The results of our materiality assessment inform our sustainability approach, strategic priorities and reporting. QBE undertakes a full materiality assessment every two years, with a desktop review in interim years. In 2023, we refreshed our material topics to better reflect the current reporting landscape and frameworks, and to prepare for emerging reporting requirements.

Aligned to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, our materiality assessment considers our economic, environmental and social impacts across the value chain (including positive, negative, actual and potential) on stakeholders, society at large and on our business.

2023 Materiality Assessment

In 2023, we refreshed our materiality topics and reduced them from 38 to 20. The top 2 material topics relate to climate and natural disasters, with the third topic of responsible technology and data, as exposures to risks and opportunities associated with AI increase alongside complex and sophisticated threats such as cyberattacks. The refreshed materiality matrix is below:

QBE materiality matrix  

The following provides an overview of the key aspects of the full materiality assessment methodology carried out in 2023:

In 2023, we refreshed our list of sustainability impact areas, drawing on a range of sustainability standards, such as the UNEP FI Impact Radar, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the UN Principles for Sustainable Insurance (UN PSI), the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in addition to QBE's 2023 ESG Horizon Scan and Premiums4Good impact areas. We then compared the final list of 20 impact areas against QBE's 2022 impact areas, to ensure continuity and supporting justification for a change, addition, or consolidation from the prior years. 

We performed a business impact assessment on the 20 impact areas, using our Incident and Issue Management standards to assess the:

  • Scale of impact on QBE (Financial, Reputational, People, Regulatory, Business Disruption);
  • Scope of QBE's impact;
  • Management difficulty to realise opportunities/mitigate risks; and 
  • Timing of when impacts become material.

The topics were also tested with internal subject matter experts (SMEs) for their input on the appropriateness of the topics and their definitions. 


We surveyed a wide range of internal and external stakeholders to assess the severity of the impact areas to QBE’s operations.  More than 1700 employees participated in the online survey, a response rate of approximately 13.5%.   

External stakeholders included investors, brokers, suppliers, partners, Premiums4Good customers, NGOs, government and other stakeholders. Over 70 external stakeholders provided feedback on the impacts of the list of sustainability topics.

Through a structured online survey, we asked respondents to rank the 20 impact areas through two separate lenses:

  • ‘How important do you think the following impact areas are for QBE to achieve its purpose and strategy?’ (i.e., (financial) impact on QBE).
  • ‘Where could QBE have the most impact on society?’ (i.e., impact through QBE).

We conducted supplementary interviews with executives to enrich the survey results. The interviews explored the reasoning for the respondents' ranking choices, opportunities and risks for these areas, and improvements. 


We combined the results from the external and internal surveys and calibrated with the outputs of the business impact assessment. 

The results are reflected in the updated materiality matrix. Each topic is positioned on our revised matrix with the ‘Impact on QBE’ score against the x-axis, and the ‘Impact through QBE’ score mapped against the y-axis. The clusters of topics are consistent with the three different stages of relevance and maturity:

Priority – Topics of high importance to our stakeholders, with a significant impact on the environment, economy and society. These require significant management and strategic focus.

Ongoing and emerging importance – Topics of strategic significance for which we have well-established management processes, or where topics have increased in importance since the last reporting period Stakeholder interest in these topics may vary.

Monitor– Topics of relevance to our stakeholders. Several of these topics will benefit from activities related to the Priority and Ongoing Importance topics.  While not primary priorities, they are monitored for issues and opportunities that may elevate their materiality 

On completion of the revised materiality matrix, as part of validation process, we held discussions with the executive management. During discussions they were asked to rate the five most important impact areas which QBE should focus on keeping in mind both impacts on QBE and through QBE’s business. 

The final matrix was  approved by the Group Executive Committee and the Group Board. 


Impact area 2022

Impact area 2023


Biodiversity & ecosystems

Climate risks and opportunities

Climate change transition & emissions reduction

Operational environmental management

Not considered in 2022.

Waste management

Not considered in 2022.

Animal welfare

Not considered in 2022.

Indigenous rights & culture

Financial inclusion

Equity, poverty & financial Inclusion

Financial crime

Political & economic stability


Organisational culture & inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion

Trust & transparency

Accountable & transparent business

Sustainability & business strategy alignment

Corporate governance & compliance

COVID-19 business impact

ESG risk management

Performance & reward

Thriving workforce

Learning & development

Employee engagement

Employee relations

Workplace adaptation

Leadership & talent

Health, safety & wellbeing

Public Policy & advocacy

Sustainable & responsible policies, positions & advocacy

Regulatory management

Responsible underwriting

Sustainable procurement

Responsible investments

Impact investment

Community engagement & collaboration

Community investment

Customer conduct

Responsible products & services

Customer-centric solutions

Sustainable solutions

Customer service & satisfaction

Not considered in 2022.

Fundamental labour standards

Affordability & accessibility

Fundamental living standards

Affordability & accessibility

Housing access & affordability

Human rights & modern slavery

Human rights & forced migration

Human rights & modern slavery

Modern slavery

Community resilience & disaster support

Natural disaster resilience

Not considered in 2022.

Infrastructure & public services

Data & analytics

Responsible technology & data