The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector moves quickly. It is known for developing new products and services, as well as driving the convergence of previously separate services into integrated products. These constant changes are accompanied by rapidly shifting CSR risks and opportunities. While companies often seek to maximize the sustainability of CSR efforts by prioritizing their most material issues, there is no consensus on which issues are most material for the ICT industry as a whole.
The Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI), a partnership including Vodafone, Nokia, Motorola and BT, recruited BSR to fill this void by coordinating a process to define the most material issues for companies in the ICT sector.
These issues are:
- Informed by consultation with stakeholders (for example, through a series of multi-stakeholder dialogues)
- Focused on those areas where the ICT sector can make the most substantial contribution to sustainable development
- Categorized by ICT industry sub-sectors such as consumer electronics, service providers, Internet and equipment manufacturing
- Forward looking—which is particularly important given the speed of development in the ICT industry
While the outcome of the materiality process is intended to deliver the following benefits:
- GeSI's 22 member companies will improve the quality of their own sustainability reports and strategies, focusing on the issues that matter most and maximizing their contribution to sustainable development
- Investment analysts will gain an understanding of the issues considered most material to companies in the ICT sector, and thereby improve the quality of analysts' engagement with the ICT sector
- GeSI will be prepared to focus the development of its own future strategy and work plan on those issues most material to the ICT sector.