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    Materiality matrix

Materiality matrix

Coming from the financial world, the concept of materiality refers to anything that can have a significant impact on a company, its activities and its ability to create financial and non-financial value, for itself and its stakeholders.

In 2017, Schneider Electric renewed its materiality analysis by questioning relevant external stakeholders (customers, suppliers, trade associations, international organizations, experts, shareholders, members of the board of directors, etc.), and top and senior managers within the Group (Strategy, Country Presidents, Safety/Environment/Real Estate, Businesses and Services, Human Resources, Industrial design, IoT and digital transformation, European Works Council, etc.). The participants represented 5 nationalities; 32% of the respondents were women, 68% were men.

With the help of consulting firm B&L evolution, the aim is to ensure that Schneider Electric reports against the most important economic, social and environmental issues; identifies current and future opportunities and risks for the business; and updates its sustainability agenda with the key stakeholders’ expectations. In particular, the materiality matrix was one of the sources used to design Schneider Sustainability Impact and to confirm the topics to be addressed in its registration document.
  • Methodology

    • The issues were defined using a study of: international guidelines (UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, ISO 26000), sector stakes (identification of sector issues via a benchmark, analysis of recurring topics in the sector, identification of business megatrends), Schneider Electric's specific issues, and a comparison with the materiality analysis of 2013.

    • Participants were asked to assess the significance of each issue according to a quantitative scoring scale, and then were interviewed for qualitative evaluation and justification of the given scores. This made it possible to adjust the averages so as to obtain a more representative matrix of the interviewees’ intentions.

    • The scores given during interviews carried with internal participants were reported on the "Importance of issues according to Schneider Electric" axis and those given by external stakeholders were plotted on the "Importance of issues according to external stakeholders" axis. Colors were given to the issues according to the 7 core subjects of ISO 26000 to which they relate.
  • Analysis of the results

    • The more issues are located near the diagonal line which passes by the point of origin, the more there is an agreement between internal and external stakeholders about the relative importance of the issue for Schneider Electric and its ecosystem of stakeholders. Issues constitute an “external signal” when they are located over the upper diagonal and an “internal signal” when they are located under the lower diagonal.

    • The external and internal visions of the issues are generally aligned. Issues related to governance and communities and local development are generally less material than issues related to human rights, consumers, working conditions and relationships, fair practices or the environment. Internal stakeholders have a slightly higher risk assessment than external ones.

    • Six issues are defined as crucial: human rights and duty of vigilance, occupational safety and access to care, privacy and data security, business integrity, carbon neutrality, and consumer health and safety
  • Use of the results

    • Our registration document, our climate pledge and finally our Schneider Sustainability Impact cover all these priority topics through Group policies, progress plans, indicators, and short or long term goals.

    • The objective of this analysis is to ensure that Schneider Electric communicates on the most important economic, social and environmental issues; identifies opportunities and risks for its present and future activities; and updates its approach to sustainable development in the light of key stakeholders' expectations. In particular, the materiality matrix was one of the sources used to design Schneider Sustainability Impact and to confirm the topics to be addressed in the registration document.

    • These interviews enabled Schneider Electric to consolidate the relationship with its stakeholders and learn about their expectations.

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