In 2018, Pipeline Foods’ Sustainability team, with support of our investor partner, AMERRA, conducted its first materiality assessment. The objective was to engage both internal and external key stakeholders - our customers, farmer-suppliers, financial partners, and employees - to identify their highest priority environmental, social, and economic priorities, and determine how to contribute most significantly to positive impacts in these areas.
Before reaching out to the different stakeholders, Pipeline Foods first established the sustainability context for a discussion around impact in the food and agriculture industry. The exercise consisted of doing a benchmark analysis and evaluating which issues were being prioritized by third-party sustainability evaluators, development experts, investors, competitors, and potential customers. Specifically, the review included the following guidelines:
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs)
Food Brand and CPG sustainability programs
Sustainability frameworks (FAO, IFC, GRI, SASB, Rabobank, IRIS, CDP)
Investor programs (GIIN, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan NatureVest)
Through this process, Pipeline identified a total of 51 issues that surfaced as important in the food and agriculture industry and to the health and wellbeing of society at large. With this in hand, the Company proceeded to survey each of the key stakeholder groups – including farmers, suppliers, food company customers and potential customers, financial partners (investors and lenders) and employees – to identify which of these were the most relevant associated to its operations.
After analyzing data received from 109 respondents, 11 issues were prioritized. The following figure illustrates the results of the materiality matrix, where the dark circles represent material issues and the size of the points reflects Pipeline’s ability to influence stakeholder outcomes on each issue. We’ve since established KPIs for each of the material issues, which are reported in these web pages.
This process was executed with the guidance of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 Sustainability Report Guidelines, as we have reported on this website on GRI disclosures for all of the identified material issues. Our report was created in accordance with the GRI Core guidelines. Click here to see our GRI Standards Content Index.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs)
The United Nations advocates the application of “principled prioritization” when selecting and reporting on the UN SDGs and targets. Principled prioritization is a process that includes consideration of risks to people and the environment and/or beneficial SDG-related products, services, and investments [Reference]. We have employed this process by conducting a materiality assessment and seeking to understand the SDGs and their targets. Following is a list of SDGs for which we have established KPIs.
To bring all these issues down to earth, our next steps include the establishment of goals of baselines and the development of goals for each KPI. The information and results obtained in 2019 will determine the baseline for each KPI. The United Nations advocates the application of “principled prioritization” when selecting and reporting on the UN SDGs and targets.