Independent assurance report.
To Deutsche Telekom AG, Bonn, Germany
We have been engaged to perform a moderate assurance engagement [i] in respect of observing the AA1000 AccountAbility Principles (Type 2 engagement) and in respect of selected sustainability information in the 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report (the "CR Report") of Deutsche Telekom AG, Bonn (the "Company"). Our assurance engagement related to selected individual disclosures and selected complete German pages from the Group's 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report website with information from the reporting year 2012. In cases where our review covers the entire content of the pages, as in the Suppliers and Strategy sections, these pages are marked with the symbol . Individual disclosures reviewed by us, such as information under the heading "Facts and figures" or individual qualitative information in the Climate and Environment, Society, Customers and Employees sections are marked directly with the symbol . Any unmarked pages or disclosures referred or linked to from the web pages were not the subject of the assurance engagement.
It is the responsibility of the Company's management
- to comply with the principles of inclusivity, materiality and responsiveness as defined in the AccountAbility Principles Standard (2008) (the "AA1000 AccountAbility Principles"), and
- to prepare the sustainability information in the CR Report in accordance with the criteria set out in the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines Vol. 3.1 (pp. 7 to 17) of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
This responsibility includes the conception, implementation and maintenance of systems and processes for ensuring compliance with the AA1000 AccountAbility Principles and preparation of the CR Report using assumptions and estimations for individual CR disclosures that are appropriate under the given circumstances.
Our responsibility is to express an opinion, based on our assurance procedures, as to whether any matters have come to our attention that cause us to believe that, in all material respects,
- the systems and processes set up by the Company are not suitable for compliance with the AA1000 AccountAbility Principles of inclusivity, materiality and responsiveness, or
- the disclosures and pages of the CR Report marked with the symbol have not been prepared in compliance with the criteria of the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines Vol. 3.1 (pp. 7 to 17) of the GRI. These selected disclosures can be found in the sections "Strategy and management," "Suppliers" and "Facts and figures" in the CR Report.
We have also been commissioned to make recommendations on the further development of sustainability management and CR reporting.
We conducted our independent assurance engagement in accordance with the AA1000 Assurance Standard (AA1000AS) 2008, as well as in accordance with the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000.
These standards require that we comply with ethical requirements and that we plan and perform the assurance engagement with due regard for the principle of materiality so as to allow us to express our conclusion with moderate assurancei, the level of assurance requested by Deutsche Telekom. We are independent within the meaning of section 3.2 of AA1000AS (2008). As a result of our specialist knowledge and experience of non-financial assurance engagements, sustainability management and social and environmental topics, we have the necessary expertise to carry out this assurance engagement.
In a moderate assurance engagementi the evidence-gathering procedures are more limited than in a high assurance engagement[i], and therefore less assurance is obtained than in a high assurance engagement.
The procedures selected depend on the practitioner's judgment. We conducted our work at Group Headquarters level in Bonn and at the level of selected subsidiaries, particularly at T-Mobile USA Inc., Bellevue, Washington (U.S.), OTE A.E, Athens, Greece, Cosmote Mobile Telecommunications S.A, Athens, Greece, Magyar Telekom Plc., Budapest, Hungary, and Croatian Telekom Inc. Zagreb, Croatia.
The procedures we carried out in terms of adherence to the AA1000 AccountAbility Principles included:
- Inquiries of the relevant contacts in the Stakeholder Engagement & Stakeholder Dialog and Corporate Responsibility areas;
- Examination of the relevant documentation regarding stakeholder dialog, further communication with stakeholders and participative formats at Group Headquarters level and at the level of selected international subsidiaries;
- Examination of the relevant documentation regarding pinpointing and prioritization of sustainability topics, CR categories and identified stakeholder expectations at Group Headquarters level and at the level of selected international subsidiaries;
- Inquiries of selected departments with a focus on the employees and suppliers stakeholders and acquisition of sample evidence from selected projects relating to sustainability and stakeholder management that serves as additional proof that the AA1000 AccountAbility Principles are being observed in the organization.
