Our approach to materiality

Assessing and prioritising the most material environmental and social risks and opportunities starts with our businesses. They are best placed to do so because they understand their markets, supply chains and local communities. They also experience first-hand the direct impacts of global megatrends where they operate.

At Group level we aggregate these business-level risks and opportunities to share them with stakeholders who tend to view ABF as a single entity: for example environmental, social and governance (ESG) investors. This perspective also helps us to assess the listed materiality topics against relevant external frameworks and benchmarks, including for example the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Through events such as our third ESG day, held in May 2022, we have fed investors’ views into this process and invested time to consider the concerns of current and potential employees. Our set of Group-wide material issues includes safety because this remains a non-negotiable priority for all our businesses.

Our businesses also contribute to the fulfilment of some of the SDGs. They do so, for example, by seeking to ensure decent work for their employees and by encouraging their suppliers and counterparties to safeguard similar standards for those working in their supply chains, all while delivering economic growth (SDG 8) through the responsible production and use or consumption of their products or services (SDG 12). The specific actions our businesses take to deliver SDG 8 and SDG 12 may also make significant contributions to other SDGs.

Over the past 12 months, we have engaged with our divisions and their businesses to understand their material issues and to support them in their materiality assessments if required. The most material topics listed here, in alphabetical order, are a direct result of this exercise.



Involving our stakeholders 

At business, divisional and Group levels, we have considered the views and priorities of many different stakeholders in our materiality assessments, which has included engaging directly with numerous stakeholders. 

 


Material issues and impacts

We have focused our reporting on our businesses’ sustainability strategies and actions. Unsurprisingly, most of these actions are relevant to most of businesses. For example, none are entirely immune to the risks related to climate change and all are in some way connected to agriculture and our supply chains.

What varies is the degree to which each of these Group-wide issues impacts different businesses and, because of the difference in scale between them, the impact that their actions can have. For example, a business with a very large carbon footprint has greater potential to turn the dial on GHG reductions than a business with a relatively small carbon footprint. Climate change mitigation may be important to both; the latter business may achieve greater GHG emissions reductions measured as a proportion of its total emissions than the former, but its contribution to our total Group GHG emissions reductions will not be particularly significant.

Governance for our materiality processes

Our businesses carry out materiality assessments as part of their overall risk management process. These consider their use of natural resources, environmental impact and how they implement ethical business practices in supply chains relevant to the markets in which they operate. Our Group Director of Financial Control receives the assessments annually and, with the Finance Director, reviews with the divisional chief executives individually.

All identified risks and opportunities, as well as their impact on business performance, are reported internally during the year and considered as part of the monthly management review process.


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