Opinion of the Alliander stakeholder panel
For the third successive occasion Alliander has organised a stakeholder panel. We are pleased with the invitation from Alliander to its stakeholders to provide feedback on the annual report. This summary of our feedback on the 2017 Annual Report is aimed at encouraging Alliander to bring the report even better into line with the needs of the stakeholders.
Alliander’s annual report is a readable document; it has a clear structure and uses plain language. The ambition is obvious and the report provides an inspirational view of the activities in which Alliander is engaged. The transparency provided is more than sufficient; the document gives a clear account of the policy pursued and the results achieved.
Alliander’s role in the energy transition
The energy transition is in full swing and Alliander is facilitating the revolution. The panel is keen to hear more about Alliander’s vision and sphere of influence in this regard for really getting things moving. From our talks with Alliander, we understand that this poses a dilemma. How can the company help to accelerate the process despite the restrictions imposed by the regulated market? The same goes for the role that Alliander sees for itself over the next 5 to 10 years. The dialogue with the municipal and provincial authorities and the responsibilities in the supply chain deserve more attention. This also applies to the major tasks facing society in conjunction with the energy transition. It would be nice if the annual report contained an invitation to other players to join forces in the energy transition. The panel also found it surprising that the subject of climate change scored so low in the materiality analysis.
The annual report has been prepared on the basis of the materiality analysis. We recognise the selected subjects, and also see that these are extensively discussed in the accountability document. One aspect that should be made clearer in the report is where the dividing line lies between the most material subjects for stakeholders and how this selection was made. We therefore recommend clarifying the relationship between the risks, the materiality analysis topics and the strategy in both word and image in order to create a more all-encompassing narrative and prevent the annual report from becoming simply a listing of items.
We note that Alliander made progress during the year in the quantification of impacts, i.e. the effects that society experiences as a result of an organisation’s operations. We value Alliander’s ambitions in this area and also appreciate the extensive insights already provided in the accountability information. Impact is one of those subjects where there is an awful lot to be said and quantified. We recommend – as soon as the company has sorted out the methodology – zooming in on those aspects of impact which really matter, allowing the management effort to be focused accordingly.
Last year Alliander began applying the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals and extended the initial selection with an extra SDG, which was incorporated into the strategy. We both understand and back the company’s decision but also note that there is a need to look beyond these primary goals to identify secondary SDGs and hope that Alliander will be exploring the scope for doing so. The link between a sustainable future and the development of work and the importance of diversity for the organisation were also discussed.
A final word
Finally, we would like to praise Alliander for its openness towards the stakeholders. We particularly appreciate the chance to give substantive feedback on draft versions of the annual report and to discuss specific issues with the management.
Giuseppe van der Helm - former Director of the Association of Investors for Sustainable Development in the Netherlands and member of the Panel of Experts of the Transparency benchmark.
Karen Maas – Scientific Director of Erasmus University’s Impact Centre Erasmus
Richard Liebrechts – Former partner at Ecorys and owner of Ripple-A
André Nijhof – Professor of Sustainable Business and Stewardship, Nijenrode
Rob van Tilburg – Sustainable Business Marketing Team Leader, Royal Haskoning DHV
Lynn Zebeda – Member of Alliander’s Board for the Future, co-founder of Dr. Monk
The stakeholder panel that assists us with the annual report forms part of our structural stakeholder dialogue. We shared a draft version of the 2017 annual report with the panel members. They responded to this in writing and their input was discussed in further detail during a lunch meeting on 19 January 2017. This meeting was also attended by our CFO Mark van Lieshout. The feedback was used to improve this report, and will also serve to further enhance the quality of our report. The stakeholder panel is independent. Perhaps you, too, would like to talk to us about the annual report or the themes confronting Alliander. We are open to dialogue and also regularly organise roundtable sessions with our stakeholders. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.