Basis of preparation

Reporting principles

Long-term value creation requires companies to steer both on the financial and non-financial aspects of business. Certain non-financial aspects contribute directly or indirectly to financial performance, and often have a greater impact over the medium to long term. At PostNL, we believe that an integrated approach towards performance management is key to ensuring the company creates stakeholder value in the long run.

Integrated Reporting as guidance

The Integrated Reporting framework of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) provides guidance on how companies should communicate about value creation. PostNL used the guiding principles and main content elements of the framework as a basis for this Annual Report. PostNL aims to further develop its corporate reporting communication about long-term value creation.

Sustainability Reporting Standards applied

PostNL prepared the non-financial information in this Annual Report in accordance with the core option of the 2016 Sustainability Reporting Standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The GRI standards provide relevant and clear requirements for sustainability reporting on economic, social and environmental aspects, while allowing for company-specific aspects to be reported. PostNL decided to report in accordance with the core option of GRI because not all specific disclosures on material GRI topics, which are reporting requirements in the comprehensive option, are relevant for the company.

In addition to the GRI requirements, we apply supplemental reporting criteria specific to PostNL for reporting elements which are not covered by GRI. This includes specific reporting definitions as presented in the Appendix 'Glossary and definitions'.

Commitment to UN Global Compact

As a UN Global Compact signatory since 2012, PostNL reports annually through an online submission its progress of implementing the ten UN Global Compact principles. These are related to human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. The Appendix 'UN Global Compact reference table' provides an overview of the ten principles and references to the descriptions of progress on those principles in this Annual Report.

Contributing to the SDGs

Until now, we have focused on our long-term impact on SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth) and SDG 13 (Climate action) and we concentrated our actions on making progress across our own operations. In 2019, we reviewed our SDG focus by carrying out an SDG impact analysis . We evaluated our impact based on a mapping between relevant topics for PostNL (see Materiality matrix) and the SDGs on a subtarget level. We validated the results during our stakeholder dialogue event and also compared the results with SDG trends in our sector. We learned that stakeholders expect us to look beyond our direct operations and pro-actively collaborate on our SDGs along the value chain.

Therefore, we decided to add two SDGs to our long-term priorities: SDG 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure) and SDG 12 (Responsible production and consumption). We also take action on other SDGs as part of our business model. Because all 17 SDGs are interrelated, the impact we make by focusing on the four SDGs relevant for PostNL also impacts the other SDGs.


Based on our SDG impact analysis, we assessed the long-term impact of our relevant topics in relation to our four priority SDGs. We distinguish our impact between doing good (improving our positive impact) and avoiding harm (mitigating negative impact). For each SDG, we mapped the relevant PostNL topics to the related SDG sub goals to provide insight into where our contribution to the SDGs is to do good and where to avoid harm. The SDGs and sub goals (or sub targets as defined by the UN) are described qualitatively. We link the SDGs to our strategy through our key material topics and other relevant topics from our Materiality matrix. We defined performance indicators on all our key material topics.

PostNL SDG 8 Decent work and economic growth

PostNL topic

Link to SDG sub goal (doing good)

Link to SDG sub goal (avoiding harm)

Engaged people

8.5 Sustainable employability

8.8 Provide favourable working conditions

Labour conditions


8.8 Protecting Human Rights

Diversity and inclusion

8.5 Inclusive workforce

8.5 Reduce inequalities

Health and safety


8.8 Prevent accidents and sickness

E-commerce growth

8.1 Contribute to sector growth


Managing declining mail volumes


8.1 Response to market decline

Product and process innovation

8.2 Higher levels of economic productivity



8.2 Higher levels of economic productivity

8.2 Full employment

PostNL SDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

PostNL topic

Link to SDG sub goal (doing good)

Link to SDG sub goal (avoiding harm)

Accessible, reliable and affordable postal services

9.1 Accessible, reliable and affordable mail


Sustainable city logistics

9.4 Upgrade infrastructure, clean and environmentally sound technologies and processes


PostNL SDG 12 Sustainable production and consumption

PostNL topic

Link to SDG sub goal (doing good)

Link to SDG sub goal (avoiding harm)

