Glossary and definitions

Total hours of absence divided by the total contractual working days.
The Universal Postal Union is a specialised agency of the UN and is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players worldwide.
Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets.
Application programming interfaces (API)
An API specifies how different computer programs should interact, by clearly defining a set of communication methods between various software components. We build our own APIs, which make it easier for our customers to interact with our software, such as Track & Trace.
A chartered accountant (register accountant) or other auditor referred to in section 393 of book 2 of the Dutch Civil Code or an organisation in which such auditors work together.
Biogas is broadly defined as gas consisting of or derived from biomass. Biogas consists of CO2 that has recently been extracted from the atmosphere as a result of growing plants and trees, and therefore does not influence the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere over a longer period of time. This is in contrast to fossil fuels, such as natural gas or crude oil, which are stored over millions of years so that their combustion and subsequent emissions do influence CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
Business travel
Business travel refers to all business-related travel for work, other than employee commuting, including travel by air.
Carbon neutral
Carbon neutral means that the net CO2 equivalent emissions from activities are zero.
Sustainable electricity
Sustainable is electricity from ‘green’ or ‘renewable’ sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric and ocean energy, purchased during the reporting period for power and lighting of all company locations (where this can be established from utility suppliers’ invoices or other means). It does not include nuclear electricity.
CO2 efficiency
The CO2 efficiency is the term used to express the relative impact of CO2. In relation to the key performance indicators, this means the total net direct and indirect (scope an and scope 2) CO2 emissions from our operations divided by the total number of kilometres transported from our own operations. The efficiency numer is the grammes of CO2 per kilomtre transported.
Company cars
Company-owned or leased vehicles at the disposal of an employee for commuting and business travel.
Corporate responsibility (CR)
Corporate responsibility is the umbrella term for the obligation a company has to consider the social (corporate social responsibility) and environmental (sustainability) impact of its activities and to go beyond this obligation in the treatment of economic, environmental and social activities to sustain its operations, financial performance and ultimately its reputation.
Customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is an indicator of customer opinion towards the services we provided in the reporting period. We measure and categorise customer satisfaction into ‘satisfied customers’ and ‘highly satisfied customers’ through an online survey, which is carried out by an independent research company twice per year. The score is based on a questionnaire with mutiple choice answers on a five-point scale (1 represents 'highly satisfied'and 1 to 3 'satisfied'.
Delivery quality
Delivery of a consignment within the time frame set for the service in question. An independent research firm tests our delivery process, by sending trackable letters through our network. These letters are scanned along the entire sorting process, enabling us to identify any delays.
This refers to the digital transformation of society in which digital information and communication play an increasingly important role in all facets of life. This is different from digitisation, which refers to the transformation of analogue information into digital information. This process is necessary for the processing, modelling, and storage of data.
Disabled employees
Disabled employees are employees on the payroll whose medical condition has been recognised by the relevant authorities as a disability.
Dow Jones Sustainability Indices
Launched in 1999, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices are the first global indices to track the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide. They provide asset managers and other stakeholders with reliable and objective benchmarks for managing sustainability portfolios. For further information, see
The online buying and selling of products and service by businesses and consumers.
Emission-free delivery
Emission-free delivery means the delivery of goods without CO2 emissions. In relation to the key performance indicator, emission-free delivery means the delivery of letters and parcels from the last sorting activity before distribution to the final destination (last-mile) in the Benelux without CO2 emissions. This also includes the collection of mail and parcels, but excludes transport by large trucks.
Employee engagement
Employee engagement refers to the number of employees (employed by PostNL for three months or more) who stated in the employee engagement survey that they were ‘engaged’ or ‘more than engaged’ by PostNL as an employer. An ‘engaged employee’ is one who feels connected to the company, is enthusiastic about its work, and actively aims to improve the company and its reputation. The score is based on an average of five questions with a multiple choice answer. The methodology for 2019 is exactly the same compared to prior years. Starting 2020, we will report the same indicators using a slightly different method. We already started monitoring following this method to allow for comparison in the 2020 Annual Report.
Employee loyalty
The number of employees (employed by PostNL for three months or more) who stated in the employee engagement survey that they expect to stay within PostNL or stated not to expect to leave PostNL.
