PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft has performed a limited assurance engagement on the German version of the Sustainability Report of the Volkswagen AG and issued an independent assurance report, authoritative in German language, which has been translated as follows:
Independent Practitioner’s Limited Assurance Report
To Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg
We have been engaged to perform a limited assurance engagement on the sustainability information marked with in the online version of the Sustainability Report* of the Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg (hereafter the “Company”), for the period from January 1st to December 31st, 2016.
The Company’s Management is responsible for the preparation and presentation of the Sustainability Report in accordance with the criteria as set out in the G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) (hereafter the “GRI-Criteria”) and for the selection of the information to be assessed.
This responsibility includes the selection and application of appropriate methods to prepare the Sustainability Report as well as the use of assumptions and estimates for individual sustainability disclosures which are reasonable in the circumstances. Furthermore, the responsibility includes designing, implementing and maintaining systems and processes relevant for the preparation of the Sustainability Report, which is free of material misstatements due to intentional or unintentional errors.
Audit Firm’s Independence and Quality Control
We have complied with the German professional provisions regarding independence as well as other ethical requirements.
The audit firm applies the national legal requirements and professional standards – in particular the Professional Code for German Public Auditors and German Chartered Auditors (”Berufssatzung für Wirtschaftsprüfer und vereidigte Buchprüfer”: “BS WP/vBP”) as well as the Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer (“Institute of Public Auditors in Germany; IDW”): Requirements to quality control for audit firms (“Entwurf eines IdW Qualitätssicherungsstandards 1 „Anforderungen an die Qualitätssicherung in der Wirtschaftsprüferpraxis” (IdW EQS 1)”) – and accordingly maintains a comprehensive system of quality control including documented policies and procedures regarding compliance with ethical requirements, professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the sustainability information marked with in the Sustainability Report based on our work performed.
Within the scope of our engagement we did not perform an audit on external sources of information or expert opinions, referred to in the Sustainability Report.
We conducted our work in accordance with the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000 (Revised): “Assurance Engagements other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information” published by IAASB. This Standard requires that we plan and perform the assurance engagement to obtain limited assurance whether any matters have come to our attention that cause us to believe that the sustainability information marked with in the Sustainability Report has not been prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with the GRI-Criteria. In a limited assurance engagement the evidence-gathering procedures are more limited than for a reasonable assurance engagement and therefore significantly less assurance is obtained than in a reasonable assurance engagement. The procedures selected depend on the practitioner's judgement. This includes the assessment of the risks of material misstatements of the sustainability information marked with in the Sustainability Report with regard to the GRI-Criteria.
Within the scope of our work we performed amongst others the following procedures:
- Obtaining an understanding of the structure of the sustainability organization and of stakeholder engagement
- Inspection of relevant documents and inquiries of personnel regarding the further development of the materiality process and the preparation of the materiality matrix as well as the underlying internal control system
- Assessment of selected management approaches according to the guidelines of the GRI G4 in compliance with Disclosure Management Approach a) to c):
- Management of the environmental impacts of the production
- Sustainability strategy
- HR management
- Management of social responsibility
- Inspection of relevant documents and inquiries of personnel regarding the data collection and consolidation of the Environmental Performance Indicators of the production as well as the underlying internal control system.
- Conduction of site and brand visits in order to assess the data collection and consolidation processes as well as the internal control activities regarding the Environmental Performance Indicators of the production:
- Brand visit SEAT (Martorell, Spain);
- Site visit plant FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Co. Ltd. (Changchun, China);
- Site visit plant Emden;
- Site visit component plant Kassel
- Inspection of the aggregation of selected HR KPIs and scope 3 GHG emissions on group level
- Analytical procedures on selected sustainability information of the Sustainability Report
- Comparison of selected sustainability information with corresponding data in the consolidated financial statements and in the group management report 2016 of Volkswagen AG
- Assessment of the presentation of selected sustainability information in the Sustainability Report regarding the sustainability performance
Based on our limited assurance engagement, nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that the sustainability information marked with in the Sustainability Report of the Company for the period January 1st to December 31st 2016 has not been prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with the GRI-Criteria.
Emphasis of matter - Recommendations
Without qualifying our conclusion above, we make the following recommendations for the further development of the Company's sustainability management and sustainability reporting:
- Inclusion of the conducted distinct prioritization of the material aspects within the presentation of the materiality process in the Sustainability Report
- Focusing on the standardization and formalization of group-wide consistent processes and controls for the data collection on both site and group level, including the appropriate monitoring of the processes on group level
Restriction on Use and Distribution
We issue this Report on the basis of the engagement agreed with the Volkswagen AG. The review has been performed for purposes of the Volkswagen AG and is solely intended to inform the Volkswagen AG about the results of the review. The Report is not intended for any third parties to base any (financial) decision thereon. We do not assume any responsibility towards third parties.
Hanover, 8th May 2017
Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung
Frank Hübner Michael Conrad
(German Public Auditor) (German Public Auditor)