Independent assurance report
To the readers of the AkzoNobel Report 2013
We were engaged by the Board of Management of Akzo Nobel N.V. (further AkzoNobel) to provide assurance on the sustainability information in the AkzoNobel Report 2013 (further the Report). The Board of Management of AkzoNobel is responsible for the preparation of The Report, including the identification of material issues. Our responsibility is to issue an assurance report based on the engagement outlined below.
Our assurance engagement was designed to provide:
- Limited assurance on whether the information in the Sustainability statements section (further Sustainability statements) and in the Compliance and integrity management chapter (further Compliance and integrity management chapter) of the Report is presented fairly, in all material respects, in accordance with the reporting criteria
- Reasonable assurance on whether the information in Note 1: Managing our sustainability agenda of the Sustainability statements of the Report (further Managing our sustainability agenda) is presented, in all material respects, in accordance with the reporting criteria as defined by AkzoNobel
We do not provide any assurance on the achievability of the objectives, targets and expectations of AkzoNobel. Procedures performed to obtain a limited level of assurance are aimed at determining the plausibility of information and are less extensive than those for a reasonable level of assurance.
Reporting criteria and assurance standard
AkzoNobel applies the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (3.1) of the Global Reporting Initiative supported by internally developed guidelines as described in the Reporting principles section. It is important to view the performance data in the context of these criteria.
We conducted our engagement in accordance with the Dutch Standard 3410N: Assurance engagements relating to sustainability reports, which is a specific part of the International Standard for Assurance Engagements (ISAE 3000): Assurance Engagements other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information, issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. This standard requires, among others, that the assurance team possesses the specific knowledge, skills and professional competencies needed to provide assurance on sustainability information, and that they comply with the requirements of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants of the International Federation of Accountants to ensure their independence.
Our procedures for limited assurance included:
- A risk analysis, including a media search, to identify relevant sustainability issues for AkzoNobel 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 limited assurance, 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
- Interviews with relevant staff at corporate and business level responsible for providing the information and consolidating the data for the Sustainability statements and Compliance and integrity management chapter
- Evaluating internal and external documentation, based on sampling, to determine whether the information in the Sustainability statements is supported by sufficient evidence
- Joining an audit of HSE (Health, Safety, and Environment) management at the Functional Chemicals site in Cologne, Germany
- Reviewing the relevant work of Internal Audit function
Our additional procedures for reasonable assurance included:
- Testing the relevant work of Internal Audit function in respect of the information in Managing our sustainability agenda
- Joining the sustainability assessment questionnaire review at Decorative Paints in Sassenheim, the Netherlands, together with the Internal Audit team to evaluate the implementation, and test the operating effectiveness of controls at local level in respect of the information in Managing our sustainability agenda
Additionally we determined, as far as possible, whether the information concerning sustainability in the other sections of the Report is consistent with the information in scope for assurance.
During the assurance process we discussed the necessary changes in the Sustainability statements and in the Compliance and integrity management chapter and reviewed the final version of the Report to ensure that it reflects our findings.
Conclusion and opinion
Based on our procedures for limited assurance, nothing has come to our attention to indicate that the information in the Sustainability statements and in the Compliance and integrity management chapter is not fairly presented, in all material respects, in accordance with the reporting criteria.
In our opinion, the information in Managing our sustainability agenda is presented, in all material respects, in accordance with the reporting criteria. We also report, to the extent we can assess, that the information on sustainability in the rest of the Report is consistent with the information in the Sustainability statements and in the Compliance and integrity management chapter.
Amsterdam, February 19, 2014
Part of KPMG Advisory N.V.
W.J. Bartels RA, Partner