CSR CERTIFICATE PROGRAM – FACULTY / COURSE UPDATE: What is “Materiality”? Why Is It important? How Do I Assess What ESG Issues are Strategically Important?

Posted on March 17, 2016 by Hank Boerner – Chair & Chief Strategist

 An Interactive Course to Answer These Questions Led by Louis D. Coppola

Rutgers Business School’s Institute for Ethical Leadership and G&A Institute joined forces to develop and offer a Corporate Social Responsibility Certificate Program for corporate professionals. The first executive education program classes begin on Wednesday, April 27 and Thursday, April 28 at the Rutgers Business School campus in Newark, New Jersey. The two-day program features a deep dive into CSR and the related fields of philanthropy, sustainability, risk management, supply chain management, and ethics.
Louis. D. Coppola of Governance & Accountability Institute will lead an interactive course focused on diving deep into the history, definitions, and practicality of “materiality” from a sustainability perspective and the importance of determining materiality in the context of the corporate CSR program or when making investment decisions.
Materiality, as the U.S. Supreme Court defined it under the scope of U.S. securities law (and as the Securities & Exchange Commission generally applies it to corporate disclosure and reporting) along these lines: The materiality of particular information is whether there is a substantial likelihood that a reasonable investor would consider the misstated or missing information as having significantly altered the total mix of information that was available.
With the dramatic expansion of disclosure and reporting of ESG performance data (environmental, social and governance), the range of information being made public by companies is bringing about a vigorous dialogue (especially among investors) focused on the materiality of information.
Focusing on the critical ESG issues that will enable the company to better manage risk, take advantage of opportunities, better engage with important stakeholders, and position itself to be a winner in the 21st Century business environment is what a well thought out ESG Materiality process is all about.
Various important players have helped to shape the discussion around this important topic including the Global Reporting Initiative with its G4 framework, and the intensified focus on materiality. GRI considers materiality to be a stakeholder inclusive process beyond the investor stakeholder including customers, employees, supply chain, communities, academics, and NGOs. A more recent player in this field is the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) which uses the US regulatory definitions of Materiality.
Participants in the Corporate Social Responsibility classes will have an opportunity to learn the various players and approaches to materiality. They will be guided through group exercises with their peers to examine materiality and they will learn through real world practical examples from leaders in the field.
Participants will be able to directly relate to the content and material, allowing them to apply their learning to their current work place immediately.
Registration includes breakfast, lunch, dinner Wednesday evening, parking, and course materials. Upon completion of the 2 day program, participants will be awarded a certificate in executive leadership. The program runs from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, on Wednesday, April 27 and Thursday, April 28, at the Rutgers University Business School in Newark, NJ.
To learn more about the CSR Certificate program, call 973-353-1134, email leadership@business.rutgers.edu, or visit http://www.business.rutgers.edu/iel/csr.

Governance & Accountability Institute is a sustainability consulting firm headquartered in New York City, assisting corporations in executing winning strategies that maximize return on investment at every step of their sustainability journey. The G&A team helps corporate and investment community clients recognize, understand and address sustainability issues to address stakeholder and shareholder concerns. G&A Institute is the exclusive Data Partner for the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in the USA, UK and Ireland. A G&A team of six or more perform this pro bono work on behalf of GRI. In 2015, they analyzed more than 1,200 sustainability reports in this role and databased more than 100 important data points related to each report.
G&A’s sustainability-focused services and resources include: counseling & strategies for the corporate sustainability journey; sustainability reporting assistance; thorough materiality assessments; stakeholder engagement; benchmarking; enhancing investor relations; sustainability communications; manager coaching, team building and training; issues monitoring & customized research; advice on third party awards and recognitions. Visit G&A at www.ga-institute.com
The Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School works with business and government, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, and within Rutgers University to provide leaders and future leaders with the education, training and critical-thinking tools needed to become more effective leaders and managers and make ethical decisions for real-world challenges. For more information, visit www.business.rutgers.edu/iel.