Materiality determination process

In 2019, we reviewed the results of the materiality survey performed in 2018 to determine the topics that matter most to our stakeholders to inform our strategy and reporting. Based on the stakeholder dialogue, each of FMO’s stakeholder account managers has indicated if any shifts in material topics occurred in the past year. These views were then verified by desk research using internal documents and media reports. Our stakeholder dialogue and desk research indicate that the material topics from the 2018 survey are still most relevant to our stakeholders and continue to be material for FMO. No changes have been made to the materiality matrix compared to last year.

Stakeholder survey 2018

In September 2018, a survey was sent to over one hundred individuals, representing eight key internal and external stakeholder groups. For a description of our key stakeholders, please read chapter ‘Our stakeholders and material topics’. Respondents were asked to rank fourteen topics relevant to FMO with respect to the importance stakeholders place on the topics and the degree to which they believe FMO has an impact through these topics. In addition, several of the fourteen main topics were divided into subtopics. Respondents were requested to rank subtopics, only if they had chosen a corresponding main topic, to provide deeper insights on topics relevant to certain stakeholders. Please refer to the list of topics and sub-topics.

We received a total of ninety responses, which cover our stakeholder groups as follows: fifteen clients, four State of The Netherlands, three shareholders, thirty nine employees including management, thirteen investors, six partner DFIs, six NGOs, four knowledge partners, and zero supervisors and regulators. Since we invest in more than eighty countries worldwide, we have not invited local communities and clients of clients for practical reasons.

Topics and subtopics

FMO used the issues raised by stakeholders in previous engagements as a starting point for identifying the material topics. Other commonly applied reporting guidelines (e.g. GRI, IFC performance Standards, and SASB) as well as reporting by peers and other financial institutions were also considered. In total fourteen matters were identified as topics relevant to FMO’s context. We also defined sub-topics for Development impact, Environmental footprint of FMO’s investments, Human rights, Client satisfaction and Employee engagement at FMO. Please refer to the list of topics and sub-topics.

GRI Dimensions

GRI defines material topics as those aspects that reflect the organization’s significant economic, environmental and social impacts or that substantively influence the assessments and decisions of stakeholders. Results of the survey are plotted on a matrix along two dimensions in accordance with the GRI standards:

  1. The substantive influence on the assessments and decisions of stakeholders (importance to stakeholders, plotted on the vertical axis); and

  2. Significance of impact on society, environment and the economy (plotted on the horizontal axis).


The results have been clustered in two quadrants:

  1. Important and impactful topics (bottom-left corner), which are relevant to our stakeholders and FMO but not considered most important and impactful;

  2. Highly important and very impactful topics (top-right corner), are those which our stakeholders consider most important and through which they believe FMO can have most impact. Seven topics were found in this threshold.

Calculation method

The survey results determine the position of topics along two dimensions: the importance to stakeholders (plotted on the Y-axis) and the significance of impact on society, environment and the economy (plotted on the X-axis). The scoring matrix looks at each axis separately, balancing the number of responses received for most against least important / significant impact. This yields a net result and (X, Y) scatterplot for each of the 14 main topics. Stakeholder responses are weighted by level of engagement and number of respondents per stakeholder group. FMO engages with many different stakeholder groups but engages most with those that have a high interest in and high influence on our business. These 'Dialogue' stakeholders are weighted higher (2x) than those categorized as 'Keep satisfied' or 'Keep informed'. A representative sample has been selected for each stakeholder group. As a result, some will include more respondents than others. To treat each stakeholder group equally - after applying the weights as explained above - results are normalized by taking the total number of respondents per stakeholder group and dividing it by the number of times a topic is chosen by that particular stakeholder group.

The results included in the matrix represent the aggregate scores for all stakeholder groups. As such it might be that specific topics score as important and impactful in our matrix, whereas for individual stakeholder groups or FMO the topic is highly important and very impactful. Examples include Client satisfaction and Employee engagement. We consider both topics as key to our mission and strategy, and as such continue to monitor and report on both.