Mercer’s Path to Sustainability: Understanding Through ESG Double

Assessing the materiality of environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics plays a crucial role in organizations’ strategic planning and sustainable development. As a company that is aware of our business activities’ role in society and the environment,  we attach great importance to understanding the perspectives of our stakeholders and aligning our actions accordingly.

What exactly is an ESG materiality assessment? It’s a crucial step for organizations like ours to determine the sustainability topics that significantly impact our operations and our stakeholders. This strategic evaluation is instrumental in aligning our sustainability goals with broader societal and environmental objectives.

In 2022, through this assessment, we’ve pinpointed areas requiring immediate action and long-term strategy adjustments. But we don’t stop identifying what matters to us internally; we embrace the concept of double materiality. This means we evaluate how sustainability issues affect our business and how our operations impact the world around us. It’s a dual perspective that guides our actions toward business resilience and societal and environmental betterment.

Principles of materiality assessment:

Mercer recognizes that economic activity not only influences financial results but can also significantly impact society and the environment. Therefore, identifying and assessing ESG issues is of central importance to us. We carry out a comprehensive materiality assessment every two years and an annual assessment to address our stakeholders’ concerns continuously.

Methodology of the materiality analysis:

In 2022, Mercer reviewed the results of the previous year’s materiality analysis. The comprehensive data collection methodology included questionnaires, investor interviews, customer surveys, dialogue with governments and regulators, employee interviews and local community engagement. The stakeholder questionnaires were designed to assess and prioritize the importance of ESG issues and identify emerging issues. This comprehensive data collection provides Mercer with a holistic and diverse understanding of the material aspects of its business.

Double materiality:

A critical aspect of the assessment process is the concept of double materiality. This emerging approach considers the relevance of the identified issues to the company value itself and their impacts on the environment and society as a whole. This dual perspective enables Mercer to incorporate various factors into the decision-making process and ensure that the issues identified are company-specific and relevant to society.

Objective of the materiality analysis:

Mercer’s primary objective is to identify the most important sustainability issues and develop a holistic, effective, and transparent sustainability strategy with stakeholders. The materiality analysis is the basis for defining and aligning the company’s sustainability goals.

Integration into the sustainability report:

Mercer’s sustainability report’s content is guided by the materiality assessment results. The most important topics from the economy, environment, and society, which were identified as part of the analysis, are highlighted in our materiality matrix. This underlines Mercer’s commitment to transparency and disclosing the most relevant aspects of its business activities from a sustainability perspective.

Overall, conducting a thorough materiality assessment enables us to achieve business success in a way that also embeds positive impacts on society and the environment. This proactive approach helps to create long-term value for the company and our stakeholders.

You can find the Sustainability Report 2022 here

Top Double Materiality Priority Issues Identified with Very High Materiality & Financial Impact:

  1. Health and Safety (Social)
  2. Environmental Impact (Environmental)
  3. Product Sustainability (Environmental)
  4. Sustainable Forest Management (Environmental)
  5. Resource Efficiency (Environmental)
  6. Carbon Footprint (Environmental)
  7. Biodiversity (Environmental)
  8. Quality and Value (Economic)
  9. Taxes & Economic Contributions (Economic)

This approach has led us to enhance our cybersecurity measures, innovate in sustainable product development, and much more. By integrating the findings from our materiality assessment into our operations and reporting, we aim to share our journey towards sustainability transparently.