The leading data storage, security and analytics company EMC has a longstanding sustainability program. Over the years, it has carried out many materiality assessments and sustainability initiatives. However, it is now seeking a different materiality approach, designed to be directly integrated with its core business strategy and enterprise risk analyses.
We conducted intensive desk research, internal executive and external stakeholder interviews, business model mapping and issues analysis along EMC’s entire value chain to identify and assess EMC’s most significant risks and opportunities. We collaborated with EMC’s sustainability team to iterate the value chain analysis to ensure a rigorous output that met its needs.
Our project outputs also helped the company be more transparent about how sustainability issues impact the business and how EMC is addressing them
We recognized that the technology sector is currently facing many challenges and exciting opportunities, ranging from shifting to the cloud to ensuring workforce diversity to enabling innovations that benefit society. EMC, as a historic company amidst an evolving business landscape of startups and disruption, must rapidly innovate and adapt in order to be successful in the future. Additionally, the interconnected nature of sustainability issues across the technology sector – and its potential impact on or from EMC — requires careful attention at different stages in the company’s value chain.
We organized EMC’s most material issues into the company’s key value drivers thereby helping the sustainability team frame them in the context of the wider business. This enabled the team to better engage with their colleagues in other departments and to define a more focused sustainability strategy.
Our project outputs also helped the company be more transparent about how sustainability issues impact the business and how EMC is addressing them. Our recommended structure of the material issues and value drivers greatly influenced the organization of EMC’s 2015 Sustainability Report. Participants in EMC’s annual external stakeholder forum praised both the process and the results as rigorous, logical and clear explanations of the company’s approach to sustainability.