In connection with the sustainability information in the CR Report marked with , we have conducted, among others, the following review procedures:
- Inquiries of the management and of employees responsible for reporting CR information and charged with the creation of the CR Report;
- Examination of the relevant documentation on the implementation and working of the relevant systems and processes for the collection and analysis of the disclosures in the CR Report marked with ;
- Analytical assessment of selected CR disclosures;
- Inspection of selected sites and performance of site-specific inquiries as well as data and plausibility checks;
- Review of the presentation and investigation as regards the coverage of the RECS certificates for the electricity requirements of the Telekom Group in Germany;
- Obtaining random samples as evidence for the accuracy of the details marked with the symbol , e.g., by inspecting internal documents, contracts, invoices/reports from external service providers, and by analyzing data based on IT system reports.
Key findings and conclusions
Findings with regard to the AA1000 AccountAbility Principle of inclusivity:
- Stakeholder management is controlled at Group level by the central CR Communication & Stakeholder Management function within the Corporate Responsibility department. This department has also been driving the Stakeholder Engagement Strategy project. The project aims to design focused relationships between the company and its stakeholders and to systematically implement a stakeholder management system and stakeholder engagement throughout the Group.
- The principles of stakeholder engagement at Deutsche Telekom AG have been defined in accordance with the AA1000 AccountAbility Principles.
- It was found that Deutsche Telekom has established processes that facilitate exchange with stakeholders and support the involvement of stakeholders in decision-making processes. At the level of selected departments, stakeholders are actively involved in projects.
- At international level, the involvement of stakeholders is organized at subsidiary level. Central functions at Group level regularly exchange information with the international subsidiaries. It was found that stakeholders are regularly involved (e.g., through inquiries, workshops or dialog formats) at the level of selected subsidiaries. The international roll-out of the Stakeholder Engagement Strategy was initiated during the reporting period (workshop of the international CR Manager Network in April 2012).
Findings with regard to the AA1000 AccountAbility Principle of materiality:
- As part of the materiality process, key CR topics are systematically identified with the input of internal and external stakeholders and shown in the materiality matrices within Deutsche Telekom AG's CR Report. Issues relating to Deutsche Telekom AG's three CR action areas were evaluated as part of the materiality process. The three action areas are key pillars of the CR strategy with direct relevance to Deutsche Telekom's core business.
- As part of central stakeholder involvement, the expectations of individual stakeholder groups are determined in a targeted way and evaluated, and can then be taken into account in CR reporting, further CR communication, and the strategic alignment of the CR department.
- Internationalizing the materiality process was Deutsche Telekom AG's first step in harmonizing the identification of key CR issues in the various international subsidiaries. A manual was created for this which provides guidance to the international subsidiaries.
Findings with regard to the AA1000 AccountAbility Principle of responsiveness:
- Our random sample inquiries and the evidence we have acquired show that the processes for responding to stakeholder queries are running correctly.
- It was found that the principles of the GRI were being used, which are suitable for CR reporting.
- Communication with stakeholder groups is carried out via various channels, with a good balance of topics.
Based on our moderate assurance engagement, nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that, in all material respects, the systems and processes established by the Company are unsuitable for fulfilling the AA1000 AccountAbility Principles of inclusivity, materiality and responsiveness.
Furthermore, nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that, in all material respects, the disclosures and pages of the CR Report for calendar year 2012 marked with the symbol have not been prepared in accordance with the criteria of the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines Vol. 3.1 (pp. 7 to 17) of the GRI.
Without qualifying the conclusions of our engagement set out above, we make the following recommendations for the further development of sustainability management and CR reporting:
- Further development of stakeholder management, in particular:
- Continuation of the systematic implementation of the central stakeholder management approach at international level and in the area of supply chain management.
- Further harmonization and standardization of the materiality analysis to further increase the level of comparability.
- Expansion of the Group-wide management function for sustainability, e.g.:
- There should be increased standardization and documentation of processes for recording and determining CR data upstream of centralized data recording.
- Definition of internal control processes for all key indicators in a documented format.
Düsseldorf, May 24, 2013
Hendrik Fink Aissata Touré
Wirtschaftsprüfer (German Public Auditors)
[I] "Moderate assurance" as defined by AA1000AS (2008) is the same as "limited assurance" as defined by ISAE 3000 .
[II] "High assurance" as defined by AA1000AS (2008) is the same as "reasonable assurance" as defined by ISAE 3000 .