DSM Integrated Annual Report 2020


In order to assess material topics that are both of interest to society and have impact on our businesses, we annually update our materiality analysis. In 2020, we conducted a light materiality analysis compared to the full analysis for Materiality Matrix 2019.

Our update in 2020 used the Materiality Matrix 2019 as its point of departure. An initial analysis was conducted through desk research into peers and other institutions to validate the topics from 2019 and to identify any potential new material topics. Direct feedback on the proposed topics was obtained through an employee workshop and a stakeholder dialogue. The results were reviewed and validated by the Executive Committee. The resulting matrix was compared with the Corporate Risk Assessment to make sure all relevant topics were captured from a materiality and/or risk perspective. Finally, the matrix was reviewed and approved by the Managing Board.

Changes in 2020

Two new topics emerged as warranting their own place in the Materiality Matrix: ‘Cybersecurity’ and ‘Consumer behavior & activism’. The topic ‘Biodiversity’ has been renamed ‘Nature & biodiversity’. No topics have been deleted. The impact of COVID-19 on the Materiality Matrix was discussed extensively. The impact was seen across several of the material topics however, COVID-19 or Pandemics have not been included as a separate topic. This was consistent with the outcome of the Corporate Risk Assessment.

For more information on materiality, see Management approach for material topics.

Materiality matrix 2020



Business and Governance

Business impact
  • Moderate
  • Significant
  • Major
Societal interest
  • Low
  • High

This topic refers to the company’s technology capabilities and research & development investments to develop innovative, sustainable solutions.

Climate & Energy

This topic addresses our own climate impacts in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as developing and providing sustainable solutions that help others avoid emissions.

Advocacy, engagement & partnering

Engagement with our stakeholders is essential. Through these engagements, we share insights on relevant issues that arise from, and impact on, our business activities.

Geopolitical shifts & (trade) dynamics

This topic refers to geopolitical shifts and dynamics such as political tensions and inequalities. It also includes the impact of trade policies and barriers.

Business ethics & transparency

This topic addresses the company’s approach to and public disclosure on ethical and fair business conduct, corporate governance and compliance.

Leadership and development

This topic refers to the continuous development of employees’ skills through training and development programs, and the company’s ability to generate commitment among employees to the organization and its goals.

Labor practices & human rights

This topic encompasses decent working conditions for DSM employees, suppliers and other partners across the value chain.

Nutrition & Health

This topic refers to the transition to sustainable food systems within planetary boundaries that is needed to secure the future availability of food.

Resources & Circularity

Resources & Circularity refer to reducing the demand of sourcing from finite resources, and carefully managing the use of renewable natural resources in order to minimize stress on the environment.

Occupational health & safety

Occupational health & safety addresses the company’s ability to create and maintain a safe and healthy workplace environment that is free of injuries, fatalities, and illness (both chronic and acute).

Consumer behavior & activism

Addressing changes in consumer behavior and awareness by manufacturing products that consider future needs of society and the environment.

Product stewardship

Product stewardship addresses the incorporation of sustainability factors in characteristics of products provided by the company.

Digital transformation

Digital transformation refers to the application of digital technologies to all aspects of business and society.

Internationalization & diversity

This topic revolves around equal opportunities, in particular ensuring that our company culture and hiring and promotion practices embrace the building of a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the makeup of local talent pools and its customer base.

Water security

Water is essential to life and all ecosystems. As water is becoming a scarcer resource, both the quality and quantity of available water constitute a global issue that has local consequences that may extend from water scarcity to floods and storms.

Nature & biodiversity

Nature & biodiversity refers to the protection of natural capital and ecosystems, including the variety and variability of life on earth and addressing issues such as land degradation, nature loss and ocean pollution.


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