Material Topics

CSL’s Global CR Steering Committee has overall responsibility for the materiality process. In conducting our second global materiality assessment in 2015/16, we followed the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) principles of sustainability context, materiality, completeness and stakeholder inclusiveness through our process of identification, review and prioritisation. As CSL completed the materiality process prior to the acquisition of the Novartis influenza vaccine (NIV-IS) business in late 2015, aspects related to this entity were not included in our materiality process.

The first stage of the materiality process was to identify material aspects, and included the consideration of key stakeholder perspectives across each component of the value chain. The process involved developing a universal list of material aspects based on an evidence-based approach and considering a number of factors relevant to our organisation, e.g. existing and emerging global trends, alignment with CSL’s risk register, GRI sector supplements, regulatory and legislative changes, geographical considerations, investor focus areas and media responses to CSL’s strategic priorities. Material issues were prioritised by rating their importance by considering perspectives of stakeholders and reviewing the potential impact to the business. During the year, the CR Committee identified and endorsed a target list of internal representatives from across the organisation, representing heads of function, members of the executive leadership group, and general managers and site heads across our operations to prioritise material issues. The diversity of respondents at both a functional and geographic perspective ensured a broad set of views and perspectives. Material topics were validated and then plotted on the following matrix.

The rating process resulted in 10 GRI G4 aspects that exceeded the threshold for importance from both a business and stakeholder perspective and therefore have been included for reporting by CSL. Additionally, we took an inclusive view of stakeholder perceptions and expectations regarding brand value and reputation resulting in an additional five aspects that exceeded the threshold for stakeholder importance and also included these as reportable material aspects.

We have linked our top 15 material sustainability aspects to the relevant GRI aspects and mapped their boundaries along our value chain (see following). Each of these issues brings challenges and opportunities, explored in more detail throughout our website and reporting.


Material Aspects Chart
AspectKey stakeholders impactedValue chain boundaryRelevant section in 2017 report PDF
Product safety and quality
Includes product stewardship and adhering to internal standards and frameworks, regulatory standards in all jurisdictions and strategic objectives. Patients are increasingly demanding transparent and timely management of all product-related issues that impact patient safety.
GRI G4 aspect: Customer health & safety
Patients and patient groups;
Customers; Regulatory agencies;
Employees; Healthcare professionals
Product Development to Sales & MarketingProduct safety and quality
Conduct of clinical trials
Includes code of ethics and management processes governing clinical trials to ensure safety and quality of participants during clinical trials. Clinical trials management relates to the process for obtaining consent, incentives offered to participants, transparency and availability of clinical data and compliance with regulations and clinical practice standards.
GRI G4 aspect: Customer health & safety
Patients and patient groups; Regulatory agencies; Healthcare professionalsProduct Development & Clinical TrialsInnovation
Ethical marketing
Includes compliance with the code of ethics governing interactions with health professionals, including mechanisms to enhance transparency, minimise risks and ensure compliance with regulations. Stakeholder expectations require corporate disclosure of legal and regulatory fines paid by the organisation.
GRI G4 aspect: Marketing communications
Patients and patient groups; Regulatory agencies; Healthcare professionals; Industry associationsSales & MarketingMarketplace
Plasma donations and donors
Includes compliance with regulations, the codes of ethics and standards governing plasma donations. This relates to the process for determining the eligibility of donors and remuneration limits and donor safety post donation.
No specific GRI G4 aspect
Regulatory agencies; Plasma donorsSourcingProduct safety and quality
Bribery and corruption
This aspect relates to ensuring transparent and ethical business practices across all interactions with healthcare professionals and government officials. There is an increasing requirement to disclose the mechanisms applied by the organisation in ensuring employee compliance, especially in countries where corruption is deemed a high risk.
GRI G4 aspect: Anti-corruption
Investors/shareholders/debt providers; Customers; Regulatory agenciesAcross the value chainMarketplace
Innovation process
Includes development of innovative products and services that not only meet an applicable code of ethics whilst meeting changing customer requirements, but also create a competitive advantage.
No specific GRI G4 aspect
Research partners; Patients and patient groups; Healthcare professionalsEarly Stage Research & Collaboration to Product Development & Clinical TrialsInnovation
Innovation management
Includes monitoring and reporting on initiatives that support collaboration with medical research institutes and research partners to advance scientific knowledge and innovation, e.g. mechanisms in place to effectively manage the innovation process, tracking R&D spending and the number of new launches.
No specific GRI G4 aspect
Research partners; Investors/ shareholders/debt providersEarly Stage Research & Collaboration to Product Development & Clinical TrialsInnovation
Anti-competitive behaviour
Includes policies and strategies to minimise risks associated with legal actions from anticompetitive behaviour, anti-trust, overpricing practices and related outcomes in a highly competitive pharmaceutical industry.
GRI G4 aspect: Anti-competitive behaviour
Investors/shareholders/debt providers; Customers; Regulatory agenciesSourcing to Sales & MarketingMarketplace
Sole supplier of critical medical products
Includes the availability of medicinal product/s where an (in-market) alternative is not readily available.
GRI G4 aspect: Procurement practices
Patients and patient groups; Customers; Healthcare professionalsSourcing to Sales & MarketingProduct safety and quality
Human rights
Includes responding to human rights concerns by engaging in fair and ethical labour practices across all operations and geographies including sub-contractors and joint ventures. The aspect relates to ensuring freedom of association and collective bargaining, preserving indigenous rights, promoting non-discrimination practices, and fighting against child labour and forced or compulsory labour in developing countries.
GRI G4 aspect: Human rights
Employees; Business partners; Local communities and NGOsSourcing and across Human CapitalOur organisation 

Product safety and quality
Data protection and privacy
Relates to management systems in place to ensure protection of data and privacy across all business uses and areas.
GRI G4 aspect: Customer privacy
Patients and patient groups; Customers; Regulatory agencies; Employees; Healthcare professionals; Plasma donors; Research partners; Business partnersAcross the entire value chainMarketplace
Access to healthcare – fair pricing and affordability
Includes the strategy and initiatives to promote access to health care products in low-tomiddle- income countries through fair pricing and affordability approaches. Limiting the negative impact of cost containment for patients and other key stakeholders, for example: access to therapies; undue cost-sharing burdens on patients; and adequate payment policies for providers to care for patients and for recognition of the special needs of rare disease patients.
No specific GRI G4 aspect
Patients and patient groups; Customers; Employees; Local communities and NGOsSales & MarketingMarketplace
Transparency of interactions with government
Relates to the contribution to the sector with respect to developing/reforming and influencing regulatory and policy decisions in an ethical and transparent manner and includes the organisation’s approach to managing political contributions.
GRI G4 aspect: Public policy
Customers; Regulatory agenciesAcross the value chainMarketplace
Targeted community support, including full cycle of patient care
Includes supporting and partnering with relevant organisations that identify and manage community matters whilst generating advocacy. The aspect also encompasses the adoption of guiding principles and standards for interacting with relevant community groups along with initiatives that improve patient diagnosis, promote education on diseases, treatment options, safety concerns and correct product use.
GRI G4 aspect: Local communitiesy
Patients and patient groups; Local communities and NGOsAcross the value chainCommunity
Counterfeit medicines
Includes technologies and methods used to maintain traceability of products throughout the supply chain to prevent counterfeiting. The process relates to alerting end customers and business partners of potential or known significant health and safety risks to consumers associated with counterfeit products.
No specific GRI G4 aspect
Patients and patient groups; Customers; Regulatory agencies; Healthcare professionalsSourcing to Sales & MarketingProduct safety and quality