In our report, we discuss the topics that we believe are of material importance and which have been indicated as relevant by our stakeholders. We once again determined our material topics in 2017. The following steps were taken in this process:
Step 1: Updating relevant topics
A longlist of topics was scanned against relevant external frameworks such as the GRI Standards, SASB and ISO 26000, internal documents and strategy papers and the annual reports of peers. After this review, a manageable shortlist was put together with the most prominent topics.
Step 2: Defining reporting priorities
An online survey (for internal and external stakeholders) was used to prioritise the topics on the shortlist.
Step 3: Drawing up the materiality matrix
Based on this prioritisation, we created the materiality matrix and included it in the chapter Our key themes. The 6 topics with the highest scores have been included in this annual report as material topics. Together, these topics form the basis of this integrated annual report. The new materiality matrix was submitted to and approved by the CFO and member of the Executive Board.
We are convinced that the materiality analysis from 2017 is still topical for the 2018 financial year and that the themes selected tie in with the current circumstances.
Transparency benchmark/GRI/Integrated Reporting
In drawing up this report, we followed the Transparency Benchmark Criteria of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate as much as possible. The report was also drawn up in accordance with the GRI Standards, Core application level, and we use the principles of Integrated Reporting from the International Integrated Reporting Council.
EU Directive on non-financial reporting
In order to encourage further non-financial reporting, the EU published the EU Non-financial Reporting Directive in 2014 (EU NFRD – 2014/95/EU) This directive was anchored in Dutch legislation in 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 they address environmental, social and HR matters, the respecting of human rights and the fight against corruption and bribery in their operations and value chain. 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 the diversity policy for the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board.
The table below shows how we satisfy both the disclosures mentioned.
|Theme||Material topic for Gasunie||Reference|
|Social and HR matters||Safety
|Respecting human rights||Socially responsible procurement||
|Fighting corruption and bribery||Employees
|Diversity of Executive Board and Supervisory Board||Corporate Governance||
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 review our annual report against the criteria of the Transparency Benchmark and we aspire to remain among the front-runners.
We do not have a quantitative target for transparency because for us, this is a value and qualitative goal that we strive for in all our processes. This is reflected in various activities.
- We prefer to be open and transparent in contacts with our stakeholders (an example of this is our open communication with local residents in eastern Groningen during construction of the Zuidbroek nitrogen plant).
- We are transparent about events that reflect positively on us, but also about events that could reflect negatively, and share these in the media. Examples can be found on GTS’ website.
- In 2018, we conducted a customer satisfaction survey (including benchmark compared to other national network operators in north-western Europe). 46% of shippers feel that Gasunie is transparent. We will use these results to make further improvements.
- Within ENTSOG (European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas), in which we participate, TSOs actively work on promoting transparency (see Network operations results).
The structure of the Transparency Benchmark changed with effect from 2018. The frequency of the benchmark was changed from yearly to every two years. The new criteria were inspired by, among other things, the SDGs, the TCFD, the new Corporate Governance Code and the EU Directive on Non-financial Information.
Our annual report is published every year. Our most recent annual report covered the year 2017 and was published on 28 March 2018. The current edition relates to the 2018 financial year, which runs from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. The report also includes an account of relevant developments that took place in 2019 before the publication of the report.
For the materiality analysis, we select topics that are relevant to our stakeholders and on which we have an impact as a company. This also helps determine the scope of this report. This report covers Gasunie in the Netherlands, Gasunie in Germany, GTS and participations such as BBL Company, in which, in terms of capital provision, Gasunie has a majority shareholding of 60%. Figures relating to these business units 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 differs somewhat, which is sometimes due to differences in legislation. Whenever possible, data from the Netherlands and Germany has been combined. Where this was not possible, the data is presented separately. Participations in which we have a minority shareholding in terms of capital provision have not been included in the report. Our subsidiary GTS issues its own annual report, in which its specific results are reported in more detail.
