Miscellaneous/appendices

About this report

The principal objective of this Annual Report is to inform stakeholders (interested parties) about GasTerra's vision and activities. As corporate social responsibility is embedded in the conduct of GasTerra, the company reports on the financial and social elements in a single annual report.

In addition to the financial statemens and the combined audit declaration, the 2017 GasTerra

Annual Report contains other information, i.e.:

  • The GasTerra Management Report, in the foreword and in chapters I, II, III and IV;
  • The Report of the Board of Supervisory Directors, in chapter III;
  • The other information in accordance with Part 9 of Book 2 of the Dutch Civil Code.

Scope

The scope of the report is GasTerra B.V., which has its registered office in Groningen. This annual report covers the 2017 calendar year. The report on the 2016 calendar year was published on 16 February 2017.

Integrated report

The financial, operational and social information is incorporated into an integrated report.

  • Financial responsibility is in accordance with Part 9 of Book 2 of the Dutch Civil Code.
  • Non-financial responsibility is in accordance with the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) (Standards, Core Level).

Transparency

We consider it important to be transparent about our activities. We therefore apply the best practices from the Corporate Governance Code and participate in the Transparency Benchmark scheme of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Our 2016 annual report scored 168 points on this benchmark (2015: 163 points).

Determination of the content (materiality)

The material issues, which are partly determined by the outcomes of the stakeholder dialogue, largely determine the content and limits of our reporting.
For the past few years, an internal methodology has been used for the stakeholder dialogue. In this approach, GasTerra employees, known as ‘relationship managers’, represent one or more stakeholders. They monitor the opinions and preferences of these stakeholders. In 2017 we evaluated this methodology and decided to take a different approach, asking stakeholders for their views directly through a survey. We also held interviews with various stakeholder groups to delve into the key issues in more detail.

The stakeholder groups were redefined this year. Some groups have been renamed, while others have been combined. The media group has been dropped. There are now nine groups in total.

Stakeholder groups 2016 Stakeholder groups 2017
Clients Clients
Staff Employees
Shareholders Shareholders
Producers and suppliers Producers and transport
Management and political National government and market regulators
Knowledge institutions Knowledge and educational institutions
Sectoral organisation Sectoral organisations
NGO's Social organisations
Neighbours and environment Regional groups
Authority for Consumers and Markets Dropped as separate group
Media Dropped

When we conducted the previous stakeholder dialogue we noticed that the definitions of the issues was not clear. For that reason we have revised the list. All the issues from last year’s list have been included in the new version, with the exception of the issue of Transparency. This issue is part of all the themes and is regarded as a fundamental value. GasTerra wishes always to communicate as clearly and openly as possible about its activities and objectives, without however undermining commercial interests and the privacy of employees.

The following issues were presented to the stakeholders in 2017.

Stakeholder dialogue  
Contractual obligation The extent to which GasTerra complies with its contractual obligations by having enough gas in the portfolio at every point in the year
Economic performance The extent to which GasTerra contributes to the operating result of its shareholders
Support for activities The extent to which GasTerra creates support for its activities
Sustainable deployability The extent to which GasTerra creates a good working environment, with a suitable culture and structure, and encourages employees to develop
Sustainable energy supply The extent to which GasTerra contributes to the sustainable energy supply
Compliance with guidelines and frameworks
 The extent to which GasTerra chooses to comply with generally applicable guidelines and frameworks, such as GRI, Sustainable Development Goals and ISO norms
Internal footprint The extent to which GasTerra minimises its own environmental footprint
Knowledge The extent to which GasTerra acquires, develops and shares knowledge
Involvement in the region
The extent to which GasTerra is involved in the North Netherlands region

The new quantitative and qualitative approach to the stakeholder dialogue brings up a number of issues which the stakeholders regard as material for GasTerra because of their economic, ecological or social impact.

GasTerra management has compared the interest which stakeholders attach to the issues with the interest that GasTerra attaches to them. This results in five material issues: contractual obligation, economic performance, support for activities, sustainable deployment and sustainable energy supply. These issues form the basis of the management report. The report is structured so as to contain reports from us on developments in 2017 for each material issue and targets for 2018.

