Materiality test

Each year, Alliander takes a structured approach to deciding what topics should be covered by the annual report as a minimum. To do this we use a materiality test. Assessment of the material topics and the impacts of these topics on the economy, the environment and people (including human rights) forms the basis for the integrated annual report and takes place at an early stage of the reporting process. The materiality test depends on a dual assessment: on the one hand, various stakeholder groups assess the relevance of different topics and, on the other hand, we make an assessment of what the impact of these topics is on the company and on the wider world.

2022 Topics

We reassessed our material topics for 2022. We also evaluated the impact of these topics with topic owners and specialists at Alliander and specified them once again. In addition to the impact on the environment and stakeholders, the risk presented by the topic for the organisation is also included as a measure for the impact. We saw a few changes as a result of the reassessment. For example, in 2022 Alliander was found to have a greater impact on various topics affecting the economy, the environment and people compared to other years. These topics were: ‘Completion of work package’, ‘Collaboration on innovative solutions’, ‘Climate change, energy consumption and carbon emissions’, ‘Attracting and developing talent’, ‘Collaboration and dialogue with stakeholders’, ‘Corporate social responsibility in the supply chain’, ‘Diverse and inclusive organisation’, ‘Environmental topics not related to the climate’ and ‘Access to green capital’. There are various reasons for this, such as labour shortages, which are related to the challenges Alliander is experiencing in completing the work package, and the rising energy prices, which have an impact on access to affordable energy. The fifteen most relevant topics were used as a guide in defining the content of the annual report, and they are covered at length in the stakeholder sections. With respect to the previous year’s top fifteen, the topic of ‘Environmental topics not related to the climate’ has been added this year and the topic of ‘Corporate Governance and business ethics’ has been removed from our top fifteen. The topic of ‘Environmental topics not related to climate’ has been made more specific, with details about circular operations.

The process in five steps

The relevance of various topics was assessed by the various stakeholder groups in 2021. At the same time an internal assessment looked at the impact of these topics on the company. We reassessed the impact of the topics in 2022.

Step 1: identification of relevant aspects and topics

The first step consisted in putting together a list of social topics that are relevant to the organisation, using the list of aspects included in the GRI Universal Standards as a guideline. We investigated which current social topics could be relevant for Alliander using information derived from various sources and trend research. This led to some modifications to the list of topics compared to previous financial years.

Relevance to stakeholders

The relevance of the topics from the stakeholders’ perspective was determined in 2021 by means of a digital questionnaire sent to a representative group of stakeholders. This gave a clear picture of the material topics for our stakeholders. The result is a summary prioritising the topics having the most relevant impact from the point of view of the stakeholders.

Impact on Alliander

The extent and effect (impact) of the topics were determined once again in 2022 by an internal panel of topic owners and specialists, who took the materiality score from the previous reporting year as the benchmark. Once again, the current and potential impacts that Alliander could have on the economy, the environment and people (including human rights) were considered with respect to the materially relevant topics. The impact model used for the purposes of this method is made up of three aspects. For each topic, we determined its relevance with respect to:

  • the economic, social and economic impacts for the company, including human rights

  • the estimated impact on our immediate surroundings

  • the relative magnitude of the impact.

  • the potential and direct impacts

The impact analysis provides insight into opportunities and threats for the organisation, as well as into the level of priority that should be assigned to tackling each specific subject. The information was collated to produce a draft materiality matrix. The outcomes of this impact analysis and the materiality matrix were discussed internally and made available to the Management Board. One of the conclusions was that the topics where Alliander has or could have the most impact largely match the most important challenges Alliander is addressing.

Step 2: weighting and comparison with previous years

For materiality testing purposes, Alliander uses a weighted average over multiple years. Apart from the greater reliability afforded by this approach and the reduced sensitivity to hypes and measurement errors, the aim is to identify trends in the materiality of topics.

Step 3: GRI aspects of relevance to Alliander

Topics that rate high on the materiality scale are linked to the GRI topic standards. This summary guides the composition of the information contained in this annual report. Alliander also has company-related indicators in place, which are likewise linked to the GRI information.

Step 4: materiality graph

The combination of the relevance of topics to stakeholders on the Y-axis and the impact Alliander has or could have on society on the X-axis shows the impact of a particular topic on the organisation’s social performance and therefore the priority accorded to it within the annual report. The materiality graph thus frames the more material topics for Alliander’s annual report. Alliander groups the results of the materiality analysis into three categories:

Key topics

These are the 15 topics in the materiality matrix that stand out in the eyes of a large group of stakeholders and which have an impact on society. They are covered at length in the annual report.

Business themes

These are the topics considered not to have such high priority by a large group of stakeholders. They are topics that are relevant to just a few stakeholders or are reported because of their relevance to operations or because of legal requirements. They are not dealt with at length in the annual report, but further information is disclosed in the appendices to the report and clarified in the GRI Content Index where necessary.

Potential topics

These are topics that currently receive a lower priority rating from the majority of stakeholders and have a lesser impact on society. It is, however, quite possible for these topics to gain weight in the future so we monitor developments and keep tabs on them as necessary. In the case of a number of them, they are nevertheless included in the annual report for legal reasons or form part of the GRI index disclosures.

Step 5: implementation

The materiality of topics decided by the Management Board provides the basis for the organisation of the contents and for the overall management of the reporting process. Decisions are taken as to how the topics should be elaborated and what needs to be included in the information that is collected. Organisational units prepare the reporting process in conjunction with the responsible departments and agreements are reached on the validation and verification of data. For further disclosures regarding the reporting process, see ‘About this report’ and the GRI Content Index. 

Information & data collection

When collecting social information and data, a distinction is made between qualitative information and quantitative data. Use was made of a data request (standard listing) for the quantitative data, which is part of the regularly scheduled internal data request. Wherever possible, this information is drawn from Alliander’s existing management and information systems. In addition, the company’s own sources were used. A system of internal measures, control and auditing assures the quality of routinely collected information; other information is reviewed internally for the reporting process.

Restatements and mutations

The following topics in our social impact report have changed compared to our 2021 annual report.

Energy and CO2 data

We calculate the CO2footprint, energy usage during the year under review and the transmitted energy volumes based on actual data for transmitted energy volumes and accurate estimates. The electricity labels and the associated CO2 coefficients of the previous calendar year are also used. Adjustments are then made to the multi-year review, based on final data.
Reference: Other non-financial information.

Impact data

The attribution values were redetermined for 2022 using a revised method, which is explained in the Impact Analysis Accountability document included with this annual report. The 2021 impacts have been recalculated using the 2022 attribution values for comparison purposes.
Reference: Impact Analysis Accountability document.