Double and Dynamic: Understanding the New Perspectives of Materiality

22 July - 11.00 am EST | 4.00 pm BST | 8.00 am PDT

Emerging and evolving policies are prompting markets to consider new perspectives on materiality. Two of them have a particular relevance.

On one hand, with the non-binding guidelines to the Non-Financial Reporting Directive released last June, the European Commission introduced the concept of “double materiality”.

Later this year, the World Economic Forum published a paper titled “Embracing the new age of materiality”, in which materiality is described as a dynamic process.  

Watch the live discussion with SASB, Chevron, and Santander to understand the key aspects of these definitions, and what are the practical implications for companies and investors.

With investors and regulators increasingly focusing on the quality and frequency of the analysis, it has become critical for materiality processes to be ongoing and dynamic, guiding decision-making, and to have direct CxO oversight. 

Together, we discussed:

  • Dynamic materiality and double materiality, are they different concepts?
  • How can you set up a materiality determination and risk assessment process taking into account all the different perspectives?
  • Why is materiality assessment a business-critical process to inform strategy, governance and risk management? 
  • How to use the insights of the materiality process to define corporate accountability, risk identification and strategy.

Rethinking materiality: a closer look at the definitions

The first perspective of double materiality concerns the potential or actual impacts of climate-related risk and opportunities on the “performance, development and position” of the company. The second refers to the “external impacts of the company’s activities”. 

This means that double materiality doesn’t imply that there are two different definitions of materiality, rather, that information can be material from one or both perspectives.

The concept of dynamic materiality, by contrast, emphasizes the pathway an issue follows to become financially material. This perspective is based on the consideration that what appears financially immaterial today can quickly prove to be business-critical tomorrow. 

Whichever label is chosen, materiality needs to be flexible, time-variant, and context-driven. Consequently, the only defense against subjective, incomplete and self-serving materiality is to ensure that the assessment is accorded with a robust due process.

Watch our webinar to learn how.

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