By materiality analysis, companies involved in sustainability reporting identify the so-called material aspects, i.e. the most relevant topics that their report must address. This paper questions the excessive subjectivity that the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines grants to companies in identifying their own material aspects, as they do not adequately support companies involved in materiality analysis and might elicit opportunistic behaviours. To mitigate the abuse of discretion and prevent its consequences, we present an approach to define a minimum list of preselected topics to be mandatorily considered as material, and apply it to the agri-food sector. Results move from the analysis of some available international standards and rating systems as well as the evaluation by of a panel of scholars, internationally acknowledged as experts in that sector. By identifying the topics that are at the core of sustainability for the agri-food companies and suggesting them as mandatory for sustainability reporting, the paper helps reducing the chance of relevant topics omitted, and ultimately improves reliability and comparability of sustainability reports.

Guiding materiality analysis for sustainability reporting: the case of agri-food sector

Nicola Bellantuono;
2018-01-01

Abstract

By materiality analysis, companies involved in sustainability reporting identify the so-called material aspects, i.e. the most relevant topics that their report must address. This paper questions the excessive subjectivity that the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines grants to companies in identifying their own material aspects, as they do not adequately support companies involved in materiality analysis and might elicit opportunistic behaviours. To mitigate the abuse of discretion and prevent its consequences, we present an approach to define a minimum list of preselected topics to be mandatorily considered as material, and apply it to the agri-food sector. Results move from the analysis of some available international standards and rating systems as well as the evaluation by of a panel of scholars, internationally acknowledged as experts in that sector. By identifying the topics that are at the core of sustainability for the agri-food companies and suggesting them as mandatory for sustainability reporting, the paper helps reducing the chance of relevant topics omitted, and ultimately improves reliability and comparability of sustainability reports.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11369/405218
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