Achieving a greater ROI with data-driven materiality: Santander case study

Elisa Moscolin - From Reporting To Strategy: how Santander leverages materiality

Elisa Moscolin - Head of Sustainability & CSR at Santander

Santander - From Reporting To Strategy: how Santander leverages materiality

In a recent webinar hosted by Datamaran, Santander’s Head of Sustainability and CSR Elisa Moscolin explains how her team uses Datamaran to capture more reliable and forward-looking data to inform C-level decision-making. She shares how, with Datamaran, Santander has achieved a greater ROI on their materiality assessment, while moving from an opinion-based to fact-based approach using a wider scope of evidence. 

As the expectations from both internal and external stakeholders are changing rapidly in terms of how corporate leaders manage ESG and emerging risks, Moscolin reinforces the value of a materiality process that is defensible, dynamic and supported by technology.

Why is a data-driven materiality assessment business-critical?

The rise of new perspectives of materiality show how key stakeholders, namely regulators and investors, now place more emphasis on materiality as a data-driven and business-critical process to inform strategy at the Executive and Board-level - on an ongoing basis. For this reason, as Elisa Moscolin shares, “using the materiality assessments only for reporting would be a missed opportunity.” 

Moscolin: “At Santander, we use the materiality assessment to inform strategy and engage with both external and internal stakeholders. Depending on where your company is in its journey to embed ESG issues into business strategy, I’ve found that data-driven materiality moves the conversation away from opinion, towards facts and insights.” 

Data helps companies to convince and demonstrate to Executives how the assessment informs strategy beyond reporting. “For those who are dealing with a slightly skeptical CFO or a disengaged CEO - Moscolin continues - materiality helps to understand nuances and highlight gaps where we might be exposed to risk. Supported by the Datamaran team, we, at Santander, are going to refresh our materiality assessment this year. We are using the concept of double materiality to explore and engage our stakeholders, driving the conversation to achieve more robust results internally.”

How does Santander achieve a greater ROI with Datamaran?

Conducting a materiality analysis in the current global situation poses unique and unprecedented challenges - but it’s essential to ensure that corporate strategy aligns with the changing market needs, Moscolin explains.

Moscolin: “This is a very delicate moment for many businesses: the time that teams can dedicate to projects is limited, and the return on investment is very important. With Datamaran, we were able to conduct our materiality assessment in a cost-efficient way. The platform allows us to explore double materiality, or social and environmental issues which are clearly impacting businesses today.”

“Technology has enabled us to be faster and more efficient: ultimately, we let AI and data do the legwork for us. There's always a balance between how much effort you need to put in to get what you need, and Datamaran really helps companies to get the job done in a cost-efficient and resource-efficient way. In fact, that's why we've been able to execute the materiality process at this particular moment, during a global crisis. 

“The decision to use Datamaran was definitely a big jump from where we had to spend a lot of time and money using consultants, spending a lot of time going through many, many reports. At the same time, the universe of risks which you could [manually] look at was quite limited. With Datamaran, on the contrary, you can capture more information and play with it to get richer insights.”

“This is a very delicate moment for many businesses: the time that teams can dedicate to projects is limited, and the return on investment is very important. With Datamaran, we were able to conduct our materiality assessment in a cost-efficient way."

Elisa Moscolin - Head of Sustainability & CSR at Santander

How does Santander gain deeper insight into the changing risk landscape with Datamaran?

Moscolin: ”We are going to regularly refresh our assessment every three years - which coincides with our business cycles. We try to keep the strategy stable enough, but to adapt it to the reality within which we operate. We will do sense checks and use the dynamism of Datamaran to provide more insights and, then, maybe adjust the weight of the priorities within our strategy.”

Why do times of crisis reinforce the need for a dynamic approach to materiality?

Moscolin: “This is a very good time to look at materiality broadly. Even more so if you look at materiality from a dynamic perspective, and use the insights from your assessment to see how the risk landscape has changed.

“If anything, the pandemic has demonstrated that we need more resilient systems. So for the ones of you who have been told that, being in the middle of a pandemic, there are different priorities and ESG or sustainability need to take a backseat… I think that a dynamic approach to materiality can really help you to prove why these topics are more relevant than ever, which of them are making the headlines, and why companies need to take action now.”

See how Datamaran can help you

Datamaran is the only software analytics platform in the world that identifies and monitors external risks, including ESG. Trusted by blue-chip companies and top tier partners, it brings a data-driven business process for external risk and materiality analysis. In house - at any time. 

Datamaran’s patented and award-winning technology offers real-time analytics on strategic, regulatory and reputational risks, specific to your business and value chain.

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