Communicating the Process for Defining What to Report


For guidance on the process for defining what to report, go to:
Defining What to Report

Providing a description of the materiality assessment process itself allows readers to better understand and evaluate whether the company is managing and reporting the most important water-related topics. Reporting water-related materiality assessments comprises three main components:

  • How important water is to the company (relative to other sustainability topics)
  • How water-related topics have been prioritized
  • How stakeholder engagement informed the materiality assessment process

Reporting How Important Water Is To The Company

The matrix below is a useful tool for illustrating the importance of water to the business. The matrix can be supplemented by a description of the industry’s relative exposure to water-related risks. It can also provide a discussion of any water challenges facing the regions in which the company (or any other entities included within the reporting boundary) has operations. The matrix can also be used to depict the company’s overall materiality assessment for sustainability topics and to show how important water is to the company relative to other sustainability topics.

Measuring Relative Exposure to Water Risk and Impact


Reporting How Water-Related Topics Have Been Prioritized

Next, a company indicates which specific water-related topics were deemed material—and which of those are most important. To do so, the company may choose to publish the plot below. This matrix provides a visual representation of how water-related topics have been assessed based on the significance of their risks, opportunities, and impacts, and their influence on stakeholder assessments and decisions.

Visual Example of Prioritization of Topics



In addition, the company can provide a table (as shown below) that lists the material water-related topics, in order of reporting priority, and briefly describe:

  1. The company entities (e.g., subsidiaries, joint ventures) or entities in the value chain (e.g., suppliers) that face significant risks, opportunities, or impacts related to the topic
  2. The geographic or geopolitical area(s) where the topic in question is material
  3. The significant risks, opportunities, and impacts related to the topic
  4. Stakeholders for whom the topic is important
  5. The extent to which the company can influence the risks, opportunities, and impacts related to the topic
  6. Where the topic is reported (e.g., a specific page in the company’s sustainability report or on its website)

Example of Material Topics List

Material Topic Company or Value Chain Entities Geographic/ Geopolitical Area(s) Risks, Opportunities, Impacts Related to the Topic Stakeholder Interest Company’s Ability to Influence Reporting Location

Reporting How Stakeholder Engagement Informed The Materiality Assessment

Finally, a company explains how it engaged stakeholders to support the materiality assessment process. Specifically, the company describes which specific stakeholder groups were engaged, how this was done (e.g., through local water forums, unsolicited messages, working groups, etc.), and what the key outcomes of that engagement were and how the company addressed them. The company can also report the lessons learned and the stakeholder engagement plan for the next reporting cycle.

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