finance International Advisory Panel, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). She was a member of the ACCA’s Global Forum on Sustainability (2011-2021). 


Carol is currently a member of the Project Advisory Panel on Sustainability Reporting to the Australian Accounting Standards Board and the Technical Advisory Group for the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative Taxonomy Project.


She is author of The Sustainable Development Goals, integrated thinking and the integrated report and the SDGD Recommendations.


Carol served as Technical Expert in the development of the UNDP SDG Impact Standards (2020-2021) and was also Project Advisor to the UK Government’s Implementation Taskforce on Impact Investing during this period. She is a member of the Australian Accounting Standards Board’s Advisory Panel on Sustainability Reporting and immediate past Chair of the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) Stakeholder Council. 


She was member of the Climate Disclosure Standards Board’s Technical Working Group (2014-2021). She was a member of IIRC’s Capitals Collaboration Group, co-authored the Capitals Background Paper for <IR>.  She was on the project team developing the first AA1000 Framework and the writing team for the AA1000 Assurance Standard. 


She served as a AccountAbility Council Member (1998-2003), Standards Board Member (2011-2012) and Board Director (2001-2003).

Christian Heller

CEO of the Value Balancing Alliance

Member of the Advisory Committee

Christian Heller is CEO of the Value Balancing Alliance. The alliance consists of Deutsche Bank, BASF, Bosch, Lafarge Holcim, Mitsubishi Chemicals, Novartis, Porsche-Volkswagen, SAP and SK. He is also Vice-Chairperson of the Sustainable Finance Advisory Committee for the Federal Government of Germany.


As a non-profit organization, the alliance enjoys assistance by Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC. The OECD and the World Bank support as policy advisors. Oxford University, Harvard Business School and University of Hamburg are providing the academic foundations as lead universities.


Furthermore, stakeholders from government, civil society, business, the financial market and standard-setting organizations support the activities of the Value Balancing Alliance. The Value Balancing Alliance focuses on the development and standardization of a management accounting model to protect and create long-term value. It is designed to empower decision makers to optimize the total value contribution of their business.

Before his current position, Christian Heller was leading BASF’s Value-to-Society program and had various roles in communications, sustainability and human resources such as leading the human rights program.

Veronica Poole

Vice Chair of Deloitte UK and
Deloitte Global IFRS and Corporate Reporting Leader

Member of the Governing Council

Veronica is a vice chair of Deloitte UK, Deloitte Global IFRS and Corporate Reporting leader and NSE Head of Accounting and Corporate Reporting.

She leads Deloitte’s contributions to the WEF IBC Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, and has facilitated the work of the leading sustainability standard-setters to develop a prototype climate standard, helped launch the UK Directors’ Climate Forum—Chapter Zero, and spearheaded Deloitte’s partnership with the A4S Finance for the Future Awards.

She is a member of the UK Accounting Council, Chair of the Advisory Group Financial Reporting Committee and a former member of the Financial Reporting Advisory Board to HM Treasury. 

Her current priorities include influencing and driving change in the accounting and corporate reporting and in the accounting profession, including reporting of ESG and climate-related financial and business risks. She works with standard-setters, policy makers, regulators and professional bodies to advance the goal of better corporate reporting.

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