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GasTerra's vision

GasTerra's vision

GasTerra wants to make a meaningful contribution to society. We do that through buying and selling natural gas, our core business, but we also think it important to actively participate in society. Indeed, we let ourselves be guided by the three fundamental CSR principles: People, Planet, Profit, which we have translated into 'Gas, Green and Groningen'. Here, Groningen stands for People, Green for Planet and Gas for Profit. GasTerra therefore wants to be a respected party and employer in Northern Dutch society, and contributes to various social, sporting and cultural organisations and initiatives in this region. 

Employees

GasTerra's mission is to maximise the value of Dutch natural gas. Our employees play a very important role in this. In a constantly-changing market, it's their job to optimally attune our products and services to the customer's needs, in order thus to create a maximal value. This calls for creativity and a commercial and analytical way of thinking. GasTerra wants to attract good employees and, naturally, to be a good employer. GasTerra stimulates and provides facilities for employees to develop themselves, irrespective of job role or age. This is reflected in the fact, among other things, that employees are assessed on the basis both of their results and on their personal development.

Probably, the economic recession has led to a limited staff turnover at GasTerra. A good circulation, however, is certainly important for the development of the organisation and for a balanced distribution of the personnel in terms of age, origin and sex. Therefore we stimulate our staff to also look beyond GasTerra if that fits in with their ambitions, and to keep developing themselves, so that they also remain attractive for the labour market. In addition, employees can change job roles internally, and secondment outside GasTerra is possible. 

Groningen

Not only the employees, but also the area in which GasTerra is established is part of the CSR cornerstone 'people'. Not for nothing did we translate this as 'Groningen', for while GasTerra is indeed a big player in the European market, nevertheless, since the greatest part of our portfolio consists of gas from the Groningen field and our office is established in Groningen, we feel ourselves to be primarily a Groningen company. Partly by means of sponsorship, we try to contribute our mite to Groningen society, and then particularly to the social, sporting and cultural life in the city and region of Groningen. Besides that, through sponsorship we want to improve awareness of our name and our image, strengthen the network of business contacts and broaden knowledge about energy and the energy question.

Up to now, our sponsorship activities have mainly been determined on the basis of the applications, but in the future we want to go about things in a more proactive manner. In 2014, therefore, we are conducting research into Groningen society, in order to gain more insight into the structure of the regional sponsoring landscape, and do discover where there is most need of support. The intention is subsequently to respond to these needs with our sponsorship policy.

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Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been embedded into GasTerra's day-to-day operations. We have translated the three basic CSR principles - People, Planet and Profit - into three areas of endeavour of our own: Gas, Green and Groningen. Here, Gas stands for the operating results, Green for our ambition to bring about a socially-responsible energy transition, and Groningen for the community of which we are a part. Based on the results of the stakeholder dialogue 2013, GasTerra has accentuated the previously-formulated main objectives for each of the three G’s (Gas, Green and Groningen). These main objectives have been linked, through a CSR-matrix, to the so-called material affairs that the stakeholders find important. 

CSR-matrix

Since 2013, GasTerra has integrally included the CSR-matrix and the associated activities into the Business Plan. As a result, no longer is there a question of separate GasTerra- and CSR policies. The monitoring of the progress of these aims is thus also included in the regular reporting cycle.

CSR Board

The CSR Board, established in 2010, oversees the progress and the integration of CSR. The board's ultimate aim is to embed CSR so deeply into the organisation that the board becomes superfluous. In 2013, the CSR Board concentrated on three important processes:

Continuous Stakeholder Dialogue

GasTerra has integrated its CSR Policy into the general conduct of business, but this is not yet always clear to all stakeholders. In order to reinforce the perception of integration among these stakeholders, GasTerra no longer wishes to simply consult the stakeholders separately once a year as to their view of responsible business conduct. Instead of that, we want to have the dialogue linked to the regular contacts with stakeholders on a more continuous basis. The board helps those who maintain these relationships to bring structure into this continuous dialogue, in order to use the input obtained and to give feedback to the stakeholders.

Reporting at G4-level
As a company in which the state has a participating interest, GasTerra wishes to comply with the latest guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for sustainability reporting. For the reporting on 2013, the GRI developed the guidelines further, to the fourth generation (G4). G4 gives a good indication of transparency about topics that the stakeholders find important, and contributes to clear, relevant and reliable reporting. In 2013, the CSR Board examined the kinds of consequences this further development had on the reporting, resulting in GRI G4-assurance at core level of the Annual Report for 2013.

Consciousness-raising among Employees
Employees play a big role in Corporate Social Responsibility through their everyday activities. The CSR Board has therefore chosen to point out to the employees, in various ways, their own responsibilities and the possibilities. In doing so, the board concentrates on concrete matters, such as dealing with energy economically, and the importance of exercise for one's health - for example by using the stairs occasionally, or cycling.

