Determination of materiality
In our report, we discuss those topics that we believe are of material importance to the value chain within which we operate and topics which have been indicated as relevant by our stakeholders. At an internal workshop in 2015, we determined the materiality of the topics with which we as a company havean impact. This workshop was attended by representatives of our management, our CSR experts and communication specialists. In 2016, two new members joined the Executive Board. We therefore decided to reassess our internal prioritisation.
The process of determining materiality consisted of the following steps:
Step 1: Updating relevant topics
In 2016, our material topics were updated. The first step was to update the list of topics on the basis of a media analysis and an environs analysis. The results of these analyses revealed that we already cover all topics that are relevant to us. To create more focus in our new report, we combined a number of closely related topics that we also reported on in 2015.
Step 2: Defining reporting priorities
In 2015, the importance of topics for our stakeholders was determined on the basis of a stakeholder survey, in which 23 external stakeholders from various stakeholder groups participated. In 2016, we reassessed the prioritisation of the topics relevant to our company on the basis of a desktop analysis and discussions with the Executive Board. In this analysis, the internal and external scores carried equal weight.
Step 3: Drawing up the materiality matrix
Based on this reassessment, we adjusted the materiality matrix and included it in the Materiality section. The twelve topics with the highest scores have been included in this annual report. Together, these topics form the basis of this integrated annual report, which for the second time was drawn up in accordance with the GRI G4 guidelines. The new materiality matrix was submitted to and approved by the Executive Board.
In drawing up this report, we followed the Transparency Benchmark Criteria of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs as much as possible. The report was also drawn up in accordance with the GRI G4 guidelines (Core), of which a materiality analysis forms an integral part. For the reporting year 2016, we aim to take further steps with regard to G4, which includes improving the structure and cohesion of the information provided.
We also took note of the new EU Directive (2014/95/EU), which was enshrined in Dutch legislation in December 2016 in the form of two separate regulations: disclosure of non-financial information and disclosure of diversity policy. The first disclosure requires public-interest organisations with more than 500 employees to provide insight into how, in their operations and value chain, they address environmental, social and HR matters, respect human rights and fight corruption and bribery. This should include policy, results, main risks and control measures, and non-financial KPIs with regard to these areas. The second disclosure requires an explanation regarding diversity policy for the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board.
The application of the directive will only be required by law as of the reporting year 2017. The disclosure of diversity policy only applies to large, listed companies. However, in this annual report, we have taken the first step towards applying the directive. In our integrated annual report, we already report on the aforementioned topics, because they touch upon our material topics to a greater or lesser degree. Diversity and fighting corruption and bribery are not material topics, but form part of Corporate Governance. In the table below, we provide an overview of where the information we already report on can be found in our report. In the next reporting year, we will be fully compliant with the directive.
|Topic||Material topic for Gasunie||Reference|
|- The policy pursued: Strategy - CSR focus areas and multi-year plan;
- The results of the policy pursued:Results Energy transition, Environment
- The main risks and controlling these risks: Our risk profile; Connectivity matrix
- Essential non-financial performance indicators: Connectivity matrix
|Social and HR matters||Safety
|- The policy pursued: Strategy – CSR focal points and multi-year plan; Employees, - Safety results
- The results of the policy pursued:Employees, Safety results, Annexes
- The main risks and controlling these risks: Our risk profile; connectivity matrix
- Essential non-financial performance indicators: Connectivity matrix
|Respecting human rights||Socially responsible procurement||- The policy pursued: Annex 3 – Product and supplier information
- The results of the policy pursued: Annex 3 – Product and supplier information
- The main risks and controlling these risks: Gasunie currently has no insight into the specific risks relating to human rights.
- Essential non-financial performance indicators: Gasunie currently does not apply any specific KPI in the field of human rights.
|Fighting corruption and bribery||Employees
|- The policy pursued:Employees: Code of Conduct; Annex 3 Product and supplier information
- The results of the policy pursued: Results: Energy transition; Environment
- The main risks and controlling these risks: Our risk profile
- Essential non-financial performance indicators: Employees: Code of conduct and Reporting Misconduct, KPI: No. of incidents of bribery and corruption, reports of 'suspected misconduct'
|Diversity of Executive Board and Supervisory Board||Corporate Governance||- The policy pursued: Annex 5 - Diversity
- Objectives and results: Annex 5 - Diversity
We report on the most relevant performance indicators (KPIs) that follow from our strategy. All aspects that directly affect the realisation of our strategy have been included in this report. These include indicators in the fields of finance, health, safety and the environment. Wherever possible, the data with regard to safety and the environment have been placed in a multi-year perspective in order to show long-term developments.
The report is intended for all our stakeholders, both internal and external. The report is made available on our website. For environmental reasons, it is in principle only be published digitally. Specific terminology used in this report is explained in the definitions.
