Materiality Case Study: FedEx

Materiality Case Study: FedEx

In 2014, FedEx undertook a robust materiality analysis to help the company refine its global citizenship strategy and ensure that it is addressing areas of maximum impact. The outcomes of the analysis have helped FedEx to reaffirm, evaluate and prioritize its top material issues at each operating company, as well as across the enterprise. In addition to informing and helping refine its strategy, materiality will help FedEx continue to enhance the relevance of its reporting in the future.

To conduct a truly objective assessment, FedEx worked with an external business and sustainability advisory firm to create a highly customized methodology tailored to the company’s unique structure. The company greatly values the perspectives of its stakeholders and worked to ensure that they were part of the process. FedEx’s assessment comprised:

  • A series of discussions with key external stakeholders representing nongovernmental organizations, academics and media, as well as its customers and business partners who were asked both prompted and unprompted questions about their views of environmental, social and ethical issues that represent the greatest risks and opportunities for FedEx.
  • Internal stakeholder engagement with executives.
  • Workshops at each operating company with cross-functional subject matter experts.
  • An employee survey.
  • A final enterprise-level workshop to refine and confirm the materiality results.


The company’s materiality assessment confirmed that its greatest impacts, opportunities and challenges are directly related to its operations. The matrix seen here illustrates a wide range of different issues the company faces that are critical to its global citizenship. Performing well on these issues means creating efficiencies and encouraging innovation in its operations and service offerings while upholding the Purple Promise.

As the company expected, its top issues focus on operations, safety and ethics. When FedEx team members are knowledgeable, safe and trustworthy, they are able to focus on delivering the Purple Promise to customers.


FedEx views materiality as an iterative process that must be periodically reviewed and refined as its business and the marketplace evolve. In 2015, the company plans to increase its issues-based stakeholder engagement in its analysis. It also plans to again review its goals and metrics around its top material issues to ensure that it is constantly measuring, managing and moving possibilities in its global citizenship progress.

[This case study originally appeared in GEMI’s Quick Guide on Materiality]. 

fedex materiality

FedEx Enterprise Materiality Matrix (FY14)

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