Responsible supply chain

12.7 Promote sustainable supply chain

12.7 Avoid non-compliance in procurement practices

Provide real-time information

12.6 Integrate sustainability in reporting cycle

12.6 Avoid cherry picking, ensure completeness

Air pollution


12.4 / 12.5 significantly reduce waste to air, soil and water to minimise adverse impacts on humans and environment

Circular economy

12.7 Collaborate with partners to promote a more sustainable supply chain

12.2 Sustainable and efficient use of natural resources

PostNL SDG 13 Climate action

PostNL topic

Link to SDG sub goal (doing good)

Link to SDG sub goal (avoiding harm)

Emission-free delivery

13.2 Improve education and awareness about climate change adaptation, mitigation and impact reduction

13.2 Reduce impact on climate change by implementing measures

Energy and GHG efficiency


13.2 Reduce impact on climate change by implementing measures

EU directive on non-financial information

As a large listed company in the Netherlands, PostNL has to comply with the EU directive on non-financial information (2014/95/EU). PostNL is required to report about non-financial information in relation to environmental, social and personnel matters, in respect of human rights and combatting bribery and corruption. The mandatory disclosures include:

  • Policies and results thereof ;

  • Main risks and how these are managed ;

  • Performance indicators, to the extent that these elements exist within PostNL.

Greenhouse Gas Protocol

PostNL uses the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol to report its greenhouse gas emissions. The production of direct and indirect CO2 emissions represents the main GHG of PostNL. We also take other GHG emissions into account, such as CH4 and N2O, and report our climate change impact in CO2 equivalents.

Aligning with Taskforce on Climate related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

PostNL recognises that climate change events can have an impact on our company and business. For many years, PostNL has included the reduction of GHG emissions in its strategy. Since 2018, we have externally disclosed that we are aligning our climate action approach to TCFD. In 2019, we further developed our long-term roadmap towards reducing our environmental impact in the next decade. We addressed all four TCFD reporting recommendation elements throughout this report.

PostNL TCFD reporting recommendation

TCFD reporting recommendation

TCFD element

Link to disclosures

  • Governance

  • Board oversight

  • Role of management

  • Strategy

  • Risks and opportunities

  • Impact of risks and opportunities

  • Resilience of the organisation

  • Risk Management

  • Processes for identifying and assessing risks

  • Processes for managing risks

  • Integration into overall risk management

  • Targets

  • Metrics used to assess

  • GHG Emissions

  • Targets

Reporting criteria

Explanation of reporting criteria used

The GRI standards provided a structured approach to prepare the non-financial information in this report. This includes universal disclosures and topic-specific disclosures. The universal disclosures consist of three key elements:

  1. Foundations: Defining report content & quality, requirements for preparing a report in accordance with GRI;

  2. General standard disclosures: Contextual information about PostNL, its strategy and governance and non-financial reporting practices; and;

  3. Management approach: Information on how PostNL manages its key material topics.

PostNL uses the topic-specific disclosures to describe the company’s impact related to each key material topic, expressed in key performance indicators.

In addition, PostNL has also taken into account two important elements in relation to value creation as described by the IIRC:

  • Strategic focus / future orientation: Information about the strategy and ability to create short-, medium- and long-term value and the ability to the use of and effect on the relevant capitals;

  • Connectivity: Show a holistic picture of the combination, interrelatedness and dependencies between the factors that affect the organisation’s ability to create value over time .

The GRI Content Index table in the Appendix 'GRI Content index' provides references to sections with specific information in relation to the GRI requirements in this report.

Description of reporting foundations

We follow the reporting foundations in line with the GRI standards. This includes engagement with stakeholders, putting sustainability data in context, assessing material topics and ensuring information in the report is complete.

Stakeholder engagement

PostNL's main stakeholder groups, and why these groups are relevant to us, are outlined in the chapter 'Our operating context'. We interact with a variety of stakeholders on a regular basis to understand their expectations, needs and interests. In addition to our day-to-day engagement, we also engage with them through a stakeholder dialogue event. In 2019 this event was held on 3 October, where we discussed a variety of topics, including our sustainability approach, relevant SDGs and priorities, "responsible production and consumption" and "diversity and inclusion". We discussed both short and long-term impact of relevant topics. Additionally, we use a materiality assessment to identify those topics that have the greatest influence on stakeholders' decisions, and which require management's strategic attention. In 2019, we also obtained input from representatives on our stakeholder dialogue event on our material topics, which we considered in updating our materiality matrix.

