Updated on August 29, 2019

Specifying Material Topics

Overview and Purpose of Materiality Analysis

The Sony Group is a global organization with a broad range of businesses around the world—electronic equipment, devices, game consoles, digital networks, motion pictures, music, and financial and insurance services. Sony recognizes that stakeholders expect Sony to maintain a well-defined stance and take action to address the issues facing society and the global environment, in addition to delivering emotional experiences through its business.

Therefore, in 2019, Sony reviewed its “CSR material topics,” conducting an analysis incorporating the perspectives of stakeholders. The aim was to identify topics that are material to Sony’s efforts to create long-term value through its businesses. The process for materiality analysis consisted of (1) identifying and classifying candidate topics, (2) assessing the topics from the perspective of Sony and its stakeholders, and (3) specifying material topics.

Step 1: Identify and classify candidate topics

Based on internal and external information and documents, Sony selected candidate topics with high relevance. References included the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, which are global guidelines for sustainability reporting, the ISO 26000 international standard for corporate social responsibility, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are globally agreed goals for building a sustainable world.

Step 2: Assess the topics from the perspective of Sony and its stakeholders

The candidate topics identified and classified in the Step 1 were assessed from the perspectives of Sony and its stakeholders with reference to following:

  • Assessment by executive officers responsible for each topic from the viewpoints of mid-to-long-term social and technological changes, and the need to further enhance measures to achieve Sony’s ideal state
  • Assessment of the importance of each topic from the perspective of stakeholders based on information published by NGOs, investors, ESG rating agencies, the mass media and others
  • Assessment from the perspective of stakeholders through an exchange of views with investors and external CSR experts

Step 3: Specify material topics

Based on the assessment conducted in Step 2, the material topics were specified with the final approval of senior management.

Materiality Analysis Results

As a result of the multi-faceted assessment process above, “Technology” and “Employees,” which are the common elements underlying Sony's diverse business portfolio, were specified as the most important material topics for supporting Sony's long-term value creation.

The Sustainability Report 2019 reports on Sony’s material topics within nine categories — Corporate Governance, Ethics and Compliance, Respect for Human Rights, Technology, Employees, Responsible Supply Chain, Quality and Services, Environment, and Community Engagement — as shown in the table below.
Going forward, Sony will strengthen its efforts to address these material topics in order to create long-term value.

Material Topics of the Sony Group
Materiality analysis result Material topics Sustainability Report coverage
Most important Technology Technology
Employees Employees
Important Corporate governance Corporate Governance
Risk management
Information security
Tax strategy
Ethics and compliance Ethics and Compliance
Respect for human rights Respect for Human Rights
Responsible supply chain Responsible Supply Chain
Product quality Quality and Services
Accessibility and usability
Customer service
Resource conservation Environment
Climate change
Chemical substances
Social contribution initiatives Community Engagement

Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. They were formulated based on the outcome of the Millennium Development Goals, which, being established in 2000 with the intention of realizing a better international community, had a target year of 2015. The SDGs are comprised of 169 targets organized under 17 goals related to issues such as poverty, inequality, education, and the environment. The initiative is not only intended for developing nations, but applies to all countries, including advanced countries.

The purpose of the entire Sony Group is to "fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology."
The essence of Sony’s responsibility to society is to strive for innovation through products, services and content that deliver emotional experiences to customers, while conducting business in a sound manner. At the same time, based on an awareness that Sony’s business is only possible in a global environment and a society where people can live in peace and security, Sony conducts ongoing environmental and human rights initiatives throughout the supply chain. Accordingly, Sony believes that its diverse business portfolio, including education, healthcare and startup support, is very relevant to the 17 SDGs, and Sony will help to achieve the SDGs in the course of its business activities.

Sony also conducts ongoing assessments of the various impacts and risks that its business activities have on the global environment and society, and manages them while carrying out appropriate disclosure of information. In addition, Sony aims to contribute to the SDGs through its technologies, products, services and content, as well as various partnerships.

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