To ensure we chart a strategic course that benefits both our businesses and our broad group of stakeholders, we examine the relevance of sustainability topics through an annual materiality analysis.
Through this process, we engage with our stakeholders to understand what social, economic, and environmental topics are important in their view, and to evaluate the significance of the impact we have on customers, associates, communities and the environment. Identifying our material sustainability topics and integrating them into our business strategies keeps us focused so we can deliver on our commitment to running sustainable businesses that are successful in the long term.
Following our merger in mid-2016, we carried out a process to determine our material sustainability issues. We analyzed the issues Ahold and Delhaize Group had identified in the past, checked them against recent evolutions in topics relevant to our businesses (such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals), and worked with stakeholders to develop an Ahold Delhaize materiality matrix.
For an overview of the definitions used please see our Annual Report.
In 2017, we will reevaluate our material topics and carry out a full materiality analysis, involving our broad group of stakeholders: customers, associates, investors, suppliers and representatives of civil society.
Building our strategy on what our stakeholders care about
We developed our Sustainable Retailing strategy, as part of our overall Better Together strategy, to address the most important topics we identified. The materiality assessment helped us choose our three global focus areas of healthy eating, food waste, and healthy and inclusive workplaces, as well as five essential areas where we commit to continue our progress, such as product safety and sustainability, climate impact, and safety at work. Material topics not taken
into our Sustainable Retailing strategy (such as compliance and regulation), are managed by the relevant departments within Ahold Delhaize (including Legal, Risk & Control, Finance and Operations). We have also discussed broader topics, such as financial performance and business continuity, with our stakeholders; while they are important drivers for success, they are not exclusive sustainability topics and are therefore excluded from the matrix.