To ensure we prioritise the issues that are of most interest to our stakeholders and of highest importance to our business, we conduct a formal materiality analysis every two years. We have shared the methodology and findings of our latest assessment below.

The materiality process

To identify the issues that matter most to our business and our stakeholders, we work with SustainAbility, an independent consultancy and think tank specialised in corporate sustainability, using a formal materiality process. After extensive consultation, environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues of concern are identified and evaluated to determine associated risks and opportunities for Nestlé’s reputation, revenues and costs.

In 2016, SustainAbility refreshed the materiality analysis through four phases of work:

  • Issue identification: SustainAbility reviewed the Nestlé material issue list. They interviewed experts from across the business to identify emerging issues, considered the feedback received from stakeholders through stakeholder convenings, reviewed the issues managed by peers, explored global trends and reviewed global standards and commitments including the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Assess business impact: SustainAbility assessed the potential impact of issues on Nestlé revenue, costs and reputation. The assessment was informed by a survey of global Nestlé executives.
  • Assess stakeholder interest: SustainAbility evaluated the level of interest of Nestlé stakeholders (including key stakeholders, opinion leaders and investors) in the issues. The assessment was informed by the results of Nestlé stakeholder convenings, independently commissioned key opinion leader research and investor engagement.
  • Review and validation: The results were plotted onto a draft materiality matrix. The results were reviewed and validated with Nestlé experts.

The issues are placed on a matrix (see below) that displays their position relative to the degree of stakeholder interest and potential business impact. Together, the results represent the material issues facing our business. These issues should not be viewed in isolation; they are usually interconnected and sometimes improvements in one can lead to changes in another.

Nestlé materiality matrix 2016

Material issues and sub-issues

Our 17 material issues have been organised under our five CSV focus areas. Each issue is made up of sub-issues, which are explored in more detail in our full report.

    • Food and nutrition security – Contributing to the availability of, and affordable access to, sufficient, safe, nutritious food.
    • Over- and undernutrition – Supporting optimal nutrition, health and wellness throughout life. Helping to address overnutrition, undernutrition, related micronutrient deficiencies, conditions such as overweight and obesity, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through portfolio transformation, product and service development and renovation, and Popularly Positioned Products.
    • Food and product safety – Ensuring a high-quality product and preventing health risks arising from use, consumption, handling, preparation and storage throughout the value chain.
    • Responsible marketing and influence – Marketing in ways that are appropriate to consumer audiences and shaping consumer behaviour to promote healthful choices and better environmental outcomes.
    • Rural development and poverty alleviation – Directly and indirectly promoting stable economic activity and improving livelihoods of agricultural workers in the supply chain to promote sustainable agricultural communities and alleviate poverty.
    • Responsible sourcing and traceability – Ensuring that priority ingredients have been grown and processed responsibly, and can be traced back to origin where possible.
    • Animal welfare – Safeguarding the wellbeing of animals in the supply chain and promoting farm animal health and welfare.
    • Women’s empowerment – Empowering women to participate fully in society and the economy across the value chain.
    • Water stewardship – Implementing the actions, individually and/or collectively, needed for the sustainable management of shared water resources.
    • Water, sanitation and hygiene – Improving access to safe water and sanitation, and appropriate facilities to ensure personal hygiene, across our value chain.
    • Natural resource stewardship – Identifying and preserving natural resources and ecosystem services.
    • Climate change – Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to the mitigation of and adaptation to the negative effects of climate change.
    • Resource efficiency, (food) waste and the circular economy – Reducing the direct and indirect use of resources, reducing waste and optimising opportunities for recovery, reuse or recycling of by-products, and disposing of waste appropriately.
    • Fair employment and youth employability – Developing Nestlé’s human capital, including maintaining positive relations with employees, promoting positive working conditions and youth employment.
    • Employee safety, health and wellness – Targeting zero accidents in the workplace, promoting safe and healthy employee behaviours, and helping employees make more informed decisions to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
    • Human rights – Respecting human rights in our business activities, operations and supply chains.
    • Business ethics – Upholding ethical principles in the business and workplace.

See our material issues across the value chain (pdf, 150Kb).

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