The report builds on the landmark report “The Contribution the ICT Industry Can Make to Sustainable Development: A Materiality Assessment”, developed for GeSI by BSR in 2008. It provided the first comprehensive materiality analysis for the ICT industry as well as an assessment of its implications for the sustainability reporting and strategy development of ICT companies. It was accompanied by a materiality tool to support GeSI member companies in their internal materiality assessments, taking into account the specifics of their respective products, services and markets.
The competitive and social landscape in which ICT companies operate has changed significantly over the past six years, therefore GeSI commissioned BSR to refresh the report and the accompanying tool.
“As a recognized thought leader and proactive driver of the sustainability agenda, GeSI has always paid considerable attention to the role of the ICT sector in society. This enables GeSI to better support and inform its membership base with relevant tools that help them identify the most relevant business opportunities. Our stakeholders will also find the report highly insightful on the issues that are most material for the ICT industry. This greater awareness will facilitate more meaningful dialogues and yield more informed and better decision-making”, stated Luis Neves (Deutsche Telekom) GeSI Chairman.
“The analysis shows two sides to sustainability for the ICT industry” explained Aron Cramer, President and CEO of BSR. “On the one hand, ICT companies need to focus on the application of ICT products and services for social and environmental good, such as solutions for a low carbon economy; on the other hand, companies need to ensure that they provide products and services that are secure, responsible and respect human rights”
The materiality assessment at a sector level is a core document, an invaluable exercise in stakeholder engagement and central to GeSI members’ sustainability strategies and reporting activities. Speaking at the BSR dinner, Chris Lloyd (Verizon Office of Global Corporate Citizenship and GeSI Board member) explained “the materiality assessment helps GeSI members understand which issues are of highest importance to societal stakeholders so members can prioritize their resources and programs on sustainability solutions that deliver maximum business and social value.”