Assessing materiality

The coverage of our annual sustainable development report is determined by reference to a detailed GRI-aligned materiality assessment. The assessment identifies and evaluates the sustainability issues most important to our businesses and stakeholders, at the time of the assessment, and in the near future.

We regularly review our materiality topics and conduct an in-depth assessment every two years. In 2021, we conducted a comprehensive materiality assessment that applied the concept of double materiality, which considers both financial materiality and impact materiality. The approach determines topics that positively or negatively influence enterprise value (financial materiality), as well as those that reflect the impacts we have on the economy, environment, and people (impact materiality).

Source: GRI. (2022) 


A list of potential material issues was produced with reference to the GRI Standards, sustainability ratings questionnaires, the sustainability reports of our operating companies and global sustainability goals and priorities.


An external consultancy conducted one-on-one interviews and focus group discussions with our internal and external stakeholders.

Members of management were asked to determine the actual or potential impact of each topic on the Group’s enterprise value using the six areas of our enterprise risk management framework (financial, disruption, reputation, regulatory, human and strategic). They were also asked to consider the Group’s vulnerability to the impacts of each topic, taking account of the level of controls in place to manage the impacts, our readiness to respond and the degree to which we can control the impacts.

Our business partners, investors, peer companies and civil society representatives were engaged to evaluate the severity and likelihood of the Group’s positive and negative impacts for each topic, considering scale, scope and whether or not impacts are reversible.


Results were validated by the those with management responsibilities for sustainable development, risk management, finance, public affairs, and staff matters (see materiality matrix). Topics in the top right quadrant are considered material, and should be managed and reported on.

Materiality matrix

To assess the impact on society and the environment, we evaluated (a) the likelihood that each sustainability issue’s potential or actual impact might happen in the next 3 to 5 years, and (b) the severity if it happens and its impact on the environment, economy, and people in terms of scale, scope, and remediability or irreversibility.

Scores for impact on enterprise value (x-axis) consider both vulnerability and impact. A high score may reflect areas where we already have robust management controls in place but where the financial impact is significant (e.g. Energy use, GHG emissions and renewable energy), or it could indicate an emerging issue where we may need to strengthen our policies and practices to reduce our vulnerability (e.g. Biodiversity, Public health and Employee wellbeing). Detailed stakeholder feedback is analysed and insights from the materiality assessment exercise are shared with the leadership team and relevant departments.

How the Group impacts on society and the environment through our material topics is described under SwireTHRIVE. This includes any impacts to be mitigated and topics on which we generate value for our stakeholders, and which may influence the decision making of our providers of capital.

The table below shows the twelve material issues identified, their definitions and the GRI Standards we reference, where applicable.

Topic Topic definition Material impact GRI reference
Energy use, GHG emissions and renewable energy Energy efficiency of both direct and indirect energy consumed and GHG emissions produced in the company business operations and production processes, including transport. The use of and investment in renewable energy sources, which helps decrease emissions.
GRI 302 Energy
GRI 305 Emissions
Waste and effluents Implementation of a systematic and life-cycle approach to identify, manage, reduce, and responsibly dispose of or recycle effluents and waste, and shall assess all stages: manufacturing, sale, use and end-of-life; including food and packaging.
GRI 306 Effluents and waste
Climate resilience The ability to prepare for and recover from physical and transition climate impacts (e.g., extreme weather events, flooding of roads and buildings, heatwaves that affect workers, carbon pricing, stakeholder expectations for action, etc.) in the regions of operations and distribution.
GRI 201-2 Financial and other climate risks
Management of water resources Implementation of a systematic approach to conserve, reduce use of, and reuse water in company operations and supply chain, and to stimulate water conservation within its sphere of influence and contribute to water positivity.
GRI 303 Water
Biodiversity Businesses dependency on biodiversity for their inputs and the ecosystem services they provide. The impacts on local ecosystems through the consumption of raw materials and land use, especially where operations are sited in biologically sensitive areas.
GRI 304 Biodiversity
Changing consumer preferences The impact of consumer purchasing decisions on business, which is increasingly driven by sustainability values (e.g. rejection of plastic packaging, reduction in consumption), and meeting consumer needs through the development and offering of sustainable products and services (e.g. alternative materials, circularity, zero waste, and low-emissions lifestyles).
Talent recruitment and retention Providing opportunities to promote professional growth and learning among new and existing employees, and matching employee skills with the needs of the business, in order to remain an employer of choice and retain key talent.
GRI 401 Employment
GRI 404 Training and education
Public health Public health and acute public health events including pandemics may disrupt business operations and supply chains, change consumer behaviour, and have physical and psychological impacts to employees.
Employee wellbeing The part of an employee’s overall well-being (physical and psychological) that they perceive to be determined primarily by work and can be influenced by workplace interventions.
GRI 403 Occupational health and safety
Diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination Efforts to ensure that the company workforce (at all levels, including board) reflects not only the global business strategy in terms of R&D, operations and customer base, but also reflects the diversity of the workforce pool in the countries of operation. A commitment to a workforce free of unlawful discrimination involving any distinction, exclusion, or preference that has the effect of nullifying equality of treatment or opportunity, and where that consideration is based on prejudice rather than a legitimate ground.
GRI 405 Diversity and equal opportunity
GRI 406 Non-discrimination
Cybersecurity, privacy and data protection Mitigation, response, and disclosure measures with respect to matters involving cybersecurity risk and incidents, including cybersecurity policies and procedures and the application of disclosure controls and procedures. Approaches to the way employee and consumer data is captured, stored and transferred in a secure manner.
GRI 418 Customer privacy
Anti-corruption, business ethics / fair business practices, and compliance Commitment to comply with voluntary and mandatory regulatory frameworks that are global in scope, as well as established local laws, regulations, standards, and ethical business practices that apply to the organisation including: promoting competitive behaviour; preventing anti-competitive practices; complying with regulatory authorities; working against corruption, extortion, and bribery.
GRI 205 Anti-corruption
GRI 206 Anti-competitive behaviour
GRI 419 Socioeconomic compliance
Stakeholder engagement