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Stakeholder engagement


AkzoNobel recognizes that in view of the scope of its activities and the public role the company fulfils, proper communication with its various groups of stakeholders is essential. In many cases we go a step further. We work together with stakeholders to develop improved products and/or business concepts.

Our business partners

Partnerships with suppliers and customers are vital to optimize sustainability aspects and unlock business value along the supply chain. A number of the case studies in this report demonstrate how we are building and capitalizing on such cooperative activity.

Employees

Sustainability, responsibility and integrity are core AkzoNobel values. At all AkzoNobel sites, employees are engaged in a broad range of sustainability issues. We measure progress in embedding sustainability throughout the organization using team meetings, employee surveys and the Performance and Development Dialog.

Decorative Paints UK formed a Green Team to initiate and implement activities in line with the business sustainability strategy. Representatives from each department act as champions for communication and to inspire fellow employees to engage with sustainability issues.

Investors and analysts

For some investors a strong record on sustainability is simply seen as an indicator of good management, especially risk management. We believe that the agenda goes beyond this and continue to find ways to quantify how product and people performance add financial value to the organization.

During 2008, we engaged with pension funds, investors and analysts on the contribution of sustainability to our business performance.

Governments and industry associations

AkzoNobel does not employ government advisors or lobbyists. Where there are issues of common interest to discuss or communicate with governments or society, we work through industry associations, including CEPE (the European Council of the Paint, Printing Ink and Artists’ Colors Industry), CEFIC (the European Chemical Industry Council) and ACC (American Chemicals Council). We are members and support the activities of the UN Global Compact. We also participate in multi-stakeholder groups such as the Round Table on Palm Oil.

During 2008, we took part in working groups setting ISO standards for carbon footprinting, climate reporting and eco-efficiency standardization.

Non-governmental and sustainability organizations

A number of concerns in society are related to the operations of chemical companies. Non-governmental organizations are positioned to voice these concerns and to lobby for improvement. We continue to actively engage in a dialog with dedicated NGOs.

In 2008, we continued to build our relationships with several sustainability organizations to maintain an external perspective:

  • The Director of Sustainability participates in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Dutch Council for Sustainable Trade Initiatives in emerging countries and the Climate Council for the City of Amsterdam
  • We have worked with the World Resources Institute on an eco-systems service review and development of the international Greenhouse Gas Protocol
  • Decorative Paints has continued to partner with Forum For the Future on sustainability projects; and to benefit from Cambridge Programme for Industry development programs.

General public

In some specific areas we have to deal with dilemmas. Stakeholders are interested in how we deal with these issues so we have clarified our position in policy statements posted on the sustainability section of the website. These include biodiversity, child labor, vendor policy, energy efficiency and climate change.

Neighbors

Maintaining good relationships with our neighbors and communities is integral to corporate responsibility, and vital to our license to operate. Our operating sites have regular contact with their neighbors via local panels, open days or publications. Our Community Program also supports employees in playing an active role in their local society (see chapter Community). Our direct neighbors are among the most important stakeholders for emergency communications and response.

Media

AkzoNobel actively provides information to media, carefully balancing the need for optimal transparency and fair disclosure with other legal and business considerations, such as corporate reputation and the protection of intellectual property.

External recognition
Investors
We retained our listings on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (second place in the Chemicals sector) and FTSE4Good.

Human rights
AkzoNobel, along with more than 230 other companies, was recognized by Realizing Rights and Business and Human Rights Resource Center for our public commitment to human rights.

Health, safety and environment
Two AkzoNobel sites in India have been honored for their health and safety performance. The Decorative Paints Mohali site won the Punjab State Safety Award for 2007. The Coatings business received second prize in the Best Health and Safety Practices (medium-sized industry category) Karnataka state competition conducted by the Directorate of Factories & Boilers.

The Industrial Chemicals MCA plant in Taixing, China, has been awarded an Environmental Protection Advanced Plant honor by the local government for the fifth year in succession.

Customers
AkzoNobel businesses have won awards or recognition for customer service, quality and innovation from a range of sectors including aircraft: Hawker Beechcraft, Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Systems; automotive: PlasanUSA, Ford and International Lease Finance Corporation; agrochemicals: Monsanto Argentina; and packaging: Crown Cork & Seal.

Sustainable sourcing
The corporate Sourcing group gained the European ProcureCon Award for Sustainability in recognition of a range of projects including a cross-functional approach to waste management, supplier support visits, redundant equipment recycling and carbon footprint work on raw materials.

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