On Our Way to 2020

On Our Way to 2020: A Materiality Study

By Dan Daggett, Ph.D., Executive Director, Global Sustainability (Sealed Air Blog)

Earlier this year, we launched Sealed Air’s Better Way for Life Plan and 2020 Sustainability Goals.     As you would expect, a lot of work was done behind the scenes to set such aggressive commitments.  To make sure we weren’t creating a strategy in a vacuum, we collected feedback from suppliers, customers, and non-governmental organizations to gain valuable insights and identify the most material issues to the company and our key stakeholders. The results were Sealed Air’s first materiality assessment and matrix.

We conducted extensive research with both Sealed Air employees and external experts in surveys and interviews. The participation rate and highly engaged feedback from partners reinforced the importance of the work.

The materiality analysis helped us understand the social and environmental risks and opportunities that stakeholders see as most critical for the company. The results have helped focus resources and guide the development of a powerful, new sustainability strategy. To ensure the success of our new sustainability strategy, we outlined three pillars of measureable, aggressive, impactful sustainability goals, called ‘The Better Way for Life Plan’. The Plan and goals focus on helping people around the world live better lives, delivering solutions that meet customers’ sustainability needs and reducing the impact of our global operations.

Internal and external perspectives were well aligned and in agreement that the most material issues across Sealed Air’s business include employee safety, product safety, food security, ethical business practices, product stewardship, and transparency. We will continue to engage our stakeholders, and use their feedback to guide the company’s sustainability work in the future.  The most exciting part of this process is to see how closely aligned our sustainability strategy is with our overall business strategy. The new sustainability strategy isn’t business as usual; it’s a playbook for the company to live out its vision.

GEMI, a leading organization that corporations look to for guidance in developing materiality studies, recently featured our materiality study in their Materiality Quick Guide.  The GEMI Quick Guide on Materiality is designed to help corporations understand materiality and its relationship to sustainability; recognize the importance of materiality in defining an appropriate sustainability strategy; and learn what factors to consider when undertaking a materiality assessment.  It is a compliment and an honor for our work to be featured in the GEMI Materiality Quick Guide. You can view the guide here.

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