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Assurance report of the external auditor

To: the shareholder and Supervisory Board of Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors B.V.

Our conclusion

We have reviewed the sustainability information in the accompanying annual report for the year 2019 of Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors B.V in Amsterdam. A review is aimed at obtaining a limited level of assurance.

Based on the procedures we performed, nothing has come to our attention that leads us to believe that the sustainability information does not present, in all material respects, a reliable and adequate view of:

  • the policy and business operations with regard to corporate social responsibility; and

  • the events and achievements on that front for the year 2019,

in accordance with the reporting criteria included in the section ‘About this Report’.

The sustainability information consists of the following sections:

  • Section ‘Overview responsible investment & business’ part of chapter ‘2019 at a glance’ on page 6 of the annual report.

  • The indicator ‘energy consumption of assets’ in the sections ‘Europe mandate’, ‘North America Mandate’, ‘Asia-Pacific Mandate’, ‘Residential Fund’, ‘Retail Fund’ and ‘Office Fund sections of the chapter ‘Portfolio results 2019’ on pages 20-24 of the annual report.

  • Section ‘Summary of results 2019’ of the chapter ‘Sustainable real estate investments’ on pages 24-30 of the annual report.

Basis for our conclusion

We have performed our review of the sustainability information in accordance with Dutch law, including Dutch Standard 3810N ‘Assurance-opdrachten inzake maatschappelijke verslagen’ (Assurance engagements relating to sustainability reports). Our responsibilities under this standard are described in the section ‘Our responsibilities for the review of the sustainability information’ of our report.

We are independent of Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors B.V. in accordance with the ‘Verordening inzake de onafhankelijkheid van accountants bij assurance-opdrachten’ (ViO, Code of Ethics for professional accountants, a regulation pertaining to independence) and other relevant independence regulations in the Netherlands. In addition, we complied with the ‘Verordening gedrags- en beroepsregels accountants’ (VGBA, Dutch Code of Ethics for accountants).

We believe that the assurance evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our conclusion.

Section highlighting the impact of the coronavirus

The coronavirus also has an impact on Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors B.V. The management admits that it is difficult at this point in time to estimate what impact the coronavirus will have on the ESG performance of Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors B.V. We have not adjusted our opinion with respect to this event.

Reporting criteria

The sustainability information needs to be read and understood in conjunction with the reporting criteria. Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors B.V. is 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 Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Core Option and the applied supplemental reporting criteria as disclosed on page 76 of the annual report.

Limitations on the scope of our opinion

The sustainability information includes prospective information, such as ambitions, strategy, plans, expectations and estimates. Inherent in prospective information is that actual future results are uncertain. We do not provide any assurance on the assumptions and achievability of prospective information in the sustainability information.

Responsibilities of the Executive Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board for the sustainability information

The Executive Board of Directors is responsible for the preparation of the sustainability information in accordance with reporting criteria as explained in the section ‘ESG performance indicators’, disclosed on pages 72-75 of the annual report, including the identification of stakeholders and the definition of material aspects. The choices made by the Executive Board of Directors regarding the scope of the sustainability information and the reporting policy are summarised in the chapter ‘About this Report’ on pages 76-77.

The Executive Board of Directors is also responsible for such internal controls as the Executive Board of Directors deems necessary to enable the preparation of the sustainability information that is free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.

The Supervisory Board is responsible for overseeing the reporting process of Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors B.V.

Our responsibilities for the review of the sustainability information

Our responsibility is to plan and perform the review in a manner that allows us to obtain sufficient and appropriate assurance information for our conclusion.

Procedures performed to obtain a limited level of assurance are aimed at determining the plausibility of information and vary in nature and timing from, and are less extensive than for an assurance engagement aimed at obtaining a reasonable level of assurance. The level of assurance obtained in a review is therefore substantially lower than the assurance obtained in an audit.

Misstatements can arise from fraud or errors and are considered material if, individually or in the aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the decisions of users taken on the basis of this sustainability information. The materiality affects the nature, timing and scope of our review procedures and the evaluation of the impact of identified misstatements on our conclusion.

We apply the ‘Nadere voorschriften kwaliteitssystemen’ (NVKS, Regulations for Quality management systems) and accordingly maintain a comprehensive system of quality controls, including documented policies and procedures related to compliance with ethical requirements, professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory requirements.

We have exercised professional judgement and have maintained professional scepticism throughout our review, in accordance with the Dutch Standard 3810N, ethical requirements and independence requirements.

Our review included but was not limited to:

  • Performing an analysis of the external environment and gaining an understanding of relevant social themes and issues, and the characteristics of the company;

  • Evaluating the appropriateness of the reporting criteria used, the consistent application of same and related disclosures in this regard in the sustainability information. This includes the