IFRS Foundation
October 15, 2021

Introducing the Materiality Finder

Nicolai Lundy

Today we’re pleased to introduce the Materiality Finder – a new tool that makes it easier and faster to find the information you want related to the SASB Standards. This tool was developed after conducting extensive user research and parsing website data. From this work, we learned that website visitors want two primary things when they are looking for quick answers without downloading the SASB Standards. First, frequent users of the website want a quick way to see the disclosure topics in their industry and compare them with topics in other industries. Second, new website visitors want to better understand SASB Standards, including how they fit in the broader ecosystem.

In response to these needs, the new Materiality Finder offers:

  • An overview of the SASB Standards, including how they fit in the context of the broader ecosystem, their industry-specific nature and descriptions of the general sustainability issues that encompass their scope.
  • A fast way to search the topics in an industry and the ability to search by company, featuring an overview of the general sustainability issues that do and do not appear in the industry.
  • The ability to compare up to four industries side-by-side, clearly seeing where industry disclosure topics are similar or different.
  • Answers to frequently asked questions about materiality, industry-specificity and the relationship between SASB Standards and other frameworks and standards.

The Materiality Finder is a refinement of an existing tool, the Materiality Map®, which many website visitors already use to better understand the Standards. The new Materiality Finder improves upon the Materiality Map® in a few ways:

  • As most users start with a specific company in mind, the Materiality Finder allows you to search by company instead of having to start by clicking open the sector and then finding the industry within that sector.
  • In the Materiality Map®, you must click open boxes to see which specific disclosure topics and accounting metrics pertain to the industry. The majority of visitors to the Materiality Map don’t open any of the boxes and miss this important information. For example, many website users think that sustainability metrics related to labor conditions don’t appear in the Apparel, Accessories & Footwear industry because Labor Practices and Employee Health & Safety are blank in the Materiality Map for that industry, but when you open the Supply Chain Management box in the Materiality Map, you see “Labor Conditions in the Supply Chain” for the Apparel, Accessories & Footwear industry. The Materiality Finder more clearly shows the disclosures topics that are relevant to each industry.
  • It is easier to navigate to download the SASB Standards from the Materiality Finder than it is from the Materiality Map®.
  • The Materiality Finder facilitates the comparison of industries side-by-side, particularly when those industries are in different sectors.

To see an example of how to compare industries side-by-side, there are several companies that operate in both the Metals and Mining industry and the Chemicals industry. On the Materiality Map, it is not easy to see which general sustainability issues appear in one or both industries:

If a website visitor wants to see those two industries side-by-side, it is much easier to do so using the Materiality Finder:

We seek to continually optimize our resources based on input from the market. We thank the many new and frequent website visitors that participated in our user research to inform the development of the new Materiality Finder. Early testing indicates that the Materiality Finder is more useful than the Materiality Map®, as it makes it easier and faster to learn about the SASB Standards and to find disclosure topics in one or more industries. We invite you to visit the new Materiality Finder and see what you think! We invite feedback here.