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Materiality Analysis

Added on 07-06-2013


State Street


CSR Europe



Business challenge

  • External feedback highlighted a need for State Street to strengthen its materiality process so that stakeholders have a clearer understanding of the issues most important to the business, and see this reflected more effectively in the company’s Corporate Responsibility (CR) Report.
  • Purpose: Gain a better stance of the strategy going forward – to identify topics and show progress against those.
  • Motivational factors:
    • GRI G4 provided an opportunity to work better on materiality as this is a prerequisite for implementing the guidelines, including external verification of results)
    • Increased competition in finance industry on sustainability performance


Global Assessment, conducted by external party (Sustainserv)

  • Stakeholder Mapping:
    • State Street has defined its key stakeholders as: Community, clients, shareholders, employees
    • For the present materiality analysis the following stakeholders were added to the list: regulatory, government authorities (due to past years` increased attention on industry), industry associations, analysts
  • Answers from all stakeholders were weighted the same in the analysis. This is also true for the approach State Street is taking vis-à-vis its stakeholders.
  • Further external stakeholders to be consulted were collected at the executives workshops

Identification of issues:

  • The project involved performing a review of the external landscape to identify best practices and emerging trends in corporate responsibility and materiality-based reporting, and to produce a comprehensive long list of issues that were relevant to State Street. We held webinars with APAC and EMEA participants to understand their views on the materiality assessment and incorporated their feedback into the final analysis.


  1. List of strengths and weaknesses + list of material and non-material topics.

(Eye-opening: economic impact is what defines State Street`s role to gradually become a leader in sustainability performance: State Street is managing 12% of worlds’ wealth.)

  1. Consultant prepared a roadmap on what they could do and what they could report on.

(E.g. they need to work on human rights training; in environment tracking road traffic would be a next action to take)

  1. Consultant and State Street together made the ISO, GRI,  language relevant to State Street – correlated material topics with indicators / topics / aspects in a 4-column table where executives could put their ideas and they could add a fourth column for actions to be taken.
  2. Three internal full-day workshops were organized with State Street executives in 3 countries representing different regions
  • Content:  CR management and reporting (definition and relevance), Execs weighed topics against business strategy and how these hit on the value of the State Street and its impacts. Designated important external stakeholders to consult for verification.

Challenges/Lessons learned:

  1. Short deadline
  2. Parallel work on CR report and materiality analysis rather than materiality analysis preceding collection of internal performance data and drafting CR report.
  3. Internal language used to put sustainability topics into business context. They prepared a table correlating topics in frameworks with State Street language.  This was a key step in the procedure and was most useful for them, who made the report and roadmap of actions in order to get future buy-in from managers to carry out roadmap.

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