The APS principles are based on the premise that an accountable organisation will take action to:

  • Establish a strategy based on a comprehensive determination of all issues that are material to the organisation and its stakeholders

  • Establish goals and standards against which the organisation's strategy and performance can be judged

  • Disclose credible information about strategy, issues, and performance to stakeholders

Adherence to the AA1000APS principles, which have been developed using a multi-stakeholder consultation process, enables the development of a sustainable business model and strategy. The principles have been used by leading companies since 2008 and are compatible with other sets of principles in the marketplace, such as the UN Global Compact, GRI and ISO 26000.

The AA1000 Principles

For an organisation that accepts its accountability to those on whom it has an impact and who have an impact on it, inclusivity is the participation of stakeholders in developing and achieving an accountable and strategic response to sustainability.

Materiality is determining the relevance and significance of an issue to an organisation and its stakeholders. A material issue is an issue that will influence the decisions, actions and performance of an organisation or its stakeholders.

Responsiveness is an organisation’s response to stakeholder issues that affect its sustainability performance and is realised through decisions, actions and performance, as well as communication with stakeholders.

The value of these principles lies in their comprehensive coverage and the flexibility of their application. They demand that an organisation actively engages with its stakeholders, fully identifies and understands sustainability issues that will have an impact on its performance, including economic, environmental, social and longer term financial performance, and then uses this understanding to develop responsible business strategies and performance objectives. Being principles rather than prescriptive rules, they allow the organisation to focus on what is material to its own vision and provide a framework for identifying and acting on real opportunities as well as managing non-financial risk and compliance.