Staff from all levels of the organisation have seats on the board, which is chaired by Chief Financial Officer Maurice de Wilde.

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Staffing Levels and Composition

Staffing Levels and Composition

In 2013, 200 people worked at GasTerra (186 FTEs).

Staffing numbers were stable during the year. Of the 200 staff, 188 were employees with a permanent position (134 men and 54 women), 12 colleagues had a contract for a limited period (9 men and 3 women). In 2013, the ICT- and general and technical support services were primarily hired from external sources.

Management

GasTerra’s management team consists of four directors, among whom the CEO, and four heads of department. 

Two changes took place within the management team. Chief Financial Officer Maarten Blacquière stepped down as of 1 December 2012 and was succeeded on 15 January 2013 by Maurice de Wilde. De Wilde was previously Finance Manager for Shell in Gabon. Commercial Director Jacob Kielman left the organisation as of 1 October. He was succeeded by Robert van Rede. Van Rede previously worked as Sales Manager & Commercial Manager Onshore at the NAM.

In 2013, GasTerra's middle management consisted of 21 persons.

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Collective Labour Agreement and pension

Collective Labour Agreement and pension

On 1 January 2013, the Collective Labour Agreement of the GasTerra employees expired. In October 2013, GasTerra reached agreement with company trade union VPG2 about the new Collective Labour Agreement, for the period 1 January 2013 to 1 January 2015. In the new Collective Labour Agreement, agreements have been made about the rescinding of the existing home loans arrangement as of 1 January 2015, among other things. Furthermore, a new pension scheme is part of the Collective Labour Agreement, as of 1 January 2014. In this, GasTerra has moved over from a final-salary scheme to an indexed median-salary scheme. GasTerra moreover continues to be affiliated with the Stichting Pensioenfonds Gasunie (Gasunie Pension Fund Foundation). At year end 2013, Stichting Pensioenfonds Gasunie's provisional coverage ratio was 111.6%. In June 2014, the Board of Directors will determine the definitive coverage ratio on the basis of the definitive annual results. In 2013, 174 employees (87%) were covered by the Collective Labour Agreement. Company trade union VPG2 had a high degree of participation, at approximately 85%. 

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Staff Recruitment and Employee Satisfaction

Staff Recruitment and Employee Satisfaction

One objective of GasTerra's personnel policies is to establish a gradual turnover of its staff. In doing so, we strive for a balanced distribution of men and women, and a good distribution as regards origins. In the process of recruitment, GasTerra makes use, among other things, of Noorderlink, the collaborative arrangement of various large employers in the North of the Netherlands, who jointly advertise vacancies on Noorderlink's website. 

Satisfaction

Every other year, GasTerra conducts an employee satisfaction survey. Such a survey took place in 2012, but in connection with the relocation and the new way of working that is associated with this (see link to HNW), in October 2013 we once again had an employee satisfaction survey carried out. From this study, it emerges that GasTerra achieves a score of 7.4. That is comparable with the scores in recent years. The response was somewhat lower than last year (64%). Approximately 50% of the employees think that working in the office has become more enjoyable, while more than 20% disagree with this.

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Training and career development

Training and career development

GasTerra strives for an optimal personal development of all employees. We encourage employees to develop themselves professionally and to acquire competencies that are (and will continue to be) relevant to our field of work, irrespective of job role and age.

Education

The training budget for the year 2013 amounted to more than 400,000 euros; that is: 2.3% of the total salaries amount. Within that budget, GasTerra provides a wide range of individual study schemes. We reimburse in full the costs of training courses that are necessary for the fulfilment of the job role. Various employees, for example, pursued a course of study at the Energy Delta Institute, of which GasTerra is a joint founder. As regards training courses that are not directly connected with the job role, but which do benefit the employees' career development, we reimburse 90% of the training costs, provided that the diploma is acquired.

Staff Turnover

In 2013, nine people left GasTerra. We may assume that the low outflow is connected with the high level of employee satisfaction. The advantage of this low outflow is that knowledge and experience continue to be preserved; the disadvantage, in the long term, is an imbalanced personnel structure. In this connection, GasTerra believes that job rotation creates development. GasTerra therefore encourages employees of the enterprise to change job role and/or department after a certain period. Within the framework of this rotation policy, secondment outside the organisation is also possible, and we encourage employees to look beyond GasTerra, if that fits in with their ambitions.

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Health and Safety

Health and Safety

The topics safety and health are regularly discussed at GasTerra (six times in 2013) in the special Works Council commission SOAP (social, organisation, arbo (working conditions), personnel). 

