Chapter 3 Materiality analysis as the basis for sustainability strategies and reporting - a systematic review of approaches and recommendations for practice
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Proper materiality analyses, that identify the most relevant sustainability aspects of companies, are crucial to developing adequate sustainability strategies, successfully manage sustainability activities, and ensure the preparation of reliable sustainability reports. However, due to the lack of structured approaches for materiality assessment in sustainability standards, many companies conduct flawed analyses. The main problems concern high subjectivity, incompleteness, and insufficient stakeholder engagement. Against this background, the current review aims to analyse studies that provide practical approaches in conducting materiality analyses. Our findings show that there are two types of studies suggesting such approaches: studies that derive material topics for specific companies; or studies that provide assessment techniques that companies can independently adapt to their individual characteristics. By summarising and critically analysing the approaches, we show companies how best to carry out materiality assessments and also provide guidance in evaluating the suggested models. Our study concludes with recommendations for an appropriate analysis.

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