(List #60) The Materiality Matrix

How schools are conducting materiality analysis and what these look like.

(List #60) The Materiality Matrix

This month's unofficial theme has been highlighting examples of how schools bring information to life in their reports using visuals. I could keep posting beautiful visuals from sustainablity reports for several weeks, but this will be the last one (at least for a bit).  This time, the visuals are focused on materiality. According to the Global Reporting Initiative, materiality is used to ‘filter in ‘ the information that is or should be relevant to users, “particular information is considered ‘material’ – or relevant – if it could influence the decision making of stakeholders in respect of the reporting company” (GRI).

Here is a list of schools that conducted, and reported on, their assessment of materiality in 2021-2022 including, of course, some visuals.


Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa published a materiality assessment in their 2019-2020 PRME SIP Report (p.9). In 2020, campus stakeholders including students, faculty and staff, were asked which social issue was most important to consider. Although it isn’t clear what was done with this information, or if it influenced the school’s strategy, it does give a good overview of what stakeholder think on the topic.

2.     IMC Krems

IMC Krems outline how they conducted their materiality analysis starting on p. 11 of their 2020 Sustainability Report. After identifying the topics most relevant to the university, stakeholders were involved through online surveys asking them to assess how significantly the sustainability related topics influenced them and their decision making. Each material topic is outlined in their report in detail.

3.     Universidad Simon Boliver

Universidad Simon Boliver includes a special report on their materiality assessment in their 2020 Integrated Report. The report outlines exactly how they went about the process including the identification of different stakeholders on campus, mapping out the interest and power of each group and finally, through interviews, identifying material issues to these groups.

4          Budapest Business School

Budapest Business School's 2019-2020 Integrated Report includes an overview of material issues, essentially topics that influence their strategy, value creation model, performance and future prospects. They relied on the opinions of internal stakeholders in 2019 through an anonymous satisfaction survey. The results are shared on p. 10 of their report.

5          Ozyegin University

Ozyegin University 2020 Sustainability Report follows Global Reporting Initiative Guidelines. As such, it includes a list of material topics (section 10.1). The issues were identified and prioritized by the team. The report is organised around each of the material issues identified. The team also focused on what was already publicly reported on in relation to the university to help identify materiality issues.

6.     KU LEUVEN

This example is an oldie, but a goodie. Way back in  2016-2017, KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Business published this materiality matrix. Using the GRI Guidelines, the business school organised major stakeholders together to discuss and establish materiality. The most material sustainaiblity issues were education and research that addressed sustainablity topics, student and staff welbeing, and the promotion of diversity/non-discrimination with an emphasis on gender equality. These probably wouldn't be much different today.

7.     ESADE

ESADE’s conducted a in-depth dialogue with a number of key stakeholder in order to gather information for their materiality analysis. The analysis is presented on p.83 of their Identity and CSR Report 2020-2021 which follows Global Reporting Standards as well as AA1000 APS 2008 and AA1000SES 2015 standards. The report also provides details on how they conducted their analysis and which stakeholder groups they prioritised.