Holmes Report 12 Jan 2014 // 4:46PM GMT
BOSTON—Cone Communications is launching a new corporate social responsibility product, Materiality360, which is designed to serve as a one-stop solution for companies looking to identify and analyze their top material issues.
The product was designed to meet the requirements of the newly released G4 guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative, and to build on Cone's 30-plus years of experience in CSR strategy and reporting.
"Stakeholders—from shareholders to employees—are demanding more transparency from companies about their CSR- and sustainability-related issues," says Liz Gorman, senior vice president of Cone's sustainable business practices group. "We've always believed that identification of material issues is the first step in the reporting process, as it informs the topics to be covered in the report and the ones that matter most to stakeholders.
“Materiality is also essential for any company establishing its initial CSR/sustainability strategy and goals, or evolving its commitments in this area."
Materiality360 is designed to help companies conduct a materiality assessment, engage stakeholders in the process, and determine the boundaries of the material impacts along a company's value chain. It is a six-to-eight week process that involves extensive external research, internal interviews and review of company documents.
Materiality360 focuses on four key steps: issue identification; boundary setting along a company's value chain; stakeholder identification and engagement; and issue prioritization and recommendations.
"The emphasis on materiality and stakeholder inclusiveness are two of the most notable changes with the G4 Guidelines," Gorman says. "G4 pushes companies for more transparency on their material issues, so it was clear that companies -- and our clients -- will benefit from a more integrated and robust approach to the materiality process."