Environmental incident
An environmental incident is an incident that has led to the pollution of soil, water or air. This includes failures, breakdowns, floods, spillages, leaks and so forth. Environmental incidents are divided into onsite and offsite incidents. Onsite incidents occur at sorting and delivery centres, hubs, offices and other locations owned, leased, rented or operated directly by PostNL. Offsite incidents occur away from sorting and delivery centres, hubs, offices and other locations owned, leased, rented or operated directly by PostNL.
European emission standards
Euro 4, Euro 5 and Euro 6 are mandatory European emission standards (EU directives) applicable to new road vehicles sold in the European Union. They define levels of vehicular emissions such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM10).
Fatal accidents
The death of any person because of an occupational accident. An occupational accident is an unexpected and unplanned occurrence, including acts of violence, arising out of or in connection with work activities performed for PostNL. It doesn’t matter where the fatal accident has taken place or which person (employee or third party) is a casualty.
Full-time equivalents (FTEs)
FTEs refer to the total number of hours worked by the headcount divided by the local number of contract hours (e.g. 40 p/w or 196 p/m).
General data protection regulation (GDPR)
The GDPR is an EU regulation (Algemene Verordening Gegevensbescherming - AGV in Dutch) aiming to protect all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches in today’s data-driven world. More can be found on
General Meeting of Shareholders
The meeting of shareholders and other persons entitled to attend meetings.
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
The GRI is a multi-stakeholder process and an independent institution whose mission is to develop and disseminate globally-applicable sustainability reporting guidelines for voluntary use by organisations that report on the economic, environmental and social dimensions of their business. The GRI incorporates participation of business, accountancy, investment, environmental, human rights and research and labour organisations from around the world. The GRI began in 1997 in partnership with the United Nations and became an independent body in 2002. It continues to collaborate with the United Nations Environment Programme and works with the United Nations Global Compact. For more information, see
Green gas
Green gas is a sustainable variant of natural gas and is produced by upgrading biogas to the same quality as natural gas. Green gas is a renewable fuel, which is produced cleanly.
Greenhouse Gas Protocol
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) was established in 1998 to develop internationally-accepted accounting and reporting standards for greenhouse gas emissions of companies.
Group company
A group company as defined in article 2:24b of the Dutch Civil Code.
Headcount is the number of employees on the payroll in active duty working for fully consolidated companies.
International Financial Reporting Standards.
IFRS, as adopted by the European Union.
Internal promotion
The number of PostNL employees appointed to vacancies in management positions at the end of a reporting period. This refers to the number of actual appointments, not the number of FTE positions.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of devices that connects online and shares data. This includes vehicles, buildings, white goods (such as fridges), and even clothes, which contain electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity. The IoT allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, resulting in improved efficiency, economic growth, and innovations. Estimates are that the IoT will consist of almost 50 billion objects by 2020.
Investors in People (IiP)
Developed in 1990 by a partnership of leading businesses and national organisations, IiP helps organisations to improve performance and realise objectives through the management and development of their staff. For further information, see
ISO (International Organization for Standardization)
The ISO is a network of national standards institutes from 146 countries working in partnership with international organisations, governments, industry, business and consumer representatives. The ISO is the source of ISO 9000 standards for quality management, ISO 14000 standards for environmental management and other international standards for business, government and society. For further information, see
ISO 9001 (quality management)
The ISO 9000 standards cover an organisation’s practices in fulfiling customers’ quality requirements and applicable regulatory requirements while aiming to enhance customer satisfaction and achieve continual improvement of its performance in pursuit of these objectives.
ISO 14001 (environmental management)
The ISO 14001 standards are international standards for controlling environmental aspects and improving environmental performance, minimising harmful effects on the environment and achieving continual improvements in environmental performance.
Key performance indicators (KPIs)
KPIs are measurements that focus on achieving outcomes critical to the current and future success of an organisation. These indicators should deal with matters that are linked to the organisation’s mission and vision, and are quantified and influenced where possible.
Recordable accident
Work-related accident that results in an injury with a physical impact beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.
Information is material if errors, omissions or incorrect presentation can influence the evaluation or decisions of users of the information.
Non-financial information
All information other than financial information is non-financial information. This includes, but is broader than terms PostNL used before, such as Corporate Responsibility (CR) Information.
