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What is the concept of materiality?

The concept of “materiality” is essential to understanding the process of verification. 
Materiality refers to the concept that individual errors or the aggregation of errors, 
omissions and misrepresentations could affect the carbon footprint and influence
decisions made from this information.  

Therefore, materiality is used to identify information that, if omitted or mis-stated, would
significantly misrepresent the footprint as a whole and ensure that such material
discrepancies are omitted/minimised.  

Acceptable materiality is determined by the verifier based on the agreed level of
assurance. As a rule of thumb, an error is considered to be materially misleading if its
value exceeds 5% of the total inventory for the part of the organisation being verified. 

It is acknowledged that due to data availability, assumptions required to estimate
emissions from some Scope 3 emissions sources, sampling methodologies and varying
data that are not under an airport’s direct control, it may be difficult to determine if values
below the 5% threshold have been achieved. For those emissions sources, the airport
should be able to satisfy the verifier that: 
  • The data available is as accurate as reasonably possible; 
  • The data has been prepared in line with the Scope 3 reporting guidelines contained
  • in Section 8.5 of this document; 
  • Any assumptions made in calculating the emissions made from those sources are suitably documented. 
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