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Independent assurance statement

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Independent Limited Assurance Report to the Directors of Wesfarmers Limited

Scope

We have performed a limited assurance engagement in relation to Wesfarmers Limited’s (‘Wesfarmers’) 2013 - 2014 Sustainability Report (‘the Report’) in order to state whether anything has come to our attention that causes us to believe that the subject matter detailed below, is not presented, in all material respects, in accordance with the criteria as presented below.

Subject matter

The subject matter for our assurance includes the information contained in Wesfarmers’ Sustainability Report as presented on its website for the year ended 30 June 2014. Specifically:

  • The full content of the report as presented on Wesfarmers’ website under sustainability.wesfarmers.com.au as at 17 October 2014 and, in particular:
  • Specific performance data including:
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (including Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions);
  • Waste disposed and recycled;
  • Water consumption;
  • Energy consumption;
  • Workplace health and safety data (including workers’ compensation claims, lost time injury frequency rate, employee hours worked, and total recordable injury frequency rate);
  • Community contributions (excluding those verified by the London Benchmarking Group);
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employee numbers; and
  • Ethical sourcing data.

Criteria

The criteria for our procedures (‘the criteria’) are:

  • AA1000 Accountability Principles (2008) (Inclusivity, Materiality, Responsiveness) for the full content of the report;
  • Global Reporting Initiative’s (‘GRI’) Principles for Ensuring Report Quality of: balance; comparability; accuracy; timeliness; clarity; and reliability;
  • London Benchmarking Group (‘LBG’) Guidance Manual for community contributions; and
  • Wesfarmers’ own criteria for its estimation of water use, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and Scope 3 emissions.

Management Responsibility

The management of Wesfarmers and its divisions (‘Management’) is responsible for the collection, preparation and presentation of the subject matter in accordance with the criteria and for maintaining adequate records and internal controls that are designed to support the sustainability reporting process.

Assurance Practitioner’s Responsibility

Our responsibility is to express a limited assurance conclusion as to whether the subject matter is presented in accordance with the criteria. Our assurance engagement has been planned and performed in accordance with the Australian Standard on Assurance Engagements 3000 (revised) Assurance Engagements Other Than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information (‘ASAE 3000’) and Assurance Engagements on Greenhouse Gas Statements (‘ASAE 3410’).

Level of Assurance

A limited assurance engagement consists of making enquiries and applying analytical, controls testing and other evidence-gathering procedures that are sufficient for us to obtain a meaningful level of assurance as the basis for a negative form of conclusion. The procedures performed depend on the assurance practitioner’s judgment including the risk of material misstatement of the specific activity data, whether due to fraud or error. While we considered the effectiveness of Management’s internal controls when determining the nature and extent of our procedures, our review was not designed to provide assurance on internal controls. We believe that the evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our conclusion. The procedures performed in a limited assurance engagement vary in nature, and are less in extent than for a reasonable assurance engagement. As a result, the level of assurance obtained in a limited assurance engagement is substantially lower than the assurance that would have been obtained had we performed a reasonable assurance engagement.

Our Approach

Our assurance procedures performed included, but were not limited to:

  • Assessing Wesfarmers’ adherence to the AA1000 Principles including the processes involved at a Divisional and Corporate level;
  • Determining whether material topics and performance issues identified during our procedures had been adequately disclosed;
  • Performing site visits and interviewing selected divisional and corporate personnel to understand the key sustainability issues related to the subject matter and processes for the collection and accurate reporting of performance information;
  • Where relevant, performing walkthroughs of systems and processes for data aggregation and reporting;
  • Performing analytical tests and detailed testings to source for material qualitative and quantitative information;
  • Checking the accuracy of calculations performed;
  • Obtaining and reviewing evidence to support key assumptions in calculations and other data;
  • Reviewing selected management information and documentation supporting assertions made in the subject matter;
  • Checking that data and statements had been correctly transcribed from corporate systems and/or supporting evidence into the Report; and
  • Reviewing the presentation of claims, case studies and data against the relevant GRI principles contained in the criteria.

Limitations

There are inherent limitations in performing assurance – for example, assurance engagements are based on selective testing of the information being examined – and it is possible that fraud, error or non-compliance may occur and not be detected. There are additional inherent risks associated with assurance over non-financial information including reporting against standards which require information to be assured against source data compiled using definitions and estimation methods that are developed by the reporting entity. Finally, adherence to AA1000 and GRI principles is subjective and will be interpreted differently by different stakeholder groups.

Our assurance was limited to the Sustainability Report 2014 as presented on Wesfarmers’ website and did not include financial data or forward looking statements of Management; nor whether the report met the GRI application level self-assessed by Wesfarmers, and confirmed by GRI. 

Use of Report

Our responsibility in performing our assurance activities is to the directors of Wesfarmers only and in accordance with the terms of reference for this engagement as agreed with them. We do not therefore accept or assume any responsibility for any other purpose or to any other person or organisation.  Any reliance any such third party may place on the Report is entirely at its own risk. No statement is made as to whether the criteria are appropriate for any third party purpose.

Our Independence and Assurance Team

The firm and all professional personnel involved in this engagement have met the independence requirements of Australian or International professional ethical requirements. Our team has the required competencies and experience for this assurance engagement.

Assurance conclusions

Based on our limited assurance procedures as described in this statement, nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that the subject matter as presented in the Report as presented on Wesfarmers’ website is not presented, in all material respects, in accordance with the criteria detailed above.

 

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Ernst & Young

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Michele Villa

Partner

Perth Australia

17 October 2014

London Benchmarking Group

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The LBG model helps businesses improve the measurement, management and reporting of their corporate community investment programs. It covers the full range of contributions (cash, time and in-kind donations) made to community causes.

As managers of LBG Australia & New Zealand, we can confirm that we have worked with Wesfarmers Ltd* to verify its understanding and application of the LBG model with regard to the wide range of community programs supported.

Our aim has been to ensure that the evaluation principles have been correctly and consistently applied and we are satisfied that this has been achieved. It is important to note that our work has not extended to an independent audit of the data.

We can confirm that Wesfarmers Ltd* has invested $39,795,070 (exclusive of management costs) in the community in this 2014 reporting year as defined by LBG methodology.

*LBG verification included Coles, Target, Wesfarmers Resources, Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers & Wesfarmers Corporate Office.

Verified by Simon J. Robinson & Jessica Pattison

On behalf of LBG Australia & New Zealand

September 2014