Number of supervisory positions
According to Dutch law, the number of supervisory positions that managing and Supervisory Board members may hold in certain companies is limited (article 2:132a of the Dutch Civil Code for managing board members and article 2:142a of the Dutch Civil Code for Supervisory Board members). Since 1 January 2013 a person is prohibited from being appointed member of the Supervisory Board of more than five so-called large entities (including PostNL), whereby a chairman position counts twice. Existing positions are exempt, but if they exceed five, they must be reconsidered at the moment of (re)appointment. Board members holding more than the maximum number of positions on 1 January 2013 are not obliged to resign from these positions, but positions must be reconsidered at the time of reappointment.
OHSAS 18001 (occupational health and safety management)
OHSAS 18001 is a standard for occupational health and safety management systems. It is intended to help organisations control occupational health and safety risks and was developed in response to widespread demand for a recognised standard for certification and assessment. OHSAS 18001 was created through the collaboration of several of the world’s leading national standards bodies, certification organisations and consultancies. For further information, see
An omnichannel organisation is one that focuses on the customer, without being dependent on time, place and channel. Customers experience a consistent experience across all channels because the organisation provides relevant and immediately available information and content.
Goods to be transported by a distribution company, weighing up to approximately 30 kg.
Particulates, alternatively referred to as particulate matter (PM), such as fine particles and soot, are tiny subdivisions of solid matter suspended in a gas or liquid. The notation PM10 is used to describe particles of 10 micrometres or less.
PostNL N.V.
A public limited liability company incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands, listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, with its statutory seat in The Hague, the Netherlands, and its registered office at Prinses Beatrixlaan 23, 2595 AK The Hague, the Netherlands, until 31 May 2011 named TNT N.V.
PostNL (Group)
PostNL N.V. and its Group companies.
Progress on transformation
When we talk about progress on transformation we means the progress we make to become the logistics and postal service provider in the Benelux. We monitor our progress by measuring the share of Parcels revenues from contracts with customers compared to the total revenue of PostNL.
Reputation score
Reputation is a perception about the degree of admiration, positive feelings, esteem and trust an individual has for an organisation. Reputation is rooted in an assessment of the performance of an organisation over time, including in the past and with expectations about the future. Our reputation score is measured quarterly by the Reputation Institute, which measures reputation across stakeholders, countries and industries. It tracks 23 key performance indicators grouped around seven core dimensions.
Retail location
A retail location is a location where goods or services are sold directly to consumers. In the context of PostNL for the Annual Report, this includes retail shops, business points, parcel points and post offices.
Serious accident
A serious accident is an occupational accident where a PostNL employee is admitted to a hospital ward within 30 days after the accident happened. An occupational accident is an unexpected and unplanned occurrence, including acts of violence, arising out of or in connection with work activities performed for PostNL.
Processing and distribution centres
The sorting and delivery centres within our Parcels segment. These centres operate automated sorting, and are all directly connected by linehauls and serve as a starting point for distribution rounds and returns handling.
TNT Express
The former public limited liability company which was demerged from TNT N.V. on 31 May 2011 and until 25 May 2016 the ultimate parent company of the former express activities of TNT N.V. On 25 May 2016 it was acquired by FedEx, and subsequently delisted from the Amsterdam Stock Exchange on 4 July 2016.
Until the demerger of TNT Express on 31 May 2011, TNT N.V. was a public limited liability company incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands, listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. Following the demerger on 31 May 2011, it was renamed PostNL N.V.
Universal Service Obligation. The designation as Universal Service Provider obliges PostNL to collect and deliver domestic mail and parcels five days a week (mourning cards and medical post six days a week), and to provide for cross-border mail and parcels according to the Universal Postal Union (UPU) rules.
Working hours
The total number of individually-calculated working hours adjusted for overtime, leave or similar deviations.
Working days
The total number of individually-calculated working days adjusted for overtime, leave or similar deviations.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
NOx (NO and NO2) refers to nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen oxides are produced during combustion, especially at high temperatures.
Corporate governance
The OECD (see reference in this glossary) defines corporate governance as the system by which corporations are directed and controlled. The corporate governance structure specifies the distribution of rights and responsibilities among different participants, such as the board, managers, shareholders and other stakeholders, and defines the rules and procedures for making decisions. In doing so, it also provides the structure by which company objectives are set and the means of attaining those objectives and monitoring performance.