The competitive and social landscape in which Digital companies operate is continually changing. Over the past few years we have seen more, faster and bigger disruptive innovations significantly impacting company businesses and the society.
On the one hand, 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.
Materiality assessment at a sector and/or company levels is a core element, an invaluable exercise in stakeholder engagement. That is why GeSI pionered the introduction of Materiality Assessments in 2008 as we understood by then its relevance. Through this report we helped GeSI members understand which issues were of highest importance to societal stakeholders andto prioritize their resources and programs on sustainability solutions delivering maximum business and social value.
As a recognized thought leader and proactive driver of the sustainability agenda, GeSI continued to pay considerable attention to the role of the ICT/Digital sector in society. To better support and inform its membership base with relevant tools that help them identify the most relevant business opportunities, GeSI launched in 2014 a follow-up report ICT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT - A MATERIALITY ASSESSMENT FOR THE ICT INDUSTRY BY GESI. This report came at a time when companies were paying greater attention to the materiality principle—the notion that resources, strategy and reporting should be focused on the sustainability issues of the most significance to both commercial success and stakeholder priorities. Stakeholders such as customers, investors, NGO's, Policy-makers could also benefit from highly insightful analysis on the issues that were most material for the ICT/Digital industry. This greater awareness facilitated more meaningful dialogues and yield more informed and better decision-making.
In September 2015, 193 countries signed up to 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the most ambitious global agenda ever formalized for the social, economic and environmental improvement of the world. The 17 SDGs include aspirations to end poverty, abolish hunger, achieve gender equality, boost equitable economic growth (while decoupling it from resource consumption), reduce inequality and tackle climate change – all by 2030 or earlier. The SDGs, for the first time in the global development agenda, apply universally to all countries in the world, and articulate ambitious, 100 per cent eradication targets, like zero hunger by 2030. Digital solutions can close the SDG achievement gaps by transforming how we live and work. Digital solutions diffuse at unprecedented speed and reach while increasing access to goods and services in a more people-centric, affordable and sustainable way. The disruptive nature and development of the Digital/ICT Insdustry and increasing demands from Stakeholders on companies' transparency and reporting on its most material issues, along with the SDG Agenda gave good reasons for GeSI in 2018 to update its Materiality Assessements giving GeSI members once more an update instrument to help them to better develop their respective CSR reporting. on the MATERIALITY ASSESSMENT REVIEW REPORT ALIGNED WITH THE SDG'S GeSI members can find the most comprehensive Materiality rlevant issues as well key emerging issue areas recommended for higher prioritization by the sector and as well as a chapter explaining how does issues can better align with the SDG's.
The Materiality Assessments and correspondent tools are valuable resources that GeSI makes available to its full members. By continuing to develop Materiality Assessment updates GeSI also ensures consistency on Materiality reporting and provides members and the broader Industry with important insights on the most relevant material issues to be considered when informing its broader and relevant stakeholders.