The table below sets out in broad outline how relations with stakeholders are maintained in addition to the stakeholder dialogue. 

Stakeholder group Example Interaction via
Clients Energy firms and power plants, industries, export clients Consultation with account managers, relationship event, periodic client satisfaction survey, 2017 stakeholder dialogue
Staff Works council, trade union Regular consultation, Intranet, internal presentations, meetings between the works council and management, 2017 stakeholder dialogue
Shareholders Shell Nederland B.V., Esso Nederland B.V., EBN B.V., Dutch State Shareholders assemblies, Expert consultation, Advisory committee, Audit committee, College of Delegate Supervisory Directors, Supervisory Board, 2017 stakeholder dialogue
Producers and Transport Gas suppliers, GTS Consultation with account managers, relationship event, 2017 stakeholder dialogue,
National government and market regulators Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) Via Energie Nederland, ad hoc consultation, 2017 stakeholder dialogue
Knowledge and education institutions Hanze College, University of Groningen, New Energy Coalition, Clingendael, CE Delft Internships, guest lectures, project contributions, stakeholder dialogue 2017
Sectoral organisations Energie Nederland federation, KVGN, Eurogas, VEMW, Nogepa, EFET, EASEE Gas Periodic consultation, participation in working groups, board membership, Energy podium dinners*, 2017 stakeholder dialogue
Social organisations NBR/Save the Climate, Greenpeace, Nature and Environment Foundation Energy podium dinners, 2017 stakeholder dialogue
Regional parties Sponsors, regional non-gas suppliers, communities, local government Relationship event sponsored groups, periodic consultation, 2017 stakeholder dialogue

* The www.energiepodium.nl website, a GasTerra initiative, was launched in 2010 and has the objective of broadening and deepening the energy supply debate by exchanging views. Over the course of the year, events called ‘energy podium dinners’ are held, in which energy specialists from industry, science, the government, politics and social organisations discuss current issues.

The material issues in 2017 were: position of gas, health & safety, transparency, sustainable or more sustainable products, short-term security of supply and the future of GasTerra. These were used as a basis for formulating targets for 2017. The material issues for 2018 include the aspects which stakeholders and GasTerra considered important among these subjects.

The table below shows the targets for material issues in 2017 and the results achieved.

Material issue 2017 target Result
Position of gas GasTerra will carry out the ‘Gas by Design’ proposal of the gas sector.

GasTerra will contribute to the rational transition towards a climate-neutral energy supply:



In 2017 hybrid heat pumps will be installed in more than 100 homes on Ameland, and initial experience with the social, economic and technical aspects of this heating technology will be reported.



In 2017 preparations will be made for installing a fermenter in the Ameland sewage plant.
GasTerra highlighted the proposal during meetings and in news reports.


In 2017 approximately 100 hybrid heat pumps were installed on Ameland. Experience with the social, economic and technical aspects will be reported in 2018.

With the support of GasTerra, a consortium of companies is working on a plan for a trial plant on Ameland.
Sustainable or more sustainable products GasTerra will produce a plan of action to describe how green gas production can be further encouraged, and will together with Gasunie head up a green gas project in the context of ‘Gas as part of long-term sustainable energy management’ (GILDE).

GasTerra expects to buy 70 million cubic metres of green gas for 2017.
In 2017 GasTerra set up the Green Gas department in order to make a more intensive and focused contribution to the growth of the production and use of green gas.


The GILDE green gas project is still ongoing 



GasTerra bought 46 million cubic metres of green gas in 2017.
Short-term security of supply GasTerra will comply fully with its contractual obligations and will apply a failure standard of one hour’s failure in 20 years for the security of supply of its portfolio. GasTerra complied with its contractual obligations.
Transparency GasTerra will aim to achieve a score of between 150 and 170 points on the transparency benchmark when drawing up its annual report. GasTerra received a score of 168 on the transparency benchmark in 2017.
Future of GasTerra In GasTerra 2018, GasTerra committed to cutting its running costs and FTE headcount. Running costs will remain within (the lower) budget.