The following table details the topics of interest and the means of engagement with each stakeholder group.

PostNL Stakeholder engagement

Stakeholder group


Relevant topics

Our engagement


  • Business customers

  • Consumers

  • High quality logistic services

  • Innovative solutions

  • Convenient receiving options

  • Accessible and reliable services

  • Daily contact about services

  • Bi-annual customer satisfaction survey

  • Customer events and knowledge sessions

  • Annual stakeholder dialogue

Our people

  • Employees, directly and via works council

  • Trade unions

  • People employed by contracted parties

  • Independent parcel deliverers

  • Safe and secure work environment

  • Favourable working conditions

  • Development opportunities

  • Sustainable employability

  • Daily contact about day-to-day work

  • Regular team meetings and round table discussions

  • Regular contact with trade unions and work councils

  • Annual employee engagement surveys

  • Annual survey satisfaction delivery partners at Parcels

  • Annual stakeholder dialogue


  • Shareholders

  • Banks

  • Financial analysts

  • Financial performance and position

  • Short- and long-term value creation

  • Investment propositions

  • Meetings and conference calls with analysts and shareholders

  • Quarterly results and presentations

Government bodies

  • Federal government

  • Local governments

  • Regulators

  • Market developments

  • City logistics

  • Compliance with regulations

  • Round tables and meetings with (local) governments

  • Meetings and formal communication with regulators

  • Annual stakeholder dialogue

Opinion leaders and society

  • Media

  • Academic and research institutions

  • NGO's

  • Local communities

  • Market trends

  • Business events

  • Environmental issues

  • Social and societal issues

  • Ad hoc communication about events

  • Collaboration on research projects

  • Annual discussion at shareholders meeting with NGO representatives

  • Annual stakeholder dialogue

Business partners

  • Suppliers

  • Retail shops

  • Branch organisations

  • Collaboration

  • Procurement practices

  • Business ethics

  • Ad hoc collaboration through projects

  • Tender processes

  • Periodic contract negotiations and supplier evaluations

  • Ad hoc engagement on ethical topics

  • Annual stakeholder dialogue

Understanding the expectations of stakeholders helps PostNL to allocate resources effectively on relevant topics while focusing on adding short-, medium- and long-term value.

Sustainability context

Performance data becomes information only when put into context, which is an important principle we apply to our non-financial reporting. Our performance is influenced by our strategic actions and external circumstances, which could be sector or location specific and based on relevant trends and common goals, such as the SDGs. PostNL provides context to its performance on key material topics in the Business Report of this report.

Materiality assessment

PostNL interacts with its stakeholders on a great variety of relevant but different topics. Selecting the key material topics that drive our long-term value creation is required to bring focus to the Annual Report. This materiality concept is similar to financial reporting and is applied by evaluating the extent to which a topic influences stakeholders' decisions and the significance of PostNL’s impact on its environment, including stakeholders.

Identification of topics

PostNL used the following sources to prepare a long list of topics as a first step in the assessment:

  • Desktop research including:

    • Peer review

    • Market trends

    • Topics evaluated in prior years, through our Annual Reports

    • Interests of benchmarks and guidelines (such as DJSI, CDP, GRI)

    • Media search

  • Long-term impact related to the SDGs

  • Stakeholder dialogue on 3 October 2019;

  • Interviews with (senior) management representing certain stakeholder groups with whom they have regular contact.

Selecting key material topics

Based on the long list of topics from different inputs, we clustered topics based on their nature as a first step in the selection process. The prioritisation of topics was performed based on the following process:

  1. Using the results of the extensive materiality assessment of 2018 as a basis;

  2. Updating the wording of topics to report on more specific topics;

  3. Updating the prioritisation of topics in the materiality matrix by the Annual Report project team. This was based on developments within PostNL and its operating environment and the relative importance of different stakeholders;

  4. Discuss the prioritisation of topics through interviews with (senior) management representing relevant stakeholder groups and those responsible for PostNL’s strategic plans;

  5. Validate the materiality matrix with the Executive Committee which includes approval of PostNL's Board of Management.

List of topics and relation to value creation

PostNL mapped its material topics to the five different domains of value creation . These topics are the starting point of our value creation model, which can be found in the chapter 'How we create value'.


