Without a clear understanding and articulation of its most important issues, companies struggle to communicate their performance with stakeholders effectively. To cut through the clutter and improve the strength of its integrated reporting, financial services company Alexander Forbes commissioned Trialogue to conduct a thorough materiality analysis.
Our process of identifying and categorising the company’s most material issues began with peer benchmarking, through which we gained a deeper understanding of the issues typically considered most critical to the financial services sector. We also commissioned a sustainability-focused media analysis of Alexander Forbes from Media Tenor, our partner in the Sustainability Coverage Monitor (SCM).
Although full materiality analyses ideally incorporate direct engagement with key stakeholder groups, time constraints led us to instead gather stakeholder input by proxy through the executives whose roles put them in regular contact with the various stakeholder groups. Through questionnaires and interviews, we gained insight into key stakeholders’ perspectives on the most important issues facing themselves and the company.
After confirming our initial findings with Alexander Forbes’ chief executive and financial director, Trialogue produced a list of five material themes, sub-divided into 23 specific issues. These themes and issues then formed the basis for the company’s 2012 integrated report structure. Equipped with our newfound understanding of the company and its most material issues, we were then in an excellent position to provide writing assistance to Alexander Forbes as it compiled its integrated annual report. With Trialogue’s writing and strategic support, the company is well positioned for strengthened integrated reporting in the future.