California Management Review
California Management Review is a premier academic management journal published at UC Berkeley
by Jilde Garst, Karen Maas, and Jeroen Suijs
Image Credit | Beatriz Pérez Moya
Materiality assessments play an important role in helping firms to select the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) topics to include in their sustainability report. This article presents the six main steps of materiality assessments, the methods used, and how the complexity, uncertainty, and evaluative nature of sustainability issues complicate them. This article draws two conclusions: the selected materiality perspective influences how the other steps are conducted, and assessment results should not only focus on selecting win-win scenarios, but also on “tensioned topics,” which indicate material societal impact but lack a business case.