The final element of the report foundations relate to completeness of topics, clear boundaries and coverage of the topics over time, to sufficiently reflect the significance of PostNL’s impact.

Through the materiality assessment, PostNL selected, to the best of its knowledge, all relevant topics to include in this report. For each topic included in the non-financial disclosures, PostNL identified the topic boundaries where PostNL’s impacts occur and how PostNL is involved in these impacts.

For all key material topics, the main impact of PostNL’s activities occur in the Benelux, with the exception of environmental impact, where the main impact is outside the Benelux due to air transport of mail and parcels. For all key material topics, PostNL influences the impact by its direct activities. For the key material topics 'Customer experience', 'Emission-free delivery' and 'Sustainable city logistics', this influence is also impacted by indirect activities, mainly through activities carried out by others working for PostNL.

Safeguarding report quality

Quality principles

PostNL applied high quality standards when preparing the non-financial information in this Annual Report. This means that the company ensures that the information this report provides is:

  • Accurate: Precise and with sufficient level of detail

  • Balanced: Reflects both positive and negative aspects of performance

  • Clear: Understandable and accessible for stakeholders

  • Comparable: Consistent and allows for comparability over time

  • Reliable: Auditable

  • Timely: Allow stakeholders to make informed decisions.


PostNL has aligned the scope of reporting non-financial information with financial information. On certain areas the non-financial information scope differs from the financial reporting scope.

Acquisitions, divestments and mergers

We do not include information about joint ventures in the scope of non-financial information. New entities acquired during the reporting year will be included in the first reporting year in which the entity was part of PostNL the entire year. When we divest entities during the year, or when we classify entities as discontinued in our financial reporting, we exclude the non-financial information from the performance data in the report. For material and available information we will report the relevant non-financial performance information separately in this chapter of the report. In case of mergers, we evalued appropriate scoping on a case-by-case basis.

In line with our scoping policy, the 2019 non-financial performance statements are prepared excluding information from Sandd, as we do not have information about non-financial information in accordance with definitions we set in our reporting policies. Because the activities of Sandd will be fully integrated into our own operations, the information related to former Sandd activities will automatically be included in the non-financial reporting as of 2020.

Performance by parties in our value chain

The primary focus in our non-financial reporting is on our own direct operations. For certain information, we extend our reporting to performance of relevant parties in our value chain. Examples include information about fatal accidents where delivery partners of PostNL may be involved in. But also the CO2 emissions and kilometres of our transport partners, both in the Benelux and beyond including truck, air and boat transport. We include all emissions for transport directly arranged by PostNL. This excludes first- and last-mile transport where PostNL is not involved in organising the logistics.

Significant estimates and judgements

PostNL strives to report the non-financial information as accurate and complete as possible. Due to inherent limitations in relation to the uncertainty of measurement equipment and/or availability of actual data, we use estimates, assumptions and judgements in our reporting. Estimates, assumptions and judgements are based on historical experience and other factors, including reasonable expectations under given circumstances.

For certain information, such as accidents, it is difficult to determine reasonable expectations. We partly depend on the reporting discipline of our people for accidents occurred during the year. Despite all measures PostNL implemented, including an open safety culture, the inherent risk of incomplete accident reporting remains.

Significant estimates in emissions reporting

Emissions reporting provides inherent limitations to the accuracy of information. The main reason is the unavailability of data from contracted parties by PostNL about their factual transport kilometres, energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Actual emissions monitoring is not common and therefore conversion factors published by external institutes are used. PostNL used the following significant estimates to report its emissions:

Fuel consumption and kilometres of contracted partners

For the contracted partners in the Netherlands we calculate the fuel consumption using planned kilometres by vans from our operational systems and the average fuel consumption of our own fleet. In order to make conservative estimations, we assume all delivery partner use diesel vans in case we have no insight in the vehicles used. In 2019, we started to register information of vehicles used by delivery partners to obtain better insights in the vehicle mix. For the networks we have this mix available, we use it to estimate the fuel consumption per fuel type. Contrary to our own fleet,we do not know the exact kilometres driven by delivery partners. Therefore, we use planned kilometres from our operational systems in our estimation.

