Independent assurance report
To the readers of the AkzoNobel Report 2015
We have reviewed (limited assurance) the information in the Sustainability statements (pages 195 to 249) and in the Compliance and integrity management section (pages 124 to 129) (hereafter “The Sustainability Reporting”), which are part of the Report 2015 (“The Report”) of Akzo Nobel N.V. (further “the company”).
Based on our review, nothing has come to our attention to indicate that The Sustainability Reporting is not presented, in all material respects, in accordance with the reporting criteria as described in Note 2: Reporting principles.
Furthermore, we have audited (reasonable assurance) Note 1: Managing our sustainability agenda (pages 197 to 200) of the Sustainability statements. In our opinion, the information in Note 1: Managing our sustainability agenda is presented, in all material respects, in accordance with the reporting criteria as described in Note 2: Reporting principles.
Our report on consistency
We report, to the extent we can assess, that the information on sustainability in the rest of The Report is consistent with The Sustainability Reporting.
Basis for our conclusion and opinion
We conducted our engagement in accordance with the Dutch Standard 3810N: Assurance engagements relating to sustainability reports, which is a specified standard that is based on the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000: Assurance Engagements other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information.
Our responsibilities under Standard 3810N and procedures performed have been further specified in the paragraph titled Our responsibility for the assurance of The Sustainability Reporting.
We are independent of Akzo Nobel N.V. in accordance with the “Verordening inzake de onafhankelijkheid van accountants bij assurance-opdrachten” (ViO) and other relevant independence requirements in the Netherlands. Furthermore, we have complied with the “Verordening gedrags- en beroepsregels accountants” (VGBA). We believe that the assurance evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our conclusion and opinion.
Key assurance matters
Key assurance matters are those matters that, in our professional judgment, were of most significance in our assurance of The Sustainability Reporting. We have communicated the key assurance matters to the company. The key assurance matters are not a comprehensive reflection of all matters discussed.
These assurance matters were addressed in the context of our assurance of The Sustainability Reporting as a whole and in forming our conclusion thereon, and we do not provide a separate conclusion on these matters.
Managing the sustainability agenda
The Note in relation to Managing our sustainability agenda explains the status of the level of integration of sustainability in the company’s management processes. This information in the Sustainability statements demonstrates the underlying organizational embedding of the performance reported. In light of its resulting materiality, we have identified this Note therefore as a Key Assurance Matter.
We have held interviews and discussions with relevant staff about the Note as presented and reviewed evidence for the text claims relating to embedding sustainability within the organization to assess whether the information as provided in Note 1: Managing our sustainability agenda shows a clear and balanced picture of the current status of integration of sustainability in management processes.
Responsibilities of the Board of Management for The Sustainability Reporting
The Board of Management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of The Sustainability Reporting in scope as included above under “Basis for our conclusion and opinion” in accordance with the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines G4 of the Global Reporting Initiative supported by internally developed guidelines as described in Note 2: Reporting principles. It is important to view The Sustainability Reporting in the context of these criteria. We believe these criteria are suitable in view of the purpose of our assurance engagement.
As part of this, the Board of Management is responsible for such internal control as it determines is necessary to enable the preparation of The Sustainability Reporting that is free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.
Our responsibility for the assurance of The Sustainability Reporting
Our objective is to plan and perform the assurance assignment in a manner that allows us to obtain sufficient and appropriate assurance evidence for our conclusion regarding The Sustainability Reporting and our opinion regarding the information in Note 1: Managing our sustainability agenda.
Procedures performed for the review of The Sustainability Reporting are aimed at determining the plausibility of information and are less extensive than those for a reasonable level of assurance.
Our audit of the information in Note 1: Managing our sustainability agenda has been performed with a high, but not absolute, level of assurance, which means we may not have detected all errors and fraud.
Our review procedures on The Sustainability Reporting included, among others:
- A risk analysis, including a media search, to identify relevant sustainability issues for the company in the reporting period
- Reviewing the suitability of the internal reporting criteria including conversion factors used
- Evaluating the design and implementation of the systems and processes for the collection, processing and control of the information in scope for the review, including the consolidation of the data
- Interviewing management at corporate and business level responsible for the sustainability and compliance and integrity policies, implementation, management, internal controls, monitoring and reporting
- Interviewing relevant staff at corporate and business level responsible for providing the information and consolidating the data for The Sustainability Reporting
- Evaluating internal and external documentation, based on sampling, to determine whether the information in The Sustainability Reporting is supported by sufficient evidence
- Joining an internal audit of Health, Safety and Environment Management at the Industrial Chemicals site in Rotterdam, the Netherlands
- Reviewing the relevant work of the Internal Audit function
Our additional audit procedures on the information in Note 1: Managing our sustainability agenda included among others:
- Testing the relevant work of the Internal Audit function in respect of the information in Note 1: Managing our sustainability agenda
- Interviews with relevant staff at corporate level responsible for providing the information for Note 1: Managing our sustainability agenda
During the assurance process we discussed the necessary changes of The Sustainability Reporting and reviewed the final version of The Report to ensure that it reflects our findings.
Amsterdam, February 9, 2016
Part of KPMG Advisory N.V.
W.J. Bartels RA, Partner