Idenitifed Material Aspects and Boundaries

G4-17    List of entities included in the organization’s consolidated financial systems or equivalent documents; reports of any entity included in the organization’s consolidated financial systems or equivalent documents is not covered by the report.

Our organizational structure is described in detail on the Sherwin-Williams website and in our Annual Reports.

G4-18 Process for defining the report content and the Aspect Boundaries


Sherwin-Williams has a long tradition and excellent reputation as a global leader in quality coatings, outstanding customer service, continuous financial growth, and most importantly, integrity.  Learn more about how our culture of excellence is shaped by our Sherwin-Williams Guiding Values.

In 2008, as part of our commitment to continuous improvement, Sherwin-Williams formally kicked off our internal sustainability program. called EcoVision™.  The following key principles make up the foundation of the company-wide program: 
  • We consider the environmental impact of our actions, and we promote the conservation of natural resources.
  • We develop new products and processes that are innovative and help lessen the environmental impact throughout the life cycle of their use.
  • We measure progress and hold ourselves accountable for making continuous improvement sustainable, reporting progress and making accurate product claims.
  • We respect the customs, cultures and social needs in all the communities where we conduct business.
  • We expect every employee to help us reduce our impact on the environment.
Improvements in sustainability programs, tracking of metrics and reporting have continued. In 2010, as part of continuous improvement efforts, Sherwin-Williams issued its first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report. 
The 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Report and associated GRI based report contains standard disclosures from the GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines G-4. 
Materiality Determination

To continue to drive improvement and ensure that our efforts are addressing the most important issues and concerns of our stakeholders and our company, we conducted a formal Materiality Determination Process. A cross-functional team was assembled to review our current reporting efforts and to formally evaluate the company and stakeholder concerns. Sherwin-Williams employees who interact frequently with the stakeholder groups were asked to participate in the evaluation process as a proxy to the stakeholders with whom they interact.  The first formal materiality evaluation process was conducted in 2013. In subsequent years, the material issues were reviewed and updated as necessary. A complete review and reevaluation was initiated in 2016 and finalized in 2017. The process consisted of the following tasks:
  • Identification and Grouping of Issues

    • A universe of relevant economic, social, environmental, and policy/governance issues were identified by a cross-functional team of Sherwin-Williams employees for consideration. The initial list was subsequently modified and updated to incorporate more topics identified by GRI.
  • Identification of Stakeholders

    • The cross-functional team identified a list of stakeholders who would most likely have concerns over the issues at Sherwin-Williams.
  • Ranking and Prioritization of Issues

    • Each issue was evaluated and scored to determine the impact or potential impact on Sherwin-Williams and the likely concern of stakeholders.  Respondents were instructed to evaluate the impacts on Sherwin-Williams based on the following criteria:
      • Direct short-term financial impacts
      • Policy-based performance, focusing on core policies
      • Business peer-based norms
  • Stakeholder concerns were evaluated using the following criteria:
    • Stakeholder behavior and concerns in terms of reasonable evidence of likely impact on their own decisions and behavior
    • Societal norms considering both a regulatory and non-regulatory point of view
The scores were used to identify issues that have the highest impact on Sherwin-Williams and are of the highest concern to our stakeholders.  

G4-19 List of all material Aspects identified in the process for defining report content.

The results of the materiality determination process are presented on page 5 of the Corporate Social Responsibility Report .

G4-20 Aspect Boundary for each Aspect within the organization.

This report covers Sherwin-Williams majority-owned facilities and operations.

G4-21 Aspect Boundary for each Aspect outside of the organization.

The data included in this report were readily available at the time of preparation. Future reports may contain data for a broader set of indicators.

No joint ventures, subsidiaries, leased facilities, outsourced operations or other non-majority-owned enterprises are included in this overview.

G4-22 Effect of any restatements of information provided in previous reports, and the reasons for such restatements.

To the best of our knowledge, the information in this report is current to historical information that may be included in previous versions of this report or other public reports.

G4-23 Significant changes from previous reporting periods in the Scope and Aspect Boundaries.

