NS bases its policy priorities on material relevance, weighing up the interests of our stakeholders and the actual impact that NS can have on the topic. At least once every two years, NS arranges centralised dialogues with all categories of stakeholders about our social role and the themes that they find important and that our organisation has an impact on, i.e. the materially relevant themes. The last dialogue took place in 2017. We draw up a material relevance matrix based on that meeting and a biennial survey of our stakeholders. This shows which themes our key stakeholders currently deem most important, what priorities they assign to them and what impact NS has on these themes.
Material relevance matrix for 2018
NS assessed the materially relevant themes for 2018 to check that they were as topical and valid as in 2017. The position of the themes was confirmed in additional checks, in the form of continuous monitoring, a media and Internet analysis and regular meetings with stakeholders. Furthermore, internal sector experts looked at developments within the public transport sector. The matrix for 2018 was then presented to the Executive Board and finalised. Like last year, the themes are clustered together in the matrix: they are positioned close to one another, with an overall high level of importance and high impact for NS. This is because of NS’s broad function in society, the considerable impact NS has on many issues due to its monopoly of the main rail network, and the balance between NS’s social and commercial roles. The most materially relevant themes are the numbers 1 through 11. No themes have been added or removed, although some themes have shifted somewhat. The importance of ‘Integrity’ (number 7) as a policy priority has diminished because of the visible progress we have made in recent years in the area of compliance, risk management and integrity. NS’s impact in the theme of ‘Collaboration’ (number 4) has increased, in part due to the activities of the Mobility Alliance, the collaboration with KLM to put international rail transport on the agenda, and the collaboration with educational institutions aimed at reducing peak-hour crowding. Regarding ‘Innovation’ (number 12), both the importance for stakeholders and the impact of NS have declined slightly as many sector-wide innovations are currently emerging in which the impact of NS is just part of the innovation. ‘Operations in Europe’ (number 15) has increased in importance as a theme, in part because of the introduction of IC Brussels, the Amsterdam-London Eurostar service, the plans to speed up the Intercity Berlin service, and short cross-border transport routes (KGOV).
Definitions of the materially relevant themes
1. Reliability: the extent to which stakeholders trust NS to fulfil its promises to customers and other stakeholders
2. Transparency: the extent to which NS is open about its affairs
3. Passengers, passengers and passengers/customer satisfaction: the extent to which NS strives for high levels of customer satisfaction
4. Collaboration (internal and external): the extent to which the senior management aims for collaboration (both within the organisation and beyond) and puts collaboration with partners in the transport sector into practice.
5. Sustainability: the extent to which NS makes efforts in the interests of people, planet and profit
6. Seamless door-to-door journeys: the extent to which NS works on enabling door-to-door journeys without any problems
7. Integrity: the extent to which NS is honest and ethical
8. Punctuality: the extent to which NS works on delivering travel in accordance with the timetable
9. Accessibility: the way in which NS makes its services available and accessible for everybody
10. Stations and facilities at stations: the extent to which NS works on making time spent at stations a pleasant experience thanks to the various facilities
11. Personal safety and railway safety: the extent to which NS works on providing a safe journey on trains and at stations
12. Innovation: the extent to which NS keys into trends and developments with its products and services
13. Risk management: the extent to which NS is able to identify risks and take appropriate measures in good time
14. Financial position: the extent to which NS is able to meet its financial obligations both now and in the future
15. Operations in Europe: the extent to which NS learns from its operations abroad
16. An attractive and caring employer: the extent to which NS succeeds in offering its employees attractive employment terms, remuneration policy and career development