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Note 2: Reporting principles

Reporting scope

The Report 2012 combines our financial and sustainability reporting and is addressed to readers interested in both areas. In particular, we seek ways of linking sustainability performance to business results in areas such as operational eco-efficiency, carbon emission reduction, eco-premium solutions and people development and engagement.

The information in this Report offers an update on our implementation of the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). More sustainability information, including an index of all Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) indicators and a summary of our UNGC progress is available on our corporate website.

The topics of this Report were selected on the basis of the sustainability aspects of our strategy, the GRI guidelines and input from various external stakeholders. These include our engagement with:

  • Shareholders
  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Rating organizations, notably Sustainable Asset Management (SAM) – the rating agency for the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices – and the Carbon Disclosure Project
  • Sustainability organizations such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the World Resources Institute (WRI), Forum for the Future and the International Integrated Reporting Council

Reporting policies


We have used the principle of materiality to assess the topics to include in the report, which are current and important for the company and key stakeholders. There have been no significant changes from 2011. A summary of the process is available on our website.

Reporting boundaries

The AkzoNobel Report 2012 integrates sustainability aspects of our processes and business operations in each section, in particular the Strategy, Our leadership, Business performance and Governance and compliance sections.

This Sustainability statements section summarizes the global, cross-business elements of the sustainability agenda and company performance. It includes quantitative and qualitative information relating to the calendar year 2012 and comparative data for 2011, 2010 and 2009. 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 include data from Chemicals Pakistan (which was sold at the end of 2012 and had its own management board), and Decorative Paints North America, which is classified as discontinued operations in the Financial statements section. Reporting for Chemicals Pakistan has been limited to HSE and compliance issues.


Previously, our policy was to report acquisitions within one calendar year. From 2010, we report from the date of purchase, recognizing that reporting improvements may be required at these facilities. A significant change reflected in 2011 data is the acquisition of the Schramm/SSCP businesses, and for 2012 data the Boxing Oleochemicals acquisition and our new facilities at Ningbo, both in China.

In 2010, we changed our employee survey to Gallup Q12. The Gallup GrandMean scores are not comparable with the previous survey’s percent favorable score.

Our value chain (cradle-to-gate) carbon footprint is measured per metric ton of product sales leaving AkzoNobel. In 2012, the definition of product was clarified to reduce variability in the indicator. It now excludes sold by-products and sold energy. Previous years’ data has been restated on the same basis. This has resulted in an increase in quoted kg CO2(e) per ton for 2009–2011, but there was no notable percentage change from 2009–2012, which therefore remains at 3 percent. For our own operations, environmental impact and improvements are quoted relative to production quantity, i.e. the product volumes leaving every manufacturing plant. There is no change in this indicator.

We identify issues which affect comparability in the text or footnotes.

Reporting process and assurance

The reporting period is 2012. Data has mainly been obtained from our financial management reporting systems, corporate HR information management systems, corporate compliance information reporting systems and the AkzoNobel corporate reporting systems for Health, Safety and Environment performance indicators, which have associated approval and verification processes. These processes continue to be updated and improved. Data collection for the newer value chain reporting aspects is carried out using standard templates and procedures. More details on all reporting processes are available on our website.

We are confident in the overall reliability of the data reported, but recognize that some of the information is subject to an element of uncertainty, inherent to limitations associated with measuring and calculating data.

Senior managers approved the content and the quantitative data used in the Sustainability statements section relating to their respective areas of responsibility. The integration of sustainability in day-to-day business is part of our routine internal audit process.

The Sustainability statements section has been reviewed by independent, external auditors. The Assurance report, including the scope of the audit, can be found in the Independent assurance report at the end of this section.

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