Materiality

On Saturday, the Business Pages of the Washington Post carried two stories relating to my industry sector (Information Communications Technology) that highlight the importance for all corporate responsibility practitioners to keep materiality front of mind.

One article describes that the FCC is considering what control, if any, telecommunications, internet and similar companies should be allowed, to block or delay certain traffic on their networks. In the other article, the Justice Department, Google, book authors and publishers are in dispute over arrangements for Google to create a digital library.

Both issues contain prime characteristics of corporate responsibility issues;

– Positive or negative community/civil society impact
– Significant business impact
– Ethical dilemmas
– Corporate risk and reputational impact

Climate change mitigation and adaptation are critical issues and have allowed us to come together across industry sectors. Two items in one day on material issues in my sector reminds me that we also need to ensure that the focus required for green issues does not result in our taking the eye off the ball for other material CR issues that are specific to the industry sector we are in.


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