Kilometres transported by foot or bike to deliver mail in the Netherlands

We use several sources to calculate the amount of kilometres transported to deliver mail by foot or bike. All kilometres can be accurately determined based on actual data, except for two parts of the routes. For so-called sub-routes (between street and mailbox) we calculate the transported kilometres based on the estimated hitrate percentage of addresses that receive mail, and the estimated distance between the street and mailbox for every individual address. This is because not every household receives mail on a daily basis. The other estimate we use is related to part of the kilometres driven by e-bikes. Mail deliverers may charge these bikes either at home or at a PostNL location. We estimate the kilometres to return the bike to a PostNL location based on share of routes based on an assumed share of applicable routes.

Fuel consumption for international commercial linehaul activities

For both trucks and air freight, PostNL calculates the tonne-kilometres carried based on the distance travelled (between the Netherlands and the hub of the destination) and the actual weight of the mail and parcels transported. For trucks, PostNL uses publicly available route planning information, and for air travel PostNL uses publicly available information (Great Circle Mapper) to calculate the great circle distance between airports.

Energy consumption, CO2, NOx and PM10 emissions

We use standard publicly available Dutch conversion factors to convert activity data from buildings and vehicles to energy consumption in Terra Joules (TJ).

To calculate CO2 emissions of our total own operations and of subcontracted operations to our delivery partners in the Benelux, we use different external sources in order to estimate the emissions as accurately as possible.

PostNL uses the tank-to-wheel (TTW) conversion factors from activity data to CO2 emissions published by the UK government department for environment, food and rural affairs (DEFRA) as a basis. These factors are based on the annual submission of the GHG inventory for the UK to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is prepared in accordance with the guidelines of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The conversion factors of electricity use outside the UK are not provided by DEFRA, therefore PostNL uses the factors published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), an autonomous body in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). For the emissions of the discontinued operations in Germany and Italy, we calculate the emissions based on a combined average CO2 per euro revenue of Deutsche Post DHL and Royal Mail using data from their latest published Annual Reports.

The emissions of NOx and PM10 are not directly related to the usage of combustion fuels, but depend mainly on the efficiency of the engines of vehicles. The actual emissions of NOx and PM10 are not measured, therefore we use the maximum allowed emissions for the various European emission standards of vehicles we use (Euro 4, Euro 5 or Euro 6) in grams per kilometre. By using the maximum allowed emissions, PostNL reports the NOx and PM10 emissions conservatively.

Significant judgements

Customer satisfaction, employee engagement, brand reputation and delivery quality are indicators measured on sample basis. PostNL aims to report performance data that provides a representative view of the population from which the sample is taken. To achieve this representativeness, PostNL ensures the sample sizes are statistically sufficient and include all different sub populations to justify our assumption that the result of the measurement represents the view of the entire population for the indicators mentioned.

Data revisions

Developments in business, reporting requirements and methodology improvements influence the way PostNL measures, calculates and reports its performance data. Whenever PostNL updates its reporting scope or reporting methods, we also revise prior years’ data to keep the performance data comparable over time.

Improvements in data quality

During 2019, we have further improved our non-financial reporting processes and systems. This has resulted in the availability of more accurate data, which helped us in reporting certain information with higher accuracy. Within our social value domain, we improved our reporting on new hires and employee turnover . We were able to calculate these numbers more accurately, resulting in lower percentages accross the board in our comparative figures. The table below details the data revisions for employee new hires and turnover.

