To the Supervisory Board of METRO AG, Düsseldorf
We have performed an independent limited assurance engagement on the combined non-financial statement of METRO AG, Düsseldorf (further the ‘Company’), and the METRO Group, as well as the section of the combined management report that are qualified as part of it through cross reference, ‘Business model’, for the period from 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2022.
As disclosed in the section ‘global labour and social standards in the supply chain’, certifications on manufacturing facilities of suppliers were conducted by external certification firms mandated by METRO AG to ensure compliance with the environmental, social and health standards of the amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) or equivalent standards. The appropriateness and accuracy of the conclusions from the audit/certification work performed was not part of our assurance procedures.
The legal representatives of the Company are responsible for the preparation of the combined non-financial statement in accordance with §§ 315b, 315c in conjunction with §§ 289b to 289e HGB and with Article 8 of REGULATION (EU) 2020/852 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of June 18, 2020 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment, and amending Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 (further ‘EU Taxonomy Regulation’) and the supplementing Delegated Acts as well as the interpretation of the wordings and terms contained in the EU Taxonomy Regulation and in the supplementing Delegated Acts by the Company as disclosed in Section ‘EU Taxonomy’ of the combined non-financial statement.
This responsibility of the legal representatives includes the selection and application of appropriate methods to prepare the combined non-financial statement and the use of assumptions and estimates for individual disclosures which are reasonable under the given circumstances. Furthermore, the legal representatives are responsible for the internal controls they deem necessary for the preparation of the combined non-financial statement that is free of – intended or unintended – material misstatements.
The EU Taxonomy Regulation and the supplementing Delegated Acts contain wordings and terms that are still subject to substantial uncertainties regarding their interpretation and for which not all clarifications have been published yet. Therefore, the legal representatives have included a description of their interpretation in Section ‘EU Taxonomy’ of the combined non-financial statement. They are responsible for its tenability. Due to the innate risk of diverging interpretations of vague legal concepts, the legal conformity of these interpretations is subject to uncertainty.
It is our responsibility to express a conclusion on the combined non-financial statement based on our work performed within a limited assurance engagement.
We conducted our work in the form of a limited assurance engagement 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.
Accordingly, we have to plan and perform the assurance engagement in such a way that we obtain limited assurance as to whether any matters have come to our attention that cause us to believe that the combined non-financial statement of the Company for the period from 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2022 has not been prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with §§ 315b and 315c in conjunction with 289b to 289e HGB and with the EU Taxonomy Regulation and the supplementing Delegated Acts as well as the interpretation of the wordings and terms contained in the EU Taxonomy Regulation and in the supplementing Delegated Acts by the legal representatives as disclosed in Section ‘EU Taxonomy’ of the combined non-financial statement. We do not, however, issue a separate conclusion for each disclosure. As the assurance procedures performed in a limited assurance engagement are less comprehensive than in a reasonable assurance engagement, the level of assurance obtained is substantially lower. The choice of assurance procedures is subject to the auditor’s own judgement.
Within the scope of our engagement we performed, amongst others, the following procedures:
- Inquiries of group-level personnel who are responsible for the materiality analysis in order to understand the processes for determining material topics and respective reporting boundaries for METRO AG
- A risk analysis, including media research, to identify relevant information on METRO AG’s sustainability performance in the reporting period
- Evaluation of the design and the implementation of systems and processes for the collection, processing and monitoring of disclosures, including data consolidation, on environmental, employee and social matters, respect for human rights, and combating corruption and bribery
- Inquiries of group-level personnel who are responsible for determining disclosures on concepts, due diligence processes, results and risks, performing internal control functions and consolidating disclosures
- Inspection of selected internal and external documents
- Analytical procedures for the evaluation of data and of the trends of quantitative disclosures as reported at group level by all sites
- Evaluation of local data collection, validation and reporting processes as well as the reliability of reported data via a sampling survey at METRO Deutschland GmbH, METRO Italia Cash and Carry S. P. A. and Makro Cash and Carry Polska S.A. via videoconference
- Assessment of the overall presentation of the disclosures
- Inquiries of responsible employees at Group level to obtain an understanding of the approach to identify relevant economic activities in accordance with EU taxonomy
- Evaluation of the process for the identification of taxonomy-eligible economic activities and the corresponding disclosures in the combined non-financial statement
The legal representatives have to interpret vague legal concepts in order to be able to compile the relevant disclosures according to Article 8 of the EU Taxonomy Regulation. Due to the immanent risk of diverging interpretations of vague legal concepts, the legal conformity of these interpretations and, correspondingly, our assurance thereof are subject to uncertainties.
In our opinion, we obtained sufficient and appropriate evidence for reaching a conclusion for the assurance engagement.
Independence and Quality Assurance on the Part of the Auditing Firm
In performing this engagement, we applied the legal provisions and professional pronouncements regarding independence and quality assurance, in particular the Professional Code for German Public Auditors and Chartered Accountants (in Germany) and the quality assurance standard of the German Institute of Public Auditors (Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer, IDW) regarding quality assurance requirements in audit practice (IDW QS 1).
Based on the procedures performed and the evidence obtained, nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that the combined non-financial statement of METRO AG for the period from 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2022 has not been prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with §§ 315b and 315c in conjunction with §§ 289b to 289e HGB and with the EU Taxonomy Regulation and the supplementing Delegated Acts as well as the interpretation disclosed in Section ‘EU Taxonomy’ of the combined non-financial statement.
Restriction of Use/General Engagement Terms
This assurance report is issued for purposes of the Supervisory Board METRO AG, Düsseldorf, only. We assume no responsibility with regard to any third parties.
Our assignment for the Supervisory Board of METRO AG, Düsseldorf, and professional liability as described above was governed by the General Engagement Terms for Wirtschaftsprüfer and Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaften (Allgemeine Auftragsbedingungen für Wirtschaftsprüfer und Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaften) in the version dated January 1, 2017 (https://www.kpmg.de/bescheinigungen/lib/aab_english.pdf). By reading and using the information contained in this assurance report, each recipient confirms notice of the provisions contained therein including the limitation of our liability as stipulated in No. 9 and accepts the validity of the General Engagement Terms with respect to us.
Düsseldorf, 2 December 2022
[Original German version signed by:]
[German Public Auditor]
[German Public Auditor]
1 Our engagement applied to the German version of the combined non-financial statement 2022. This text is a translation of the Independent Assurance Report issued in German, whereas the German text is authoritative.