BAA plc – independent stakeholder research on material issues
This project was directed at filling a gap in corporate level, and to provide up to date, credible, and an independent survey of the materiality issues. The output needed to show what key stakeholders perceived to be the main corporate responsibility (CR) priorities for the company, and what those issues might be in the near and distant future. The client required the findings to be in a comprehensible, workable matrix that would support its present and future internal strategy.
What did we do?
Article 13 examined the issues material to stakeholders around their relationship with the client, through a series of interviews with representative participants. The project was to specifically; identify and clarify the key issues, now and in the future; provide demonstrable involvement of key stakeholders; and broaden stakeholder engagement, thus establishing a stronger process and paper trail for material issues. Essentially, the result of the first phase was a matrix showing the key material issues identified at this stage of the process.
To identify and clarify the key issues, via interviews, to look at divergence of opinion within stakeholders from a group. This enabled the target list to have sufficient variation in type of stakeholders to reliably reflect the diversity of issues within any one group.
The main body of this research was carried out through semi-structured telephone interviews with representatives of stakeholders nominated by the client. As the questions were qualitative rather than quantitative, and given the nature of the subject, discussions often ranged freely.
There were a range of issues that emerged from the research and Article 13 and the client discussed the variety of options for presenting the information. It was decided that a Materiality Matrix would be used to collect the opinions and suggestions of key stakeholders and capture those issues important to the stakeholders, as well as those important to the business.
The engagement exercise conducted by Article 13 allowed the client to delimit the boundaries of the existing company strategy using stakeholder perspectives, rather than internal decision criteria. Furthermore, stakeholder interviews were conducted using the principles of the AA1000, thus, issues were identified that not only affected the company now, but could do so in the future.
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© Article 13 2008