We aim to be transparent about our objectives and how we aim to achieve them. In our annual report, we therefore elaborate on our activities and results, explaining not only what went well, but also what did not go so well and what we are doing to improve matters. We measure our transparency on the basis of our score in the Transparency Benchmark. In 2013, we laid down our transparency ambitions as follows:
|Ambition Transparency Benchmark||Total score||Subcategory Energy, Oil & Gas||State participations (33)|
|Reporting year 2015||Top 30 (approx. 185 points)||Top 3||Top 10|
|Reporting year 2016||Top 30 (approx. 185 points)||Top 3||Top 8|
|Reporting year 2017||Top 30 (approx. 185 points)||Top 3||Top 8|
|Reporting year 2018||Top 30 (approx. 185 points)||Top 3||Top 8|
In 2015, our total score was 192 points, which meant we achieved our target of 185 points. In 2016, we set our goals for the coming years, placing more emphasis on our position with respect to state participations. We aim to achieve approximately 185 points and to finish at least in the Top 30 of all participants.
In collecting the data for this report, both internal and external sources (such as manuals, management information systems and third-party data) were consulted. All departments bearing final responsibility for executing our key policy themes were also involved. For the most part, these departments were Safety, Finance, HR, Communications and Public Affairs, both in the Netherlands and Germany. The data they provided were consolidated by our financial control department as part of their internal control activities.
The report is checked and approved by the Executive Board, the Audit Committee, the Supervisory Board and the shareholder. The report is published within a few days after the approval of the General Meeting of Shareholders. The General Meeting of Shareholders approved the 2016 report on 30 March 2017, and the report was published on 31 March 2017.
We invite readers of the report to provide us with feedback by email (email@example.com).
Scope and boundaries
For the materiality analysis, we select topics that are relevant to our society, sector, company and stakeholders. The topics are mentioned under ‘Materiality analysis’. The scope of this report is partly determined on the basis of the materiality analysis. We report on our role as a transporter of natural gas, a supplier of related services in the gas value chain, and as owner and operator of the Dutch national gas transport grid. We have also included topics that are relevant in our value chain but which we cannot influence directly, such as earthquakes and the changing composition of gas. In this report, we describe our mission, strategy and the principal outcomes of our operational management, as well as sketching the most significant internal and external developments affecting that management. We indicate how we are responding to these developments. And since we take our responsibilities as part of the supply chain seriously, we also clearly distinguish those activities that we carry out as part of good supply chain management. Safety is a major priority for us, and we encourage safety awareness among our contractors. Given the importance of safety, this report also contains a summary of the safety performance of our contractors. Other performance data, such as those of suppliers, have not been taken into account. Details about acquisitions and divestments are included in conformity with legal obligations in the report covering the year in which they took place.
This report covers Gasunie in the Netherlands, Gasunie in Germany, GTS, GGS and participations such as BBL Company, in which, in terms of capital provision, Gasunie has a majority shareholding of 60%. Figures relating to these parts of our company have been included in the overall figures and results in so far as they are available. With regard to matters relating to safety, health and the environment, the data recorded in the Netherlands and Germany differ somewhat, which is sometimes due to differences in legislation. Whenever possible, data from the Netherlands and Germany have been combined. Where this was not possible, the data are presented separately. Participations in which we have a minority shareholding in terms of capital provision have not been included in the report. Our subsidiaries GTS and GGS issue their own annual reports, in which their specific results are reported in more detail.
This report is an annual publication. It gives an account of our efforts in the reporting year 2016, which runs from 1 January 2016 up to and including 31 December 2016. The report also includes an account of relevant developments that take place in 2017 before the publication of the 2016 report.
As required by law, our financial statements were audited by an external auditor (PwC). PwC not only audited our financial information, but also verified our non-financial data in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility. The auditor’s letter and the assurance report have therefore been combined in this annual report. We also have our social data audited, because we believe it is important to be able to demonstrate that our reporting processes are in good order. This includes an assessment of whether the report complies with the GRI guidelines, version GRI G4 Core.
Measuring and registration systems
The environmental data of Gasunie in the Netherlands are generally measured and recorded as follows:
- The amount of waste removed is measured by waste collectors and processors. They register this on weighing slips, bills of lading, invoices, quarterly reports and annual overviews, all of which are passed on to us. The processing methodology they use is described in those documents. These annual overviews form the basis of the data reported by Gasunie.
- Possible soil pollution is recorded in soil inspection reports. The progress of investigations and any clean-up operations are registered centrally in a database, from which we extract data for this report.
- Data relating to the use of energy and water are derived from the overviews provided by the suppliers of energy and water at our principal locations. The data relating to the other locations are estimated, based on normal usage and/or third-party invoices.
