To ensure that our strategy continues to address the issues that pose significant risks or opportunities to our businesses and our broad group of stakeholders, each year we perform a materiality assessment that evaluates the relevance of economic, social, and environmental topics.
During 2017, we invited internal and external stakeholders to give us their feedback on the issues most important to them, and the areas where they feel Ahold Delhaize has the most significant impact on society..
We used the UN SDGs as input for the list of potential material topics. The outcome of this exercise is presented in our materiality matrix.
Following the matrix are the topic descriptions and information on how we are managing them. For an overview of the definitions used please see this extract of our annual report.
The overall outcome of the materiality assessment is that it reconfirmed our focus areas, such as promoting healthier eating and providing safe and high quality products, produced with respect for people and the environment. These topics have been managed as part of our sustainability strategy since the merger and have specific performance indicators and targets that were set in 2016.
The assessment also provided insights into additional topics where our business has a strong societal impact, but that do not yet impact decision-making for a wide segment of our stakeholders. These topics – such as “animal based protein,” “plastics” and “sustainable agriculture” – are ones we have identified as needing further strategic review to understand if our current management approach is robust enough.