To: the Shareholders and members of the Supervisory Board of PostNL N.V.
We have audited the non-financial information in the accompanying annual report for the year 2019 of PostNL N.V. at The Hague. An audit is aimed at obtaining a reasonable level of assurance.
In our opinion, the non-financial information presents, in all material respects, a reliable and adequate view of:
The policy and business operations with regard to corporate social responsibility
The thereto related events and achievements for the year 2019
in accordance with the Sustainability Reporting Standards (option Core) of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and applied supplemental reporting criteria as disclosed in chapter Non-financial statements of the annual report.
The non-financial information consists of the following chapters in the annual report: Introduction, Business Report (excluding chapter Financial value) and Non-financial statements.
We have performed our audit on the non-financial information in accordance with Dutch law, including Dutch Standard 3810N, “Assurance-opdrachten inzake maatschappelijke verslagen” (Assurance engagements relating to sustainability reports), which is a specific Dutch Standard that is based on the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000, “Assurance Engagements other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information”. Our responsibilities under this standard are further described in the section Our responsibilities for the audit of the sustainability information of our report.
We are independent of PostNL N.V. in accordance with the “Verordening inzake de onafhankelijkheid van accountants bij assurance-opdrachten” (ViO, Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, a regulation with respect to independence) and other relevant independence requirements in the Netherlands. This includes that we do not perform any activities that could result in a conflict of interest with our independent assurance engagement. Furthermore we have complied with the “Verordening gedrags- en beroepsregels accountants” (VGBA, Dutch Code of Ethics).
We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion.
The non-financial information needs to be read and understood together with the reporting criteria. PostNL N.V. is solely responsible for selecting and applying these reporting criteria, taking into account applicable law and regulations related to reporting.
The reporting criteria used for the preparation of the sustainability information are the Sustainability Reporting Standards of the GRI and the applied supplemental reporting criteria as disclosed in chapter Non-financial statements of the annual report.
The absence of an established practice on which to draw, to evaluate and measure non-financial information allows for different, but acceptable, measurement techniques and can affect comparability between entities and over time.
Based on our professional judgement we determined materiality levels for each relevant part of the non-financial information and for the non-financial information as a whole. When evaluating our materiality levels, we have taken into account quantitative and qualitative considerations as well as the relevance of information for both stakeholders and the company.
We agreed with the Supervisory Board that misstatements which are identified during the audit and which in our view must be reported on quantitative or qualitative grounds, would be reported to them.
Key audit matters are those matters that, in our professional judgement, were of most significance in our audit of the sustainability information. We have communicated the key audit matters to the Supervisory Board. The key audit matters are not a comprehensive reflection of all matters discussed.
These matters were addressed in the context of our audit of the sustainability information as a whole and in forming our opinion thereon, and we do not provide a separate opinion on these matters.
How our assurance engagement addressed the matter
Estimations and assumptions used for calculating CO2 scope 3 emissions
External delivery partners are a material part of PostNL’s CO2 emissions. The methodology for calculating the CO2 emissions of these external delivery partners is based on the Greenhouse Gas protocol of the World Resource Institute (WRI)/World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
In the absence of complete information from its external delivery partners, PostNL estimates scope 3 CO2 emissions based on assumptions.
Our procedures focused on understanding and evaluating the reasonableness of the estimates and assumptions used.
We assessed the sufficiency of related disclosures, including information on inherent limitations, and the consistent use compared to prior year.
We concur with the estimates and assumptions used in calculating the scope 3 CO2 emissions and the sufficiency of the related disclosures. In addition, we determined that the assumptions and estimates used did not change compared to prior year.
Share of emission-free delivery of parcels and mail in the last-mile
The new key performance indicator ‘Share of emission-free delivery of parcels and mail in the last-mile’ represents the ratio of last-mile kilometres travelled without emitting any CO2, relative to the total number of last-mile kilometres travelled. This includes kilometres travelled on foot, by bicycle, and using light electric vehicles.
PostNL has developed its own methodologies to estimate these kilometre totals.
Our procedures focused on understanding and evaluating the reasonableness of the estimates and assumptions used.
We assessed the sufficiency of related disclosures.
We concur with the estimates and assumptions used in calculating the ‘share of emission-free delivery of parcels and mail in the last-mile’ and the sufficiency of the related disclosures.
