Materiality Definitions and Methodology
We were an early adopter of materiality in the context of sustainability, having published our first analysis in our 2004/05 Sustainability Report. We have updated the assessment every other year, and our most recent analysis is reflected in this report.
Definitions of Materiality
For the purposes of this report, we consider material information to be that which is of greatest interest to, and which has the potential to affect the perception of, those stakeholders who wish to make informed decisions and judgments about the company’s commitment to environmental, social and economic progress.
This definition predates, but is consistent with, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) definition of material topics: “those that reflect the organization’s significant economic, environmental and social impacts; or that substantively influence the assessments and decisions of stakeholders.”
Our Materiality Process
Our most recent materiality analysis aligns with GRI Standards, and followed three key steps:
We drew up a list of potential issues, grouped by four different types of “capitals” – social, environmental, financial and human – and the topic of governance. The issues were identified through desk-based research, comprising a peer review, media scan and review of sustainability thought leadership from industry experts and associations.
Internal and external stakeholders were then invited to comment on the topics identified and rate them in terms of their perceived importance. Internal stakeholders were drawn from a wide range of functions across the business, while external stakeholders from the Ceres Stakeholder Committee included representatives of sustainability nongovernmental organizations, socially responsible investment organizations and industry peers. To read their feedback, see About This Report.
The interviews were analyzed to identify key challenges, opportunities and linkages between the issues, and average ratings were obtained from both groups of stakeholders.
The results of the materiality analysis were reviewed internally by Ford’s Sustainability & Vehicle Environmental Matters (S&VEM) group and regional stakeholders.
Following the review, revisions were made to ensure that all feedback was appropriately reflected, and that our process and list of important issues were complete, well understood and inclusive of the perspectives obtained from stakeholders.