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Materiality - what is it?

A materiality assessment means different things to different people. This can be very confusing, especially when you are asked to undertake a materiality assessment. The following article explores some of the variations in what is meant by materiality, and therefore what it most likely means when we are asked to use it.

If I had known about that, I would have made a different decision = "material"

For something to be material to an individual, it is generally defined as something that would have made you change your mind had you known about it when the decision was being made. This is really important in the world of finance and business, where it is usually a requirement for a company to disclose "material" risks to shareholders.

The problem is: what is important to one person may be different to what is deemed to be important to another person. Different tools and techniques have therefore been developed to help align the levels of materiality between different groups of people.

Social materiality - what does this look like?

Social materiality generally focuses on where both a business and stakeholders feel topics are of importance.

Fig. 1. Freele, E. Produced with permission.

Materiality assessments - just a the first bit of a risk assessment?

A materiality assessment can lead to the need to fill in large surveys and undertake a variety of analysis... however... it is really just the same as the first portion of a risk assessment:

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