Stakeholder engagement and materiality

As a listed company with a long and proud history in the Netherlands, we have an intricate stakeholder landscape. We engage with our stakeholders in different ways, on different levels and on different topics to better understand their interests and the way our activities affect their decision-making process. This helps us understand which topics are most material, and are of greatest significance to stakeholders, so that we can prioritise these in our Materiality matrix. Our main stakeholder groups, and the main topics of engagement, are summarised below. More information about our stakeholder engagement can be found in the 'Non-financial statements'


PostNL considers all discussion topics with stakeholders relevant. Disclosures in our Annual Report are based on those deemed most material. To identify what is a key material topic, we first carry out a materiality analysis to prioritise the topics we have identified, and then rank them based on two dimensions.

  • Dimension one: what is most important to our stakeholders, influencing their assessments and decisions. This is the vertical axis.

  • Dimension two: the significance of the societal impact of PostNL with the topic. This is the horizontal axis.

Materiality matrix

All topics in the Materiality matrix lead to direct or indirect financial impact. We categorised all topics in five domains based on the primary impact domain. The domains relate to different sections in the Business Report and Governance section of this report. The categorisation in the five domains is presented in the Materiality matrix. Topics ranked in the upper right-hand section of the Materiality matrix represent the key material topics for the company.
These eight topics best reflect where PostNL creates long-term value. All other topics in the matrix remain important and often contribute to the value created with our key material topics. In order to positively contribute to the material topics of our stakeholders, while optimising our impact on society, we use the key material topics as input for our value creation model.

Key material topics explained

Having evaluated our operating context and looked at how we create value for society, including shareholders and other stakeholders, we defined eight key material topics for 2021. For each key material topic we developed performance indicators to measure progress on the outcomes of our value creation model.

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PostNL Key material topics

Key material topic


Customer experience

The experience we bring to customers and consumers through our services and way of working in order to capture e-commerce growth, keep mail relevant and strengthen our reputation. This includes customer interaction, enhancing and innovating our business based on customer needs, establishing partnerships along our value chain and delivering high-quality, smart logistic solutions.

Financial performance and position

Investors and other providers of capital evaluate the financial performance and position in their investment decisions. Generating a sustainable financial performance and a healthy financial position creates value for investors and for PostNL. It contributes to the economic value of our company and enables us to create room for investments in the development and growth of our business.

Engaged people

Motivated people, working with and for PostNL, are key to carrying out our activities to deliver the customer experience we aim for. The engagement of our people is influenced by our labour and working practices, our collaboration with logistics partners, such as delivery partners, as well as communication and dialogue to obtain feedback as input for improvements.

Digitalisation and data

Strengthen our current and future business model through the digitalisation of our processes and service offerings, in combination with data-driven decision making and providing insights for customers. This will drive enhanced operational effectiveness and innovation to our business model. At the same time, protecting data and privacy of our company, our people and our customers.

Health and safety

Provide a safe and healthy work environment for our people, physically and mentally. Respond appropriately to changing government policies in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. Being an employer for all, focusing on diversity and inclusion, and providing equal opportunities.

Climate change

Mitigation: Reducing CO2 emissions both in our own operations and outsourced activities. Fleet transition toward emission-free logistics. Using renewable fuels as transitional fuel. Sustainable buildings and facilities and collaborate with customers on green products and services.
Adaptation: Identify and limit potential risks for our business and value chain partners as a result of acute or chronic extreme weather events.

Accessible and reliable postal services

Keeping mail relevant by ensuring connection between senders and receivers every day in every street in the Netherlands; protecting our position as the designated provider under the USO and providing employment for our many employees. This includes availability of PostNL locations across the Netherlands, good labour practices and reliability of our services.

E-commerce growth

Contribution to and profiting from the growth of the online business. This relates to the expansion of current markets, including managing network capacity, and contributing to the development and growth of new online markets and customers, for example in relation to online platforms and the health sector.

Making impact together

At PostNL, we believe that sharing ideas and working together helps us become smarter, faster and better able to create a more lasting impact on society and the environment. This is why each year we engage a broad group of stakeholders in an open dialogue, using the insights we gather to further shape our policies and accelerate our plans and programmes.

In 2021, our stakeholder dialogue focused on three themes: Human Rights, Climate Adaptation and Diversity & Inclusion. In a series of interactive roundtable sessions, we discussed our approach to the themes, and how we can work with stakeholders to address them, and the impact they have on PostNL and our value chain. We also surveyed a large group of stakeholders on the importance they place on the themes in relation to PostNL.