Risk Inventarisation and Assessment

GasTerra relocated to new office premises in February 2013. Shortly after the move, a new Risk Inventarisation and Assessment Evaluation (RIE) was conducted. The results of this received the endorsement of the Works Council. The most important risks that were mentioned in the RIE are: traffic, working in shift teams and work-pressure-related and RSI-type complaints. In order to increase safety in traffic, telephoning in the car during working hours is forbidden to employees, winter tyres are obligatory for the lease-car drivers, and approximately 20 employees who travel many kilometres per year on business are given a driving-skills training course every other year. By providing information about correct working posture, GasTerra tries to prevent RSI complaints among employees. In view of the relocation, in 2013 all employees were given personal advice about the optimal arrangement of the workplace, and information about what to do in the event of an evacuation. In addition, we held two evacuation drills.

Absenteeism

GasTerra strives for low absenteeism, and for no accidents leading to absenteeism. In 2013, absenteeism amounted to 2.2%. Thereby, the absenteeism percentage remained below the norm of a maximum of 2.5%, but the absenteeism figure was nevertheless higher than last year (1.4%). That is because in 2013 there were on average more prolonged illnesses. The overwhelming majority of these were not work-related. GasTerra therefore sees no need to adjust the absenteeism policy. In 2013, two accidents were reported within GasTerra. A cabinet fell against one employee's leg, and another employee fell over in the parking basement of the new office building. This latter accident resulted in absence from work. In response to this, GasTerra has taken measures to make access to the building easier, and thereby safer. The aim for the coming year is to stimulate employees' awareness of the theme safety, by means of presentations and messages on the intranet, among other things.

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The new building and New-Style Working

The new building and New-Style Working

On 23 January, GasTerra received the keys to its new office on Groningen’s Stationsweg. Halfway through February and at the beginning of March, the move took place, and on 4 April the building was officially opened by H.R.H. the Prince of Orange. The move went off smoothly, partly thanks to the extensive preparation.

New-Style Working

The layout of the new office building (in fact, renovated - it was formerly a bank building) is based on the principles of so-called New-Style Working: it is an open office, in which employees do not have a permanent workplace or office of their own. They can work here, but also at home or while on the road. Flexibility regarding both place and time is, all in all, the guiding principle.

In the two years preceding the move, GasTerra paid much attention to explaining New-Style Working. By means of presentations, messages on the intranet, internal publications such as a newsletter, special departmental sessions and visits to other organisations that had already moved over to this way of working previously, the employees were prepared for the changeover as well as possible.

The changeover process passed off remarkably smoothly. By now, it can be said that employees are on the whole satisfied with the new working environment and most of them make full use of the flexibility that New-Style Working offers. The open structure appears to be of benefit to mutual communication between employees. All objectives that underlay the move to the new building thus appear to have been fulfilled: better facilitation of the work, the promotion of internal communication, the encouragement of employees to take personal responsibility and the marked improvement in the energy efficiency of the existing building by means of renovation (see also Footprint of operations).

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Objections, Complaints and Abuses

Objections, Complaints and Abuses

To deal with potential objections, complaints or abuses that cannot be resolved within regular interaction between colleagues and managers, GasTerra implemented a system of confidants, complaints procedures and a whistle-blower scheme. In 2013, no use was made of the whistle-blower scheme, no abuses or cases of discrimination were reported, and no-one lodged a complaint with the complaints committee.

Sponsorship

Sponsorship

GasTerra's sponsorship activities particularly consist of financial support in the Groningen region. In 2013, we thus once again sponsored in this way the premier league basketball club GasTerra Flames, the Swingin' Groningen jazz festival and the Groninger Museum. And yet again, GasTerra was the main sponsor of the Prins Claus Conservatorium in 2013. New in 2013 was our contribution to the second book about the Scholtenhuis, the headquarters of the German Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) in Groningen. And this year we also made the GasTerra office available during the Nacht van Kunst & Wetenschap (Night of Art and Science). In 2013 we devoted 1.2 million euros to sponsorship. The complete list of all the organisations and initiatives that GasTerra supported in 2013 can be found here.

Raising awareness of our name was initially the most important aim of GasTerra's sponsorship policy. From a study conducted in 2012, it emerged that 53% of the respondents were aware of GasTerra: a higher-than-expected score. In 2014 we shall once more be conducting a study into awareness of our name. In the coming years, we want to increase awareness of our name still further, but in particular we want to go about this in a more in-depth manner: we want more people to start understanding what GasTerra is and does. The accent is thus shifting from awareness of our name to awareness of our role. For example, by creating more room for this aspect within our sponsorship policy.

