We welcome an active dialog with our stakeholders and give their opinions the serious consideration they deserve. With this process in mind, we expect the clarity, consistency, and accuracy of our reporting to further improve over time. In particular, we seek ways of linking sustainability performance to business results in areas such as carbon emission reduction and eco-premium solutions.
We appreciate the work of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and have used their Sustainability Reporting Guidelines as a guide. An index of all GRI indicators can be found on our corporate website (www.akzonobel.com).
In this 2009 AkzoNobel Report we have focused on the sustainability aspects which form part of the AkzoNobel strategy formulated during 2008. This sets material sustainability metrics and performance firmly alongside financial elements. It is supplemented by issues raised by the annual risk management process.
We also use information from third party questionnaires, notably the influential Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, and feedback from various stakeholders consulted during the year. In particular we sought feedback from investment analysts on our first combined financial and sustainability 2008 AkzoNobel Report. They agreed that an integrated report was a progression towards integrating sustainability into the company strategy and operations, and suggested a few areas for improvement:
- Clear identification of the material sustainability issues. This is an area where we need to develop a more formal process
- Improved signposting so that sustainability analysts can find relevant sections. The 2009 AkzoNobel Report has an index of sustainability topics to guide readers. The online version makes better use of links
- Strengthened social reporting (to give better balance against environmental and health & safety). The 2009 AkzoNobel Report includes quantitative data on HR metrics, employees and diversity, development programs and the employee survey.
The 2009 AkzoNobel Report integrates sustainability aspects of our processes and business operations in each section, in particular the Strategy, Business Reports and Governance and Compliance sections.
This Sustainability facts and figures section summarizes the global, cross-business elements of the sustainability agenda and company performance. Specifically it includes quantitative and qualitative information relating to the calendar year 2009 and comparative data for 2008 and 2007 which is based on the AkzoNobel portfolio, including the former ICI, at the end of 2008. Data for 2005 and 2006 cover the AkzoNobel portfolio in those years, including Organon. 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. We report new acquisitions within a calendar year. The managing sustainability reviews, eco-premium solution assessments and upstream carbon footprint have not been carried out for National Starch or Chemicals Pakistan.
We introduced a revised set of HSE&S KPIs with detailed reporting guidance for 2009, and reviewed data at the end of Q2 and Q3 to identify inconsistencies. There are a number of definition, calculation and reporting differences which impact the comparability of data with 2007 and 2008: Total reportable rate, energy, CO2, NOx and SOx emissions. We identify these in the text and footnotes. More details are available on our corporate website.
Data has mainly been obtained from our financial management reporting systems, corporate HR information management system and the AkzoNobel and former ICI corporate reporting systems for Health, Safety, Environment and Security (HSE&S) performance indicators. We are confident in the overall reliability of the data reported, but recognize that some of these data are subject to a certain degree of uncertainty, inherent to limitations associated with measuring, calculating data and estimating data.
Reporting process and assurance
Senior managers approved the content and the quantitative data used in the Sustainability facts and figures relating to their respective areas of responsibility. The integration of sustainability in day-to-day business is part of our routine internal audit process.