GasTerra will meet its financial targets.
The promised cut in running costs and the number of ftes, as well as the financial obligations, were achieved.

Management of material issues

CSR is an integral part of the strategy at GasTerra and is therefore embedded into our day-to-day operations. As described in the chapter ‘In dialogue with our stakeholders’ , GasTerra has integrated the materiality matrix and associated objectives and activities into the Business Plan which is approved by the Board of Supervisory Directors. Monitoring of progress and activities is included in the regular reporting cycle and discussed once a month by the College of Delegate Supervisory Directors and the Audit Committee.

Accounting principles

Information Definition/calculation method
Sickness absence (in %) The number of calendar days (including weekends) lost due to sickness in the observation period, divided by the number of staff (in full-time equivalents), multiplied by the number of calendar days in the observation period.
Average absenteeism rate The average number of times that an employee reports sick per year.
Gas consumption The gas consumption of the GasTerra offices at Stationsweg in Groningen according to the final settlement from the energy supplier.
Electricity The electricity consumption of the GasTerra offices at Stationsweg in Groningen according to the final settlement from the energy supplier.
Water consumption The water consumption of the GasTerra offices at Stationsweg in Groningen according to the final settlement from the energy supplier.
Paper consumption The paper consumption according to the readings from the supplier of the copy machines.

Facts and figures

Staff trends

As of 31 December 2017, 165 (152.4 fte) people were permanent employees of GasTerra, compared with 177 (165 fte) at the end of 2016. To further flexibility, since 2014 it has been GasTerra’s policy to only take on new staff via the 'payrolling system'. This means that the staff are employed by a payroll firm under similar conditions of employment as GasTerra employees.
 
GasTerra has its own collective labour agreement and the company's staff are actively involved in the sectoral trade union, the VPG2. The collective labour agreement ran out on 1 January 2016. A new collective labour agreement took effect at the start of 2018, and the parties agreed that the previous collective labour agreement remained in force for 2016 and 2017. 

Together with N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie (Dutch natural gas infrastructure and transmission company), GasTerra is affiliated with the Stichting Pensioenfonds Gasunie (Gasunie Pension Fund Foundation). GasTerra’s employees have a pension scheme administered here. An explanation of this scheme is contained in the financial statements. 

   2017 2016
Fte (year end) 152.4 165*
Number (year end) 165 (121 men and 44 women) 177 (130 men and 47 women)**
Fixed-term contract of employment (year end) - -
Permanent contract of employment (year end) 165 177
Staff covered by a collective labour agreement (year end) 141 152
Staff employed under payrolling (year end) 13 15
Participation Act (year end) 3 3
Secondments (year end) 8 6
Interns (year end) 5 4
Degree of organisation >80% >80%
Outflow 13 7
Inflow 1 -
Absence due to illness 1.6% 3.0%
Average absenteeism rate 1.03 0.89
Accidents leading to time off work - 1

* The method used to determine numbers for the 2017 report is different from that used in 2016. The comparison figures for 2016 have been adjusted in line with this new definition.
** In the annual report for 2016, incorrect numbers for the male/female distribution are shown. These are the correct numbers.

GasTerra’s footprint

We believe that it is important for sustainability to be enshrined inside and outside our organisation. GasTerra helps its clients in this regard, but we are also aware of the impact of our own business operation. When purchasing non-gas related products and services, we take sustainability into account as a criterion in the decision-making process alongside price and quality. We also consider the suppliers’ locations. We prefer to work with local suppliers in order to stimulate the Groningen economy.

The nature of our activities mean that our company has a small footprint. But we still try to minimise it further where possible. We do this, for example, by monitoring our own energy use but also by encouraging staff to travel by public transport or bicycle. We enable working from home by flexiplaces and digital facilities.

GasTerra offsets the CO2 emissions caused by flights and car leasing. We also offset the CO2emissions of our office by purchasing carbon credits from the Climate Neutral Group (CNG). Offsetting is done via a sustainable gold standard project that invests in biogas installations for families in Tanzania.