We report on our role as a transporter of natural gas, a supplier of related services, and as owner and operator of the Dutch national gas transport network, but also address relevant internal and external developments that have an impact on our organisation. We have also included in this report topics that are relevant in our value chain, but which we cannot influence directly, such as earthquakes and the changing composition of gas. Safety is one of our top priorities, which is why we have also included a summary of the safety performance of our contractors in this report.
Details about acquisitions and disposals are included in the report covering the year in which they took place, in accordance with statutory requirements.
Data collection process
In collecting the data for this report, both internal and external sources (such as manuals, management information systems and third-party data) are consulted. The departments bearing final responsibility for executing our key policy themes are involved in collecting the non-financial data for this report. For the most part, these departments were Safety, Finance, HR, Communications and Public Affairs, both in the Netherlands and Germany. The data they provided was verified by our internal audit department as part of their internal auditing activities.
Measuring and registration systems
The environmental data of Gasunie in the Netherlands is generally measured and recorded as follows:
- Data relating to the use of energy and water is derived from the overviews provided by the suppliers of energy and water at our principal locations. Data relating to the other locations is estimated, based on normal usage and/or third-party invoices.
- 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.
- Data on fugitive emissions is obtained from recent measurements, in accordance with the NEN-EN 15446 method, and from historical research on emissions at specific types of location.
- HFC emissions are calculated on the basis of amounts (in kg) recorded in the logbooks at the various locations.
- All environmental irregularities are registered according to their cause in the Accident database system, from which the reported data is derived.
- Specifications of nitrogen are based on purchasing data and on our own records. We produce and take in nitrogen at the Ommen, Wieringermeer, Zuidbroek, Kootstertille, Pernis and LNG PeakShaver locations.
- Data in relation to our safety KPIs comes from our Accident reporting system. General HR data (such as FTE numbers) is taken from SAP.
Environmental data relating to Gasunie in Germany is collected in various ways. These include direct measurements (electricity, water consumption and emissions), indirect measurements (e.g. calculations of CO2 and NOX emissions from fuel gas) and registration (waste collection reported by external suppliers). All data is entered in our environment database. This database is the source of all forms of environmental reporting, including 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
Over the past financial year, no changes took place in the definitions we use for the KPIs. 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 (NEN-EN 15446) with more accurate measuring methods.
In accordance with statutory provisions, our financial statements are audited by an external auditor. The sustainability information in the annual report is also assessed by an external auditor. We have this sustainability information assessed, because it is important to us that a limited degree of assurance be added to this information for the user of this information. As part of this, the sustainability information is reviewed to ensure it has been drawn up in accordance with the GRI Standards, Core application level. The external auditor reports its findings to the Supervisory Board in an audit report and assurance report. Where necessary, the Executive Board takes measures to improve the reporting processes for non-financial information and the sustainability reporting.
The annual report is prepared by the Executive Board and the financial statements it contains are audited by the external auditor. After taking note of the external auditor’s opinion and the advice from the Audit Committee, the Supervisory Board advises the General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM) to adopt the prepared financial statements unamended. The annual report, including the financial statements, is published within a few days after it is discussed at the AGM.
We comply with all national and international legislation in so far as it applies to our company. We also have our own strict requirements: 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 suspected misconduct) 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 safety and the environment is ISO 14001 certified.
We promote standards within our chain by participating in national and international working groups, 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 working group that studies methane emissions within the gas transport chain.
Embedding CSR policy and accountability
Our CSR policy and activities are fully aligned with our strategic objectives. The manager of the Strategy department is responsible for the CSR policy. Business units and departments are themselves responsible for the content and implementation of CSR policy in their focal area.
We have 4 CSR focal points.
The Asset Coordination Team bears responsibility for Footprint Reduction and Socially Responsible Procurement. The other two focal points, the Energy transition and Sustainable mobility, are the responsibility of the Organisation & Strategy department. We have appointed a CSR coordinator as the point of contact for parties inside and outside the organisation, as the person responsible for monitoring the process and progress in the day-to-day implementation of CSR and as a driver for this topic in various working groups.
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.