Methodology underlying indicators measured by third parties
The reputation, employee engagement and the customer satisfaction indicators are by request of PostNL measured by third parties. The outcome is based on the methodology used by these third parties.
Our procedures focused on evaluating whether the methodology used by the third party is suitable and consistently applied.
We assessed the sufficiency of related disclosures and the consistent use compared to prior year.
We concur with the methodologies applied, the sufficiency of the related disclosures and determined that the methodology used did not change compared to prior year.
The non-financial information includes prospective information such as ambitions, strategy, plans, expectations, estimates and risk assessments. Inherent to prospective information, the actual future results are uncertain. We do not provide any assurance on the assumptions and achievability of prospective information in the non-financial information.
The references to external sources or websites in the non-financial information are not part the non-financial information as audited by us. We therefore do not provide assurance on this information.
The Board of Management is responsible for the preparation of reliable and adequate non-financial information in accordance with the reporting criteria as included in the section Reporting criteria, including the identification of stakeholders and the definition of material matters. The choices made by the Board of Management regarding the scope of the non-financial information and the reporting policy are summarized in chapter Non-financial statements of the annual report.
The Board of Management is also responsible for such internal control as the Board of Management determines is necessary to enable the preparation of the non-financial information that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or errors.
The Supervisory Board is responsible for overseeing the reporting process of PostNL N.V.
Our responsibility is to plan and perform the audit in a manner that allows us to obtain sufficient and appropriate audit evidence for our opinion.
Our audit has been performed with a high, but not absolute, level of assurance, which means we may not have detected all material errors and fraud.
We apply the “Nadere voorschriften kwaliteitssystemen” (NVKS, Regulations for Quality management systems) and accordingly maintain a comprehensive system of quality control including documented policies and procedures regarding compliance with ethical requirements, professional standards and other relevant legal and regulatory requirements.
We have exercised professional judgment and have maintained professional skepticism throughout the audit performed by a multi-disciplinary team, in accordance with the Dutch assurance standards, ethical requirements and independence requirements.
Our audit included amongst others:
Performing an analysis of the external environment and obtaining an understanding of relevant social themes and issues, and the characteristics of the company
Evaluating the appropriateness of the reporting criteria used, their consistent application and related disclosures in the non-financial information. This includes the evaluation of the results of the stakeholders’ dialogue and the reasonableness of estimates made by the Board of Management
Obtaining an understanding of the systems and processes for collecting, reporting and consolidating the non-financial information, including obtaining an understanding of internal control relevant to our audit, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the company’s internal control
Evaluating the procedures performed by the internal audit department
Identifying and assessing the risks that the non-financial information is misleading or unbalanced, or contains material misstatements, whether due to fraud or errors. Designing and performing further audit procedures responsive to those risks, and obtaining audit evidence that is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion. The risk that the non-financial information is misleading or unbalanced, or the risk of not detecting a material misstatement resulting from fraud is higher than for one resulting from errors. Fraud may involve collusion, forgery, intentional omissions, misrepresentations, or the override of internal control. These further audit procedures consisted amongst others of
Interviewing relevant staff at corporate and business level responsible for the sustainability strategy, policy and results
Interviewing relevant staff responsible for providing the information for, carrying out internal control procedures on, and consolidating the data in the non-financial information
Obtaining assurance information that the non-financial information reconciles with underlying records of the company
Evaluating relevant internal and external documentation, on a test basis, to determine the reliability of the non-financial information
Performing an analytical review of the data and trends
Reconciling the relevant financial information with the financial statements
Evaluating the consistency of the non-financial information with the information in the annual report which is not included in the scope of our audit
Evaluating the overall presentation, structure and content of the non-financial information
Considering whether the non-financial information as a whole, including the disclosures, reflects the purpose of the reporting criteria used
We communicate with the Supervisory Board regarding, among other matters, the planned scope and timing of the audit and significant findings, including any significant findings in internal control that we identify during our audit.
From the matters communicated with the Supervisory Board we determine the key audit matters: those matters that were of most significance in the audit of the non-financial information. We describe these matters in our assurance report unless law or regulation precludes public disclosure about the matter or when, in extremely rare circumstances, not mentioning it is in the public interest.
Amsterdam, 24 February 2020
Ernst & Young Accountants LLP