To the Executive Board of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
We were engaged to provide assurance on the sustainability information relating to ‘Materiality analysis’ and ‘Stakeholder dialogue’ as well as on the indicators in the chapter ‘Facts and figures’, including explanatory notes, in the online ‘Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany Corporate Responsibility Report 2014’ (further ‘the Report’) for the business year 2014 of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The Executive Board is responsible for the appropriateness of the determination and presentation of the sustainability information in the Report in accordance with the reporting criteria. This responsibility includes the conception, implementation and maintenance of systems and processes for ensuring adherence to sustainability reporting principles when determining material report contents. Our responsibility is to issue an assurance report on the selected sustainability information, including the explanatory notes, published in the Report.
Our assurance engagement was designed to provide limited assurance on whether the following selected sustainability information for the business year 2014, including the explanatory notes, are presented, in all material respects, in accordance with the reporting criteria:
In the chapter ‘Facts and figures - Indicators’ the GRI G4 Specific Standard Disclosures on:
In the chapters ‘Materiality analysis’ and ‘Stakeholder dialogue’ the GRI G4 General Standard Disclosures:
- ‘Identified Material Aspects and Boundaries’ GRI G4-17 to 23
- Stakeholder Engagement’ GRI G4-24 to 27
The sustainability performance information in the scope of our assurance engagement is marked in the column “External assurance” of the GRI Index with the following symbol:
Procedures performed to obtain a limited level of assurance are aimed at determining the plausibility of information and are less extensive than those for a reasonable level of assurance.
Reporting criteria and assurance standards
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany applies the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines G4 of the Global Reporting Initiative, the Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (Scope 1 und 2), and the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard of World Resources Institute/World Business Council for Sustainable Development, supported by internal guidelines, as described in the section of the Report ‘Report profile’, as reporting criteria.
We conducted our engagement in accordance with the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000: ‘Assurance Engagements other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information’ and the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3410: ‘Assurance Engagements on Greenhouse Gas Statements‘, issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. These standards require, amongst others, that the assurance team possesses the specific knowledge, skills and professional competencies needed to provide assurance on sustainability information, and that we comply with the requirements of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants of the International Federation of Accountants to ensure our independence.
Our procedures included:
- An evaluation of the process for determining material aspects and respective boundaries, including results of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany’s stakeholder engagement.
- A risk analysis, including a media search, to identify relevant sustainability aspects for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in the reporting period.
- Evaluation of the design and implementation of the systems and processes for the collection, processing and control of the indicators, including the consolidation of the data, at corporate and site level.
- Interviews with relevant staff on corporate level responsible for providing and consolidating the data, as well as carrying out internal control procedures on the data including the explanatory notes.
- Visits to Tiburtina (Italy) and Bari (Italy) to assess local data collection and reporting processes and the reliability of the reported data.
- An analytical review of the data and trend explanations submitted by all sites for consolidation at Group level.
- Use of the insights and relevant work performed for the group and statutory audit of the (consolidated) financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2014 of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany with regard to audit procedures on those information and indicators that were derived from those consolidated financial statements.
- An evaluation of the overall presentation of the selected indicators, including the explanatory notes, within the scope of our engagement.
Based on the procedures performed, as described above, nothing has come to our attention to indicate that the sustainability information, including the explanatory notes, in the Report are not, in all material respects, presented in accordance with the reporting criteria.
Frankfurt am Main, April 15, 2015
[Original German version signed by:]
[German Public Auditor]
[German Public Auditor]