Materiality: focusing on what matters most

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To improve as an organisation we need to identify, understand and closely manage our performance on the most important topics for our stakeholders, balancing their interest whenever we make decisions.

ING has been regularly conducting a materiality analysis since 2011. This provides insights into trends, business risks and opportunities that influence our ability to create value.

The most recent materiality analysis process and results are disclosed in ING’s 2021 Annual Report and subject to reasonable assurance, the highest level of assurance for non-financial topics.

Overview of material topics and how we manage them

The topics with the highest priority for stakeholders and the biggest estimated impact on our business or on society appear in the visual below. All topics shown in the top right corner of the circle are considered material and high priority.

Our approach and performance on each material topic can be found in ING's 2021 Annual Report. The outcomes of our materiality analysis help us review our management approach and assess where we can improve.

2021 Materiality

Topic definition

Letter Topic name Topic definition
a Customer privacy & information security Protecting customer and confidential information and ensuring information is treated with integrity and is available when needed
b System availability Securing the stability of IT systems and platforms, such as payment services, internet banking, data centres and apps
c Innovation Embedding trends in product development, innovating business models
e Digitalisation & interconnectivity Transforming business activities around digital trends and technologies, such as increased connections with third parties and exposing functionalities via application programming interfaces (APIs)
f Culture, ethics & integrity Conducting business with the highest level of integrity and compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and standards, with the Orange Code and Orange Values as our foundation. ING has a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption and will strive to detect any such in our business dealings.
g Cybercrime resilience Managing threats from cyberattacks or malware and wrongful exploitation of private or official data
h Climate resilience Enacting effective measures to mitigate climate change and help businesses affected by climate change to adapt
i Customer experience Making banking personal, instant, seamless, relevant and accessible to enhance the customer experience
j Financial performance Being a financially healthy and stable company
k Environmental & social risk Applying the ESR framework to ensure that clients reduce their negative social and environmental impact.
l Employee development Education and training to advance employees’ skills and ensure they remain up to date.

How ING approached the materiality analysis in 2021

Every three years we carry out a more extensive materiality analysis to address new trends and changing stakeholder concerns and interests. This review was conducted in 2021 and included a stakeholder dialogue event and interviews with senior management, as well as internal and external surveys. Among the internal and external stakeholder groups we consulted were retail customers, Wholesale Banking clients, investors, NGOs, regulators and employees, including senior managers.

The outcomes of these materiality surveys were complemented by global peer, trend and regulatory analyses, resulting in the material topics we intend to report on for the next two reporting periods, in line with our three-year materiality cycle. These topics are reviewed and approved by the Executive Board.

The results of the 2021 materiality analysis are reflected in our strategic business decisions and highlighted throughout this report. The most prominent themes this year include (but aren’t limited to): climate change (environmental and social due diligence and sustainable finance); ethics and compliance; data privacy and security; diversity, inclusion and equity; and digitalisation.

The process was aligned with the guidelines and standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC).

The process received reasonable assurance from audit firm KPMG.

Materiality process

Our global stakeholders

We serve customers in over 40 countries and have a great number of stakeholders, each with different expectations. We have a proactive stakeholder engagement approach. Read more on our integrated approach to stakeholder engagement.

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