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Each year, ERM conducts a formal materiality assessment in accordance with the GRI. We use the results to identify and prioritize our most significant sustainability topics, set key performance indicators and targets for improvement, and guide the content for our Sustainability Report.

During years two and three, we perform a streamlined review to confirm that our material topics continue to be appropriate for our company – and make adjustments as needed.

FY21 was year two in this three-year cycle. However, given the historic changes occurring this year with a global pandemic, shutdowns and subsequent impacts on the economy and the well-being of our employees, followed by heightened awareness of racial and ethnic injustice as exemplified by the Black Lives Matter movement in the US and around the world, we undertook a deeper look to determine the material topics for our company and this report:

  • We drew on a range of inputs to develop a view on what matters to our internal and external stakeholders, including interviews with senior management, Partners and employees.
  • We utilized Datamaran Materiality, an automated analysis of stakeholder views powered by artificial intelligence technology. This provided a wider perspective on environmental, social and governance issues relevant to our business. We tailor the Datamaran analysis for our geographic reach, benchmarked companies, and topics relevant to our clients, operations and collaborations with others. Experienced ERM "super users" input information and accessed results from the system to maintain quality control.
  • We expanded our understanding of ERM’s sustainability context through our involvement in various global organizations, including the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
  • We considered the implications of drivers affecting society and our clients as well as the Sustainable Development Goals. Senior management reviewed the company’s key business issues.
  • We reviewed our matrix of key issues. Internal sustainability experts and business leaders applied the Content Principles and assessed the potential environmental, social and economic impacts – beyond the impacts on our business.

We convened a panel of external stakeholders to provide independent feedback on our materiality assessment process and draft Sustainability Report, as part of our expanded external assurance.

The Executive Committee Sustainability Workgroup worked closely with our internal sustainability experts on the materiality assessment. Our full Executive Committee reviewed the results of our materiality assessment, and the CEO provided these to our Board of Directors.

  • We reviewed the GRI Aspects and, where relevant, assigned indicators, which are outlined in our GRI Index.
  • In order to drive performance improvement, we established key performance indicators and targets directly related to our material issues. We report on our performance against our annual targets and long-term goals in our annual Sustainability Report.


  • Reasonably estimable economic, environmental, and social impacts;
  • The interests and expectations of internal stakeholders;
  • Broader economic, social, and environmental interests and topics raised by our external stakeholders;
  • The main topics and future challenges for our sector, as identified by peers and competitors;
  • Laws, regulations, international agreements, and voluntary agreements of strategic significance to our organization and our stakeholders;
  • Key organizational values, policies, strategies, operational management systems, goals and targets;
  • ERM’s core competencies and the manner in which they can contribute to sustainable development; and
  • Consequences for ERM that are related to our impacts on the economy, the environment, and society. For each of the material topics, ERM defined the boundary of impact, and its relationship to the GRI Standards and ERM’s strategic business drivers (see below).



Our material assessment confirmed that our six material topics continue to be the most important for our sustainability as a company. Each year following our assessment, we set targets specifically to address each of our material topics. For FY22, we are placing greater emphasis with respect to:

  • Employee well-being;
  • Race, ethnicity and other measures of diversity, equity, equality and inclusion;
  • Our own transition to a low carbon economy; and
  • Client satisfaction.

This increased emphasis is reflected in our FY22 targets. We also identified the boundaries of our material topics and mapped them to the GRI sub-topics and ERM's strategic drivers and values, as summarized in the table below.

Material topics


GRI sub-topics

Strategic drivers & ERM values

  • Business conduct & ethics
  • Internal operations and external (e.g., supply chain & clients)
  • Anti-corruption, non-discrimination
  • Management excellence
  • Human rights
  • Accountability
  • Transparency
  • Our people
  • Internal operations and external (e.g., meeting client needs & reflecting local communities)
  • Diversity and equal opportunity
  • Training and development
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Attracting and retaining staff
  • Learning and development
  • Caring for people
  • Empowerment
  • Health, safety & well-being 
  • Internal operations and external (e.g., travel & working at client sites)
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Duty of care
  • Employee well-being
  • Climate-related risk
  • Internal operations and external (e.g., working with clients & collaborating with others)
  • Emissions, energy use
  • Leadership position in the transition to low carbon future
  • Client satisfaction
  • External (e.g., working with clients)
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Client focus
  • Contributing to society & local communities
  • Internal and external (e.g., programs & initiatives with the ERM Foundation and other organizations)
  • Local communities
  • Demonstrating investment in society and local communities
  • Human rights
  • Collaboration