Note 2: Reporting principles

Reporting scope

This Report 2013 combines our financial and sustainability reporting and is addressed to readers interested in both areas. In particular, we seek ways of linking sustainability performance to business results in areas such as operational eco-efficiency, carbon emission reduction, eco-premium solutions and people development and engagement.

The information in this Report offers an update on our implementation of the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). More sustainability information is available on our corporate website, including: an index of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) 3.1 indicators; additional development work against the new G4 guidelines; and a summary of our UNGC communication of progress.

The topics in this Report 2013 were selected on the basis of the sustainability aspects of our strategy, the GRI guidelines and input from various external stakeholders. These include our engagement with:

  • Shareholders
  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Rating organizations, notably RobecoSAM – the rating agency for the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices – and the Carbon Disclosure Project
  • Sustainability organizations such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Forum for the Future and the International Integrated Reporting Council

Reporting policies

Materiality

We have used the principle of materiality to assess the topics to include in this Report 2013, which are current and important for the company and key stakeholders. The results are plotted in the matrix graph below.

A summary of the process is available on our website.

Reporting boundaries

The AkzoNobel Report 2013 integrates sustainability aspects of our processes and business operations in each section, in particular the How we create value infographics, and the Strategy, Business performance and Governance and compliance sections.

This Sustainability statements section summarizes the global, cross-business elements of the sustainability agenda and company performance. It includes quantitative and qualitative information relating to the calendar year 2013 and comparative data for 2012, 2011 and 2010. We report on consolidated data from entities where AkzoNobel is the majority shareholder (more than 50 percent) and joint ventures where we have management control, but exclude all data from entities where we have minority ownership, or no management control.

Comparability

Previously, our policy was to report acquisitions within one calendar year. From 2010, we report from the date of purchase, recognizing that reporting improvements may be required at these facilities. Recent significant changes:

  • 2013 data includes the results of the divestment of Chemicals Pakistan. We include data from Decorative Paints North America until April 1, 2013, when it was divested
  • 2012 data includes the Boxing Oleochemicals acquisition and our new facilities at Ningbo, both in China
  • 2011 data includes the acquisition of the Schramm/SSCP businesses

Our value chain (cradle-to-grave) carbon footprint is measured per metric ton of product sales leaving AkzoNobel. In 2012, the definition of product was clarified to reduce variability in the indicator. It now excludes sold by-products and sold energy. Previous years’ data has been restated on the same basis. For our own operations, environmental impact and improvements are quoted relative to production quantity, i.e. the product volumes leaving every manufacturing plant. In 2013, we carried out a review of our key value chains, including the downstream applications, used in our cradle-to-grave footprint reporting. We now include the climate impact of VOCs in our overall carbon footprint targets. The 2012 data has been restated to provide a sound baseline for our 2012-2020 targets. We identify issues that affect comparability in the text or footnotes.

Reporting process and assurance

The reporting period is 2013. Data has mainly been obtained from our financial management reporting systems, corporate HR information management systems, corporate compliance information reporting systems and the AkzoNobel corporate reporting systems for health, safety and environment performance indicators, each of which have associated approval and verification processes. These processes continue to be updated and improved. Data collection for the newer value chain reporting aspects is carried out using standard templates and procedures. More details on all reporting processes are available on our website.

We are confident in the overall reliability of the data reported, but recognize that some of the information is subject to an element of uncertainty, inherent to limitations associated with measuring and calculating data. Senior managers approved the content and the quantitative data used in the Sustainability statements section relating to their respective areas of responsibility. The integration of sustainability in day-to-day business is part of our routine internal audit process.

The Sustainability statements section has been reviewed by independent, external auditors. The Assurance report, including the scope of the audit, can be found in the Independent assurance report at the end of this section.

Materiality matrix

Materiality matrix (graphic)