Transparency in WWL’s sustainability efforts and performance is essential to promote good relationships with the company’s stakeholders and meet their evolving expectations. To ensure the appropriate focus and relevance of the sustainability work and reporting, WWL has conducted a materiality assessment to identify and prioritise the most material sustainability issues. While financial reporting refers to material information which could influence the economic decisions of users of the financial statements, materiality from a sustainability perspective takes into consideration a much broader stakeholder perspective and examines the aspects through both an internal and external lens. It assesses the potential impact of an aspect on the business and considers the importance of the aspect to stakeholders, in alignment with the GRI definition of materiality in that “materiality is the threshold at which aspects become sufficiently important that they should be reported”.
Materiality in the WWL value chain
The materiality assessment is based on a value chain assessment of WWL group’s operations, mapping out potential sustainability risks and opportunities along the value chain. By taking this approach, the company also includes risks and opportunities that are outside its direct operations but could still have serious impact either up- or downstream.
The importance of risks and opportunities identified throughout the value chain was then evaluated through a stakeholder assessment. This included a literature, media, and market review, the results of which have allowed for prioritisation and establishment of materiality (see materiality matrix below).
The WWL supply chain
WWL ocean transport services involve the operation of deep sea Roll On Roll Off (RoRo) vessels. The vessels are crewed and run by Ship Managers. Fuel for vessels is supplied by bunker agents. The vessels themselves are either owned by the company or chartered in from tonnage providers. Owned vessels are normally built by shipyards in Japan, Korea or China. The company owns a substantial portion of the cargo handling equipment it uses and leases the remainder. Vessels are green recycled at proper facilities, usually in China.
Cargo is loaded and discharged by stevedores, who may or may not be employed by the company. Cargo operations take place at port RoRo terminals, several of which are owned by the company. The vehicle and equipment services provided by WWL at terminals and other inland facilities are fulfilled by a combination of the company’s own employees and contract labour. Energy consumed by facilities is generally provided by the local utility. IT products and services are provided by a variety of vendors to each company in the group.