Materiality & Boundaries
In 2019, we updated our analysis of material sustainability topics for our business, separating project-related impacts from our organisational impacts in order to distinguish these two boundaries more clearly. By organisational impacts we refer to our role as an employer, while project-related impacts refer to our role as a service provider, having impacts through our projects for clients. We identified a long-list of material topics along Ramboll’s value chain, drawing on the GRI Standard 101: Foundation. We drew up a questionnaire to collect input from employees through an online survey on their perception of the materiality of these topics to Ramboll, adding in topics defined by our in-house management functions. In July-August, the survey was sent in English to 6,000 employees selected on a representative basis and yielded 1,465 respondents, which we consider a satisfactory response rate. At the same time, we drew up interview guides based on the long-list and proceeded to interview 24 internal staff and 4 external stakeholders (two clients, one NGO and one leadership network). Based on feedback received and through an iterative process, we merged and renamed certain topics, as recorded in our ‘Dictionary’, to make the titles more relevant to Ramboll and more intuitive to our stakeholders.
We drew up a ‘Dictionary’ of definitions for each of the topics, explaining their relevance to Ramboll and classifying them according to 1) our organisational impacts, or inside boundary, and 2) our project-related impacts, or outside boundary. Each topic was cross-referenced with one or more GRI Standards, except for Innovation where there is no GRI Standards.
We collated the survey and interview results and placed the topics in two draft materiality matrices, one for organisational impacts and one for project-related impacts.
We held a workshop attended by 25 internal leaders, who helped to qualify and prioritise each topic according to its organisational and/or operational impact, thereby validating the two results with only minor adjustments. The outcome was a prioritised overview of our material topics, which has formed the basis for our 2019 strategic review and for compiling this Sustainability Reporting.
The main changes compared to our 2016 materiality matrix have thus been to separate our topics across two boundaries (organisational and project-related) and to rename the topics to be more closely aligned to the GRI Standards. Although the 2019 topics are no longer directly comparable to the 2016 definitions, the topics relating to Climate Change / Energy Consumption; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (Non-discrimination); Third Party / Supplier Assessment; and Community Engagement have emerged as more material.
Disclosures based on material topics
High Priority topics (boxes 2,3 and 6) have clear KPIs and are reported on fully in line with GRI Standards where available. They include descriptions of policies, risk & opportunity, progress, results and target-setting and are reported in the Materiality Matrixes. Medium Priority topics (boxes 1,5 and 9) are also reported on in the annual report, but not to the same extent as high priority topics. They include descriptions of policies, risk & opportunity, progress and are reported in the Materiality Matrixes.