Materiality Definitions and Methodology
We published our first materiality analysis in our 2004/5 Sustainability Report, making us an early adopter of materiality in the sustainability context. We update our assessment every other year, and this report contains our most recent analysis.
Definitions of Materiality
For the purposes of this report, we consider material information to be that which is of greatest interest to, and has the potential to affect the perception of, those stakeholders who wish to make informed decisions and judgments about the company’s commitment to environmental, social and economic progress.
This definition predates, but is consistent with, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) definition of material topics: “those that reflect the organization’s significant economic, environmental and social impacts; or that substantively influence the assessments and decisions of stakeholders.”
Our Materiality Process
Our most recent materiality analysis aligns with the GRI Standards, and followed three key steps:
We created a list of potential issues, grouped by four different types of “capitals” – social, environmental, financial and human – as well as governance. Issues were identified through desk-based research, which included a peer review, media scan and review of sustainability thought leadership from industry experts and associations.
Once potential issues had been identified, internal and external stakeholders were invited to comment on the topics and rate them in terms of their perceived importance. Internal stakeholders came from a wide range of functions across the business, while external stakeholders from the Ceres stakeholder committee included representatives of sustainability nongovernmental organizations, socially responsible investment organizations and industry peers. The interviews were analyzed to identify key challenges, opportunities and linkages between the issues. Average ratings were obtained from both groups of stakeholders.
Once the materiality analysis was completed, the results were reviewed internally by Ford’s Sustainability & Vehicle Environmental Matters (S&VEM) group and regional stakeholders. Revisions were then made to ensure that our process and list of important issues were complete, well understood and inclusive of the perspectives obtained from stakeholders, and that all feedback was appropriately reflected.