Understanding Our Material Issues
H.J. Heinz Company conducted a materiality analysis as part of the development of this report and in conjunction with our ongoing global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategic planning efforts. Materiality analysis allows us to take a close and considered look at the CSR issues that are of the highest concern to our stakeholders and that could significantly affect our Company’s ability to execute its business strategy. In effect, the materiality analysis highlights areas both of opportunity and risk to help us refine our overall strategic reporting approach and improve performance.
What is a material issue?
We define material CSR issues as those that would likely have a significant impact on Heinz and are relevant to our key stakeholders.
In conducting the analysis, we began with a comprehensive evaluation of stakeholder concerns. We reviewed both direct stakeholder input (as gathered through a focus group) as well as indirect source materials, including ratings and rankings surveys, investor questionnaires, peer reports, customer requirements, and trade association position statements, among others.
We also conducted an internal survey to determine company perceptions regarding the potential impact and importance of each issue included in the analysis. Issues were assessed and ranked according to several criteria, including, for example, potential impact on revenue, brand and reputation, employee engagement and our ability to deliver our products to customers.
The resulting materiality matrix combines both stakeholder rankings and Company perceptions and depicts the relative reporting priority of our CSR issues (high priority issues are located in the upper right-hand corner of the matrix).
We have structured this report to provide enhanced information and deeper discussion of issues ranked as high priorities for our Company and our stakeholders. We expect to refine the materiality analysis in future years and welcome feedback from all stakeholders regarding the results of the analysis.
Use of the analysis
We have used this analysis to identify issues to cover in our Report. This analysis and the methods for conducting materiality analyses generally are works in progress and do not specifically reflect the views of Heinz management. In fact, Heinz is passionate about addressing all of the issues submitted to the materiality analysis. Sustainability issues are not discrete. Rather, they overlap and interconnect in a complex system that is difficult to capture in a list of issues. Analyzing issues by stakeholder group adds depth to our understanding of who is concerned about which issues and why, but in the process of placing them on a two-dimensional matrix, some of that nuance is lost. Finally, an element of subjectivity is inevitable.
Maintaining stringent policies and practices for the safe manufacture of all our products.
Understanding and addressing (to the extent of our influence) the environmental impacts of agricultural practices, such as sustainable land-use management, pesticide application and biodiversity preservation.
Reducing our GHG emissions through mitigation efforts, including reducing our operational footprint, increasing efficiency and adopting green practices.
Ensuring that we are providing customers with healthful products, including ones that are low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt, no trans-fat, etc.
Reducing packaging materials and developing more environmentally friendly packaging alternatives to lessen package weight and reduce raw material consumption.
Continuing to create new and innovative products to better serve our customers across all our global regions.