PostNL Effect of data revisions in comparative figures in Social value
2015-2018, as indicated

Year ended at 31 December





New hires


Male (share of total headcount) before data revision





Female (share of total headcount) before data revision





Total (share of total headcount) before data revision






Male (share of total headcount) after data revision





Female (share of total headcount) after data revision





Total (share of total headcount) after data revision








Male (share of total headcount) before data revision





Female (share of total headcount) before data revision





Total (share of total headcount) before data revision






Male (share of total headcount) after data revision





Female (share of total headcount) after data revision





Total (share of total headcount) after data revision





For the development of our plan towards our long-term science-based CO2 emission reduction targets, we obtained more accurate data of transport activities and vehicle mix of our subcontractors used by our smaller networks. Based on this information we were able to estimate the CO2 emissions more precisely compared to prior years. This resulted in more CO2 emissions per kilometre as basis for our estimation for these networks than our previous assumptions, and thus a increase in our scope 3 GHG emissions from subcontractors.

PostNL Effect of data revisions in comparative figures in Environmental value
2015-2018, in kilotonnes CO2e

Year ended at 31 December





Scope 3 GHG emissions


Independent parcel deliverers and other subcontractors before data revision





Independent parcel deliverers and other subcontractors after data revision





Reporting processes, systems and controls

PostNL uses formalised processes to record, validate and consolidate information in order to report non-financial performance data. PostNL integrated non-financials in the regular planning and control cycle, including budgeting, target setting and periodic performance monitoring. We collect and report non-financial performance data on selected key performance indicators on a monthly basis. Other indicators are reported biannually or annually depending on the nature of the indicators.

Similar to financial reporting, all reporting entities are responsible for their non-financial performance data and implement actions to steer on results. Although the majority of non-financial information is recorded in central PostNL systems, for several entities and indicators other systems are used. For our consolidation processes, we use an IT system covering both financial and non-financial data. For some performance indicators, such as employee engagement and loyalty, the data is prepared and collected centrally. We strive to report non-financial performance data based on actuals as much as possible. We focus on our key performance indicators. On other performance indicators, we may use extrapolation of results of big entities to determine the performance of smaller entities. This reduces the administrative tasks for smaller entities. We only use this method in cases where the extrapolations are reasonably predictable. In our data coverage table in Appendix 2 we provide insight into the information reported based on extrapolation.

In order to ensure that the data reported by different entities is consistent and of high quality, PostNL developed company-wide reporting definitions for each performance indicator. In addition, we implemented formal quality controls related to the reported data in the system for both the data owners (first line of defence) and control department (second line of defence). This includes decentral and central analytical procedures to evaluate the accuracy and completeness of reported data, as well as seeking explanations for unexpected trends in performance. PostNL uses its controls in a company-wide financial and non-financial internal control framework.

PostNL Performance of discontinued operations
2018, 2019




Social value








Fatal accidents



Recordable accidents (per 100 FTE)



Absenteeism (share of total working days)




Environmental value


Scope 1 GHG emissions (gross in ktCO2e)



Scope 2 GHG emissions (gross in ktCO2e)



Scope 3 GHG emissions (gross in ktCO2e)



Total GHG emissions (gross in ktCO2e)



  • 1 For Postcon, we only report the first ten months of 2019.

Similar to last year, we include non-financial information in relation to operations within Postcon and Nexive, which are classified as discontinued. We report on the non-financial information reported by these entities during 2019. As shown in the table above, the recordable accident frequency rate is higher than for our continued operations. This is partly explained by local requirements on recordable accidents in Germany and with a history of relative high numbers of recordable accidents in Italy. Absenteeism is comparable with prior years but higher than our continued operations. Uncertainty about the future of the companies due to the long divestment processes may have influenced these results.

The decrease in scope 3 emissions is mainly related to the fact that for Postcon we only report until October.

Forward-looking information

Some statements in this Annual Report are 'forward-looking statements'. By their nature, 'forward-looking statements' involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to and depend on circumstances that occur in the future. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are beyond PostNL’s control and impossible to predict and may cause actual results to differ materially from any future results expressed or implied. They are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts, analyses and projections about the industries in which PostNL operates and PostNL management’s beliefs and assumptions about future events.

Undue reliance cannot be placed on these 'forward-looking statements' by readers of this report. These statements only speak as of the date of this Annual Report and are neither predictions nor guarantees of future events or circumstances. PostNL does not undertake any obligation to release publicly any revisions to these statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this Annual Report or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as may be required under applicable securities laws.