- Air emissions are mainly registered by the Olympus computer system, developed for registering compressor data. Emissions of CO2, CH4 and NOx are calculated on the basis of the fuel consumption of the machines, which is measured continuously. Each machine has its own emission characteristics, which have been registered in Olympus. The registration is corrected manually before and after operation of the compressors.
- Data on fugitive emissions are obtained from recent measurements, in accordance with the EPA21 method, and from historical research into the emissions at specific types of locations.
- HFC emissions are calculated on the basis of amounts (in kg) recorded in the logbooks at the various locations.
- All deviations from environmental standards are registered according to their cause in an internal database, from which the reported data are derived.
- Specifications of raw materials are based on purchasing data, with the exception of the usage of odorant, which is calculated.
- Specifications of nitrogen are based on purchasing data and on the data recorded at the Ommen and Kootstertille locations.
Environmental data relating to Gasunie in Germany are collected in various ways. These include direct measurement (electricity, water consumption and emissions), indirect measurement (e.g., calculations of CO2 and NOx and emissions of fuel gas), and registration (waste collection reported by external suppliers). All data are entered into our environment database. This database is the source of all forms of environmental reporting. This includes our emissions trading, which is audited and certified each year by an independent third party (the auditing and certification only applies to the emissions trading part). Although we treat our measuring and registration systems with care, we acknowledge that the information provided is, in part, subject to a degree of uncertainty, which is inherent to limitations at the measuring location and with regard to calculation periods.
Changes in definitions and measuring methods
In the past reporting year, no changes took place in the definitions we use. With respect to emissions measurements of fugitive leaks, we are working on making these measurements more accurate. To this end, we compare the emissions measured in accordance with the current (legally prescribed) method (EPA21) with more accurate measuring methods. By doing this, we may be able to make certain proposals in the future for adjusting the legal requirements in order to obtain a more accurate result.
We comply with all national and international legislation in so far as it applies to our company. In addition, we have set our own stringent requirements: we believe it is important that our performance is based on clear standards and values. Our technical standards are specified in the Gasunie Technical Standards, and our safety, health and environment standards are specified in our Commitment to Safety, Health and Environment Policy. In our Code of Conduct, we explain how we expect our employees to behave with respect to integrity, safety and accountability. We have a whistle-blower policy (for reporting suspicions of improper conduct) and a counsellor has been appointed to deal with any reports. We have also set up a Complaints Committee to which employees can turn with any complaints. In addition, counsellors are available for various areas, including with regard to undesirable behaviour. Finally, we always make sure we handle with care any complaints that arise from the local communities in which we work.
Our policy with regard to the environment is ISO 14001-certified. We promote standards within our chain by participating in national and international workgroups, such as in the fields of green grids and methane emissions. In these groups, we carry out research and exchange knowledge, with the aim of learning from each other. Since 2016, we have been chairing a Marcogaz workgroup that studies methane emissions within the gas transport chain.
Embedding CSR policy and accountability
Our CSR policy and activities are aligned with our strategic objectives. CSR forms an integral part of our business activities. The head of the Organisation & Strategy department is responsible for the CSR policy. The CSR Task Force identifies opportunities and developments in the field of CSR. Employees involved in the CSR Task Force are employees from those parts of our organisation that could make a significant contribution to CSR, such as Procurement, Safety, Health & Environment, Organisation & Strategy, and Operations & Projects.
Business units and departments within our company are themselves responsible for providing input with regard to CSR policy in their own area of expertise, as well as for executing and adapting the policy. In 2016, two special workgroups were set up in the fields of sustainable mobility and sustainable procurement. Regular CSR activities, such as safety, are financed out of department budgets. For the new workgroups, eight employees were partially freed up and financial means were made available. In 2016, it was decided to appoint a CSR coordinator to further develop CSR awareness within our company. The CSR coordinator starts in 2017 and will coordinate CSR initiatives on a daily basis.
The Executive Board is responsible for formulating our CSR policy and objectives, and for CSR policy and performance in practice. The policy is aligned with the Supervisory Board. The Executive Board monitors and evaluates progress and results by means of reports and targets and makes adjustments with regard to material social aspects where necessary. The Supervisory Board supervises all of this, and also monitors the external reporting.
Up to and including 2016, CSR formed a fixed part of the collective targets for employees and management. As of 2017, the collective targets have been abolished (see the Employees section under Results). For 2017, a corporate CSR target with regard to CO2 reduction applies. In addition, where relevant, CSR targets will be included in the individual work agreements/targets at all levels of the organisation.
In determining objectives with regard to CSR, the relevant departments are also consulted on whether the necessary preconditions are present and sufficiently embedded within our organisation.
The results are determined by the Supervisory Board and audited by an external auditor.