Footprint GasTerra 2017 2016
Gas consumption 38,743 cubic metres 27,174 cubic metres
Electricity consumption 377,265 kWh 348,619 kWh
Water consumption 1,163 cubic metres 1,270 cubic metres
Paper consumption 319,416 sheets 333,336 sheets
Regional purchase of non-gas related goods and services 7.5 million euros (total expenditure 18.1 million euros) 26.4 million euros (total procurement expenditure 36.8 million euros)

Involvement in the region

As a Groningen company, we focus our sponsorship mainly on the town and region of Groningen. GasTerra sponsors various activities in the fields of culture, education, society and mass-participation sport. Sponsorship has mainly a social function, but also raises the profile of the company and its business activities.

In 2017 we spent 326,000 euros on sponsorship and donations (in 2016: 500,000 euros). Our sponsorship and donations budget has shrunk in line with the changing market circumstances and the associated need to drive down costs. We continue to receive many requests for sponsorship. In response, we spend less money on each individual sponsorship so that we can continue to support social partners. Sponsorship contracts are normally taken out for a definite period so that new parties can also become eligible for funding.

The aim of the ‘GasTerra for Groningen’ project, launched in 2015, is to contribute to improving the structure of the Groningen economy. We also see this as a way of boosting the image of gas and the role of GasTerra in the province of Groningen. We do this by offering financial support, knowledge and resources to the ‘De Uitdaging 'project and via ‘The GasTerra Energy Saving fund' set up in 2017. The aim of this fund is to encourage energy saving among social institutions in which GasTerra staff are involved. This is done by granting an interest-free loan that is “earned back” by energy bill savings. The money brought back can be reused for new investments in energy saving. The first project was conducted at Semslanden golf club in Gasselte in 2017.

Standards and norms

GasTerra attaches a great deal of importance to safeguarding the quality and integrity of the staff's actions. One of the tools that the company uses for this is a code of conduct with norms and values. New GasTerra employees formally undertake to comply with the code of conduct at the beginning of their employment. Attention is also regularly drawn to the code of conduct within the organisation. A Compliance Officer has been appointed who is responsible for implementing this programme among other duties. The objective of this is to make staff aware of the importance of the duty to adhere to legislative and other regulatory requirements applicable to GasTerra. This programme is obligatory for all employees.

An internal auditor regularly vets each department to check on whether they are complying with all procedures. The results of the audits are discussed with the Board of Management, the auditor and the Audit Committee. No employees were reported in 2017 for failure to comply with the code of conduct and supplementary procedures. We also continually assess whether the code of conduct and procedures need to be adapted or supplemented.

GasTerra has two confidential advisers, one of whom is responsible for unwanted intimacy. The company also has a complaints procedure and whistle-blower policy and procedures. If employees have objections or complaints or if they detect abuses and solutions cannot be found with colleagues and managers, they can make use of these procedures. There were no reports of abuses or discrimination in 2017, no-one filed a complaint with the complaints committee and no-one made use of the whistle blowing arrangements.

Information security is vitally important for the operations of a trading company such as GasTerra. Continuous attention to information security is essential because of the increasing threats and the professionalisation of cybercriminality. The best practices of the ISO27001 standards are the starting point for the processes associated with the management of information security. Legal and social hacks are carried out to test the adequacy of information security. Staff awareness in this area is vital, which is why the issue is regularly highlighted. 

Memberships

We belong to various cooperation organisations within the chain, in pursuit of goals such as supporting clients in making production processes more sustainable (the Environmental Plan for Industry), knowledge-exchange, the development of innovative gas applications, publicising the benefits of gas in the transition toward a sustainable energy supply and improving regulations. At an organisational level, GasTerra is a member of the following organisations and associations:

International Gas Union (IGU)
Project Delta Group
Eurogas
European Federation of Energy Traders (EFET)
EASEE GAS
Clingendael
Energie Nederland
KVGN

GasTerra also takes part in regional, local or function-related associations and initiatives.