Processes for engagement and collecting feedback from other external stakeholders will be improved in 2010. We currently engage in this dialog through a range of external projects and partnerships, which align with our sustainability ambitions for now and the future. This section highlights some examples covering different aspects of the sustainability agenda.
Sustainability in the supply chain
In November 2009, the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) recognized AkzoNobel for good sustainability practices in supply chain management. VBDO researched more than 40 Dutch companies as part of the study, which looks at areas such as transparency, to what extent sustainability has been embedded into daily business and how much effort is put into ensuring that suppliers follow sustainable behavior and practices. AkzoNobel was also commended for linking sustainability achievement to executive bonuses and merging sustainability reporting into its annual report.
UN Global Compact project
AkzoNobel and nine participants in the UN Global Compact network in the Netherlands have taken part in a review of human rights practices within multinationals. This was in support of research into the implications of a report by Professor John Ruggie – the UN Secretary General’s special representative on business and human rights. This research was adopted by the Human Rights Council in Geneva as an authoritative statement regarding the responsibilities of business with respect to human rights. As a follow-up to the research, the group in the Netherlands is focusing on sharing good practice implementation of various aspects, such as grievance procedures.
Suppliers and sustainable trade
The Accelerating Sustainable Trade conference – organized by the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), the Dutch Association of Procurement Managers (NEVI) and AkzoNobel – attracted more than 600 participants. Our CEO, Hans Wijers, was a keynote speaker. This was the second conference of its type supported by AkzoNobel.
The 2009 event focused on sustainable sourcing and procurement from a range of perspectives – consumer demands, retail, traders and SMEs (small and medium enterprises). We were able to use this event to invite many suppliers, customers and other stakeholders, raising their awareness of sustainable sourcing issues.
Partnerships for malnutrition
The Amsterdam Initiative on Malnutrition aims to eradicate malnutrition in 100 million people in Africa by 2015. It was formed in May 2009 as a partnership between the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Unilever, DSM, AkzoNobel and Wageningen University. The project focuses on reducing malnutrition among women and children in South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania. AkzoNobel is contributing technical expertise and training in products for combating iron deficiency.
This complements an agreement between AkzoNobel and the World Food Program to reduce iron deficiency by fortifying atta wheat flour in rural areas of the Betul district of Madhya Pradesh, India. AkzoNobel is supporting the WFP-run project by donating its bioavailable iron, Ferrrazone (recommended by the World Health Organization as the only suitable iron for fortification of atta flour), as well as providing technical support. The two-year program is expected to reach more than 500,000 individuals in the district.
Working with the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, AkzoNobel is piloting new tools to measure environmental impacts and opportunities for improvement.
Our involvement with the Eco-system Valuation Initiative started in 2008, when we took part in the WBCSD Future Leaders Team. That program explored how the Ecosystems Services Review (ESR) assessment tool could be incorporated into corporate decision-making processes. The objective of the ESR is to identify risk and opportunities by evaluating a business’ dependence, and impact on, natural resources. The valuation initiative started in 2009 and will take this work further towards a quantitative economic valuation stage.
We have also taken part in developing the GHG Protocol Accounting and Reporting Guidelines for product lifecycles and corporate value chains (Scope 3) and will road test the drafts in 2010.
Partnerships and endorsements
We support a number of external organizations and charters to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability issues. These include the UN Global Compact – we are also an active member of the network in the Netherlands – and the Global Responsible Care Charter.
In order to contribute to and keep up-to-date with developments in the sustainability agenda, we continue to support the work of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the World Resources Institute and Forum for the Future in the UK.