ICT and Sustainable Development - A Materiality Assessment for the ICT Industry by GeSI

This report comes at a time when companies are 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.

Our aim with this report is to summarize which sustainability issues are most likely to be materially significant for companies in the ICT industry so that we can do two things: inform the materiality assessments undertaken by ICT companies, with implications for their sustainability reporting and strategy development activities; and inform civil society, policy-makers and other stakeholders in the broader sustainability community on the issues considered most material to companies in the ICT industry, assisting them in their research of and engagement with ICT companies.The materiality analysis identified nine issue categories where the ICT industry can contribute to sustainable development. It is important to note the combination of issues that are placed in the top right hand corner of the materiality matrix for the ICT industry as a whole. These include: privacy; the social application of ICT products and services; ICT solutions for a low-carbon economy; data security; and service quality. We are particularly pleased to see that these issues – notably the social application of ICT products and services, ICT solutions for a low-carbon economy and privacy – are closely aligned with BSR’s strategic priorities over the next 3-5 years. The “Business in a Climate Constrained World” theme is our strategy to mobilize ambitious business action on climate change and there are ample opportunities for the ICT industry to provide solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation in areas like transportation, manufacturing, energy and housing. Second, the “Business Leadership for an Inclusive Economy” theme is our work with companies and other partners to build an inclusive economy that enables and empowers all people to meet their needs, shape their futures, and achieve their potential. As outlined in this report, ICT can be a force for social good and an enabler of greater access to services like education, healthcare and banking for those at the bottom of the pyramid.

Supporting Tool developed to support GeSI member companies to determine most relevant material issues:

  • GeSI Materiality Assessment Tool and data

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