Materiality matrix

The material topics, namely the most significant issues identified via a context analysis and shared discussion with internal and external stakeholders, form the basis for our strategic sustainability planning and performance reporting.

The process

Via the materiality analysis process, we identify the most important economic and governance, social and environmental or "material" topics for the Group and our stakeholders, considering their impact on the business and on the parties concerned.

The analysis is divided into different phases – documental and contextual analysis, dialogue with internal and external stakeholders and with company managers, processing of the matrix and return of the results. The output of the process is the materiality matrix, a two-dimensional graph, where the topics are placed in order of their importance.

In 2019 we developed a materiality analysis, assigning a graphical representation in the matrix. In 2020, driven by the change in situation caused by the Covid-19 health emergency, we decided to undertake an assessment regarding the adequacy of the “material” economic, governance, social and environmental topics connected with the company’s businesses, carrying out an ad hoc examination, with the direct involvement of stakeholders. In 2021 we laid the groundwork for a renewal of the analysis methodology, making it more inclusive and participatory.

During 2020 we therefore conducted a follow-up project, which provided for :

  • an analysis of the new emergency situation generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly the findings associated with the emergency phase and recovery guidelines, in order to identify the ongoing and prospective trends, also relating to the «new normality»;
  • a «reinterpretation» of material 2019 topics based on the findings that emerged from the contextual analysis, which confirmed the validity of the 19 issues and gave further consideration to 12 of them;
  • the direct engagement of both internal and external stakeholders, via a digital multi-stakeholder focus group and specific one-to-one interviews. The aim of the engagement was to take on board the stakeholders’ reflections on the health crisis, analysing together the new reference situation and recording their expectations as regards our potential role in the recovery process of the communities where we operate;
  • the direct involvement of the Group’s managers, by means of a virtual meeting with 25 company managers who have analysed the findings that emerged from the multistakeholder consultation and the most strategic aspects of the «new normality» for the recovery, also considering the stakeholders’ viewpoints.

In 2021, the validity of both the previously defined materiality matrix, which remains the reference until the next cycle of analysis, and the “prioritisation” (low, medium and high significance) of the 19 “material” topics of an economic, governance, social and environmental nature, also in keeping with the Group’s strategic sustainability planning, was therefore confirmed. More specifically, 16 topics were placed in the high significance quadrant (score of 68-100) and 3 in the medium significance quadrant (score of 33-67).

Materiality matrix

  • social topics
  • economic and governance topics
  • environmental topics

In view of the new cycle of analysis envisaged for 2022, Acea has developed a project aimed at defining and sharing with the Group’s companies an advanced process of materiality analysis.
In particular, an intercompany task force has been set up, which has reviewed the methods of implementation and objectives of each phase of the process, re-evaluated functions and methods for utilising the support tools and pooled the related expected changes in circumstances, also considering the new GRI “Universal Standards” published in October 2021.
The initiative, via an inclusive approach, lays the groundwork for enhancing the capacity of the process for intercepting and representing the Group’s significant topics, highlighting, in a coordinated and more consistent manner, the particular requirements of the operating companies and their stakeholders.


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