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Advertising and lobbying

Advertising and lobbying

The campaign 'I am part of the solution', which GasTerra started in 2011, also continued in 2013. As part of this campaign, people from various backgrounds explain in videos and advertisements how they in their worlds (sports, music, GasTerra itself) are part of the solution. Their message is linked to GasTerra's core message: that natural gas as a fossil fuel is not part of the problem but is in fact part of the solution, because it forms an indispensable link in the transition to renewable energy supplies. The videos are to be seen on www.iampartofthesolution.nl and GasTerra's Youtube channel, and are also shown (in shortened form) on RTV Noord. The advertisements were placed in various regional magazines and in the daily newspaper Dagblad van het Noorden. The script of the latest video in the series, in which the Groningen city historian Beno Hofman takes the lead role, was conceived by one of the GasTerra employees.

We spread the message - that gas in general and GasTerra in particular is part of the solution - to all our stakeholders, and thus to administrators and the political world too. Within that framework we are active in The Hague and, primarily via the trade organisation Eurogas, in Brussels. GasTerra is also affiliated with the national advocacy group Vereniging Energie-Nederland.

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SER-pact (Social Economic Council)

SER-pact (Social Economic Council)

On 6 September 2013, more than 40 parties signed the SER-pact, including the Cabinet, employers, trades unions and environmental organisations. In this energy pact, important agreements were made concerning far-reaching energy savings, the reduction of CO2-emissions and further measures towards making Dutch energy consumption sustainable. In the negotiations, GasTerra was represented by the Vereniging Energie-Nederland.

GasTerra applauds the attainment of the SER-pact. With this energy pact, there will in the short term be a concrete working plan for attaining in 2020 the energy objectives agreed within Europe. As regards attaining the climate objectives after 2020, the parties are particularly striving for a reform of the European Emission Trading System (ETS). GasTerra finds that a good strategy, because the ETS makes itself felt on the European energy market as a whole, and can reduce CO2-emission efficiently.

Consequences of SER-pact

In the short term, the pact has few direct consequences for GasTerra as a company, but it does have consequences for the gas market as a whole. As regards the energy-saving objectives that have been agreed for the built environment, both gas and electricity consumption in the built environment will decrease.

The energy pact also has consequences for electricity production. The objective of 14% sustainably-generated energy in 2020 means that in 2020 approximately 35% of electricity production must be generated in a sustainable manner (In 2012, this was still 12%). In the course of achieving this, effort will be put particularly into wind energy at sea and decentralised sustainable energy generation, such as solar energy. In conclusion, it was agreed that 5 of the most inefficient coal-fired power stations in the Netherlands will be closed between 2016 and 2017. The SER-pact pays little attention to the possibilities of cogeneration, or combined heat and power (CHP), in which gas is efficiently used for the generation of electricity and heat. The efficient use of fossil energy is an important condition for a sustainable energy policy. CHP-installations in the Netherlands could make a contribution to this.

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Management Information

Management Information

Board of Management

G.J. Lankhorst M.A., Chief Executive Officer

Directors

M.J.W. de Wilde M.A., RC, Chief Financial Officer (from 15 January 2013)
A.E.M. Broenink MSc., Director of Strategy & Optimisation
J.E. Kielman M.A., Commercial Director (until 1 October 2013)
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R.E. van Rede MSc., Commercial Director (from 1st October 2013)

Heads of Department

A.J.P. Buijs, Communications & Public Affairs Manager
J.R.L.W. Stäbler M.A., Information Technology Manager
B.A. Westmaas M.A., Personnel & Organisation Manager
H.J. van Zijll de Jong, LL M, Legal Affairs & Regulation Manager

Board of Supervisory Directors (as at the end of 2013)

C.W.M. Dessens M.A., LL M, Chairperson*
D.A. Benschop M.A.*
J.D. Bokhoven MSc.*
P. Dekker MSc.
M.E.P. Dierikx M.A.*
 J.M. Van Roost MSc.*
A.P.N. van Veldhoven M.A.

* Also a member of the College of Delegate Supervisory Directors.

J.C. De Groot M.A., stepped down from his position as Commissioner on 1 June 2013. The information about the background of the members of the Board of Management and the Board of Supervisory Directors is to be found here. The Message from the Board of Supervisory Directors is to be found here

Works Council (as at the end of 2013)

E. Lam MSc., Chairperson
J.A.H. Boekhoudt
J.R. Honkoop M.A.
Ms. Y.N. Man MSc.
E.T.O. Medas
Ms. Z.D. Mulder-Wilts
R.A. Slob|
C. Weeda MSc.
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.H. Wijsbeek

The Wet Bestuur en Toezicht (Dutch Management and Supervision (Public and Private Companies) Act) was effective as of 1 January 2013. The Wet Bestuur en Toezicht contains, among other things, a provision concerning the balanced participation of men and women in the management and on the Board of Supervisory Directors. The company's current allocation of seats on the Board does not yet comply with this provision. One vacancy emerged on the Board of Supervisory Directors during the reporting year. At the time of this Annual Report's appearance, this vacancy had not yet been filled.