media release

Social Responsibility Performance Greatly Improved

Akzo Nobel has attained a high score on the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes (DJSI World) for its social responsibility performance.

The company significantly improved its average score in the individual indicators, thanks to improved reporting by all business units.

The DJSI World Indexes—established in 1999 to benchmark the sustainability performance of leading companies—is based on environmental, social and economic performance, including forward-looking financial indicators, and covers more than 50 general and industry-specific criteria. The 2004 ranking included more than 300 companies from 22 countries.

"The reporting effort has been a major exercise for all BU management teams,” said Akzo Nobel Director of Corporate Social Responsibility André Veneman. “Within our company there are many excellent approaches to customer relationship management, product stewardship, environmental management, risk management, energy efficiency, involvement of the supply chain, stakeholder involvement, and so forth.”

The CSR Council recently agreed that in 2005, Akzo Nobel will continue this benchmarking process. Some general areas for improvement have already been identified, such as standards for suppliers, business principles specifications and a stronger effort on CSR communications (for example to CSR investors).

Other areas for improvement are still being prioritized. Veneman also said that while the 2004 results were promising, the company’s ambitions for 2005 needed to remain high, because not only do quality targets for the sustainability index continue to evolve as companies make progress integrating CSR strategies into their core business, but Akzo Nobel’s score was also based only on good practices from a limited number of BUs and not the entire company.

He added: “Strong and lasting progress will come from further embedding the CSR process in our mainstream business processes. The best examples of outstanding CSR practices are those that could be described as ‘business as usual’ and that’s exactly where CSR belongs.”

(Released: November 2, 2004)