There are several matrices that I think are interesting and useful if you want to use yours to achieve great things.
Here are a few good ones from Ford, Intel and Electrolux, along with a few lessons from each.
Ford’s Materiality Matrix is an excellent example of how to interactively connect materiality information.
Although it is a 3×3 matrix, which would usually mean that there isn’t enough detail to discern relevance of issues, the boxes let you drill down on detail by clicking on them. For example, the ‘High Impact, High Concern’ box has 14 issues and there are more than 50 issues identified. Followers of Ford also know that they started with a list of well over 500 issues.
The issues are also on axes slightly different from the usual ones. Click through to the source link to have a bit of fun!
Source: Ford’s Materiality Matrix
There is a lot to like about the approach of Intel. They tell you about their sources of issues, give you the shortlisted sustainability issues, tell you who was involved in decision making and describe the process they’ve been through to get to those things.
On the downside, some of their Key Criteria also qualify as sustainability issues in themselves, and so may have distorted the process.
“From a universe of approximately 50 issues, Electrolux has identified 27 as material to its business. … The remaining material issues plotted on this graph include product safety, strategic partnerships, producer responsibility and enabling work life/balance that are ongoing areas of focus for doing business well or are features that define benefits of Electrolux products.”
Included here because it clearly shows that Electrolux knows about more issues than it is publicly talking about. Not only are points shown below that are not explained, the baseline for both axes starts at ‘High’ which means that they have applied some serious filters to their sustainability issues before disclosing the most relevant ones (1-13).
This kind of filtering looks brutal, but is especially important for organisations at the start of their materiality journey. It is also exactly the sort of filtering that needs to take place when choosing how much space to dedicate to issues in reports.
Of course, Electrolux should have a defensive communications strategy for the unexplained dots (issues) that appear in the top right of the matrix. Some of them are very high on importance to stakeholders and the business but are not identified.