Materiality issues don’t remain static

Materiality issues don’t remain static. They are constantly evolving. The concept of double materiality takes this notion one step further: it is not just climate-related impacts on the company that can be material but also impacts of a company on the climate – or any other dimension of sustainability, for that matter (often subsumed under the environmental, social and governance, or ESG, label).

This notion of materiality is already embedded in the EU’s new sustainable finance disclosure regime for financial firms and corporates. In 2021 Siemens updated their materiality assessment focusing on Siemens businesses Smart Infrastructure, Digital Industries as well as Mobility.

How Siemens identified and assessed material and high priority issues:

Outside-in perspective:

Sustainability issues that are associated with opportunities or risks for the course of business, the annual financial statements or the situation of the company (business criticality). The top three material issues that have the greatest impact on Siemens and the generation of long-term value are climate action, sustainable product design and lifecycle management as well as social and environmental standards in the supply chain.

Inside-out perspective:

Sustainability issues on which the company’s business activities, business relationships, and products and services are likely to have either a positive or negative impact (sustainability relevance). The top three material issues where Siemens has the greatest impact on society and environment at large are climate action, social and environmental standards in the supply chain, cyber security and data management, sustainable product design and lifecycle management as well as partner management and collaboration.

Stakeholder perspective:

Sustainability issues that are defined as material by key external stakeholders – such as customers, investors, suppliers, politics and NGOs – and internal stakeholders (stakeholder relevance).