Independent assurance report.
Independent Assurance Report
To Deutsche Telekom AG, Bonn, Germany
We have performed a moderate assurance engagement in respect of observing the AA1000 AccountAbility Principles (Type 2 engagement) and in respect of selected sustainability information in the 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report (the CR Report) of Deutsche Telekom AG, Bonn, Germany (the Company) for the financial year from January 1 to December 31, 2013. Our assurance engagement related to selected individual disclosures and selected complete German pages from the Group's 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report website with information from the 2013 financial year. In cases where our review covers the entire content of the pages, as in the Suppliers, Strategy and management, and Consumer and youth protection sections, these pages are marked with the symbol. Individual disclosures reviewed by us, such as information under the heading "Facts and figures" 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, Consumer and youth protection 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 , 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 on-site 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 Management & 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 national companies;
- Examination of the relevant documentation regarding pinpointing and prioritization of sustainability topics, CR action areas and identified stakeholder expectations at Group Headquarters level and at the level of selected national companies;
- 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 conducted, among others, the following review procedures:
- Inquiries of the employees of the departments responsible for preparing the CR Report about the CR reporting process and the internal control system for this process;
- Inspection of the documents describing the CR strategy and gaining an understanding of the organizational structure of CR, the dialog with stakeholders and the development process behind Deutsche Telekom's CR program;
- Inquiries of the employees of the specialist departments responsible for the content of individual sections of the CR Report;
- Determination of procedures and inspection of the documentation for the systems and processes used in the collection, analysis, plausibility checks and aggregation of CR data and carrying out spot checks of these;
- Carrying out on-site visits as part of the survey of the process of collecting, analyzing and aggregating selected information;
- Analytical assessment of the information disclosed in the CR Report;
- Comparison of selected data with corresponding data in the 2013 Annual Report;
- Obtaining further proof for selected information disclosed in the CR Report through inspection of internal documentation (e.g., Board of Management and committee decisions, internal audit reports) and contracts, as well as the analysis of data that was generated in the form of reports from IT systems.
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 Management Strategy project. This project aims to design focused relationships between the company and its stakeholders and to systematically implement a stakeholder management system and stakeholder management throughout the Group.
- The principles of stakeholder involvement 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 management strategy continued during the reporting period.
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 and in the topics relating to the three action areas within Deutsche Telekom AG's CR Report.
- 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.
- In 2013 the strategy was revised internally and in part redesigned. This included adding certain measures aimed at the suppliers and investors stakeholder groups.
- The activities, research projects, publications and statements made by these stakeholder groups are continually monitored, summarized, and assessed in terms of their relevance for Deutsche Telekom AG in an internal newsletter, the NGO Radar.
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 adequately.
- 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 the 2013 financial year 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.
- Expansion of the NGO radar to include further relevant stakeholder groups and consideration of the assessment in the materiality process.
- Expansion of the Group-wide management function for sustainability, e.g.:
- Further development of the documentation for central and local processes with the aim of ensuring that the main process steps for determination and internal controls of all CR KPIs contained in the report are defined.
- Development of clear, unambiguous definitions of the performance indicators for supply chain management and further formalization of the processes in place for collecting the relevant data.
Düsseldorf, May 09, 2014
Hendrik Fink ppa. Aissata Touré
Wirtschaftsprüfer (German Public Auditors) 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 .