Centrica : Mapping materiality

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The feature

Centrica, UK-based energy supplier, provides detailed coverage of material issues in an accessible format. Centrica includes a sub-section on Materiality in the Strategy and governance area of its Responsibility section. A brief overview of how the company defines a material issue is followed by an interactive matrix that maps the 14 issues identified by the company against their importance to stakeholders. Each issue on the matrix is linked on click to further information. For nine of the issues (for example, Safety, Energy supply), the link expands a standardised report card lower down the page in a list where the topics can be expanded and browsed separately. The summaries here in turn have links to more detailed reporting on the site. The remaining issues (for example, Remuneration, Human rights) link directly to information pages elsewhere in the section.

The takeaway

One litmus test of how mature is a company’s reporting of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is whether CSR professionals are given the kind of service traditional investment analysts would expect to receive. Centrica’s focussed coverage of material issues (those that are significant for and have an impact on the business) is a big positive in itself. When allied to its interrogable presentation of performance data it pushes the company into the top bracket. A notable feature of the Materiality content is how basic web tools (interactivity, expandable summaries, related linking) are used to enhance its availability, usability and depth.

This reinforces the message that Centrica takes seriously not only its CSR commitment but also its stakeholder audience.

First published 02 May, 2013
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