Stakeholder Engagement

G4-24 List of stakeholder groups engaged by the organization

  • Charities and human services organizations
  • Customers
  • Employees (future and current)
  • Government agencies
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Operating communities
  • Shareholders
  • Suppliers
  • Trade and labor unions

G4-25 Basis for identification and selection of stakeholders with whom to engage.

Sherwin-Williams has been successfully engaging its stakeholders since its inception in 1866.  The underlying basis is firmly grounded in our seven Guiding Values: Integrity, People, Service, Quality, Performance, Innovation and Growth.  Our list of stakeholder groups was formally documented during the Materiality Determination Process, however, interactions with these groups has been ongoing throughout the history of Sherwin-Williams.

G4-26 Approaches to stakeholder engagement, including frequency of engagement by type and by stakeholder group.

Stakeholder engagement is a continuous on-going process.  Below is a summary outlining some methods of Sherwin-Williams stakeholder engagement.
Stakeholders Engagement Method
Charities / Human Services Organizations Sherwin-Williams Foundation
Matching Gift Program
Caring for Our Communities programs
Community development/enrichment
Youth development
Health and Human Services
Program sponsorships
Encouragement of employee participation
Partnerships with local schools, colleges and universities Research funding
Curriculum development
Trade skill training
Full and part-time internships
Support for volunteer programs
Customers Dedicated trained staff available to help
Technical support
Trade shows Training
Response to questions
Service performance
Quality assurance
24 hour emergency hotline
Electronic data interchange ordering
Safety, environmental and product data sheets
Life cycle assessments
Environmental Product Declaration
Ask Sherwin-Williams
Tips and 'how to' assistance
Product Lens Assessment
Employees (Future and Current) Training Benefits
Career advancement opportunities
Internal communications and postings
Wellness programs
Occupational, Health and Safety programs
News publications
Ethics hotline
Quality systems
Performance review
Equal opportunity
Collective bargaining
Recognition awards
Professional development
Government Agencies Reporting
Site tours
Regulatory input
Response to requests for information
Non-governmental organizations Response to requests for information
Operating Communities Charitable giving programs
Community committees
Employment opportunities
Community development
Emergency preparedness
Share holders Quarterly earnings reports Annual reports
SEC filings
Press releases Executive presentations
Annual shareholder meeting
More information:
Suppliers Material orders
Invoicing and bill payment
Site tours
Response to requests for information
Life cycle assessments
Trade/Labor Unions Committee participation
Contract negotiations Employment
Response to requests for information

G4-27 Key topics and concerns that have been raised through stakeholder engagement, and how the organization has responded to those key topics and concerns, including through its reporting.

Sherwin-Williams engages with a number of external stakeholders and is a leader in regards to its public product-level sustainability declarations.  Sherwin-Williams currently serves on committees and/or in advisory roles, with groups such as the United States Green Building Council, Health Product Declaration Collaborative, International Living Future Institute, Sustainable Minds, American Center for Life Cycle Assessment, American Coatings Association, Roof Coating Manufacturer's Coatings Association, and on number of University projects in regards to sustainability at both the product and corporate levels.  One of the main topics to come out of discussions with these groups has been the demand for increased product transparency in regards to environmental and toxicological impacts.
In 2013, Sherwin-Williams began conducting Life-Cycle Assessments (LCAs) in order to determine the cradle-to-grave environmental impacts of coating products.  Sherwin-Williams works with various coating trade associations and within the industry to create Product Category Rules (PCRs) to ensure that industry LCAs are performed consistently and credibly.  Having a formal PCR has also allowed for the creation of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), which are eligible for credit under LEED v4.  The introduction of LCAs and EPDs allows Sherwin-Williams to better understand the environmental profile of coatings and how to most effectively optimize them, while also being transparent about the environmental assessment process.
Sherwin-Williams was the first coating company in the United States to publish a formal Environmental Product Declaration and to conduct a Product Lens Assessment on a product's holistic hazard profile.  These types of assessments are publicly available and are third-party validated to ensure credibility.  Currently, Sherwin-Williams has published EPDs for 11 product families representing almost 10% of the company’s annual sales.  Sherwin-Williams is also  in the process of publishing additional Product Lens Assessments due out in late 2017 and strives to be a leader in regards to product stewardship.