PostNL’s Internal Audit department includes select non-financial information and related controls in the scope of their work. In addition to the internal controls and internal audit, PostNL engaged EY as our independent external auditor for our financial statements to provide reasonable assurance on the non-financial information in this Annual Report.

The scope of EY’s assurance includes the non-financial information in the following sections of this Annual Report:

  • Introduction

  • Business report (excluding the chapter 'Financial value')

  • Non-financial performance statements (excluding Assurance report of the independent auditor).

Guidelines, benchmarks, and initiatives

Our assessment of material topics is also based on dominant topics in guidelines and benchmarks, such as the GRI guidelines; the ten principles of the UN Global Compact, with respect to human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption, which we support; and the OECD guidelines. The following guidelines, benchmarks, and initiatives are particularly important for us.

Dow Jones Sustainability Index

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. In 2019, we were given a Bronze Award within the DJSI and were ranked in the top-10 of the Transport and Transportation industry. For further information, see

Carbon Disclosure Project

Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is a not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts. Over the past 15 years the organisation has created a system that has resulted in unparalleled engagement on environmental issues worldwide. In 2019 we were awarded a Level A- score by the CDP for our climate reporting, stabilising our performance of 2018.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations. The SDGs were established with the aim of ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all. As part of our materiality analysis, we carried out desk research on the external environment, including on the SDGs. We originally identified two SDGs that are most relevant for us: Decent work and economic growth, and Climate action. In 2019 we added two additional SDGs to our long-term priorities: SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) and SDG 12 (Responsible production and consumption). In the chapter: How we create value, we explain in more detail the steps we have taken to accomplish these goals.

UN Global Compact

The UN Global Compact is an initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation. The UN Global Compact is a principle-based framework for businesses, stating ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. Under the Global Compact, companies are brought together with UN agencies, labour groups and civil society.

International Post Corporation

The IPC is the leading service provider of the global postal industry that provides leadersihp by driving service quality, interoperability and business-critical intelligence to support posts in defending existing business and expanding into new growth areas. It is a cooperative association of 24 member postal operators in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America.

Dutch Diversity Charter

The Dutch Diversity Charter was launched in The Hague in July 2015, with 22 employers from the public and private sector. The Diversity Charter is an essential part of the project Diversity at Work. Through this project the Dutch Labour Foundation wants to support employers and employees in the public and private sector in their efforts to increase diversity in their businesses and work towards a more inclusive environment. PostNL was one of the original signatories of the Charter.

Talent to the Top

We are active in the Talent to the Top Charter. The Charter was developed in 2008, in close consultation with the business sector, public bodies and the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Education, Culture & Science. The aim is to achieve a higher intake, promotion and retention of female talent in top jobs.


BREEAM, Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, is a globally-recognised method for assessing, rating and certifying the sustainability of buildings. The assessment covers a range of environmental issues, including evaluating energy and water use, health and wellbeing, pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes. Buildings are rated and certified on a scale of 'Pass', 'Good', 'Very Good', 'Excellent' and 'Outstanding'. We built our most recent parcel distribution and processing centres in accordance with BREEAM 'Outstanding’.

Lean & Green

Lean & Green is Europe’s leading programme for sustainable logistics. It stimulates organisations to achieve a higher level of sustainability, by taking measures that are not only cost efficient, but also focused on reducing the environmental impact, resulting in a more efficient logistical process. Lean & Green is operated by Connekt, an independent network for smart, sustainable and social mobility, and logistics. In 2019, we maintained our Lean & Green second star for our Parcels segment.


EcoVadis provides holistic Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) ratings service of companies, delivered via a global cloud-based SaaS platform. The EcoVadis Rating covers a broad range of non-financial management systems including Environmental, Labor & Human Rights, Ethics and Sustainable Procurement impacts. Each company is assessed on the material issues as they pertain to their company's size, location and industry. These evidence-based assessments are refined into easy to read scorecards, providing zero to one hundred (0-100) scores, and medals (bronze, silver, gold), when applicable. In 2019, we received a gold medal based on the Ecovadis rating. For more information, see