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Materiality and Stakeholder Engagement

Materiality process

In 2016, Sonoco completed a new materiality assessment of economic, environmental, and social issues.

Materiality Analysis

Our quantitative, stakeholder-driven approach identified and prioritized the sustainability issues material to our company and our stakeholders. The 48 issues analyzed were aligned with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 Reporting Principles and Standard Disclosures.

Stakeholder identification

We established stakeholder groups:

  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Industry peers
  • Shareholders
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Community leaders
  • Regulators/government
  • Sonoco employees

Peers, customers, suppliers, investors and shareholders, non-governmental organizations and regulators were assessed based on publicly available data including websites, annual reports, 10-K filings, corporate social responsibility reports, materiality matrices, news releases and mission statements. Sonoco leadership, employees and community leaders assessed the impact of each of the 48 GRI aspects based on the impact to Sonoco using an online survey.

Analysis

Each issue identified was rated on a four-point scale based on the perceived significance of the issue to the stakeholder. Issues not mentioned by stakeholders in available sources were deemed less important to the stakeholder. Issues which were either mentioned in multiple public sources or published by the stakeholder as organizational goals or performance indicators, or listed as an issue of high importance in a materiality matrix, were scored higher. In the online survey, issues were also measured on a four-point scale of importance. After rating the significance of each issue by stakeholder, we classified the issues into a common terminology using the 48 aspects included in the economic, environmental and social categories of the GRI G4 Reporting Principles and Standard Disclosures. We then aggregated the ratings across the external stakeholder groups to calculate the average rating of each issue by group.

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Stakeholder prioritization

To help drive our focus to the most important issues, we weighted each stakeholder group based on the group’s influence and dependence on Sonoco.

  • Highly influential stakeholder groups are most able to impact Sonoco’s achievement of strategic objectives.
  • Highly dependent stakeholder groups are more positively or negatively impacted by Sonoco’s operations.

Each stakeholder group was assigned a relative influence and dependency score based on a three-point scale, giving their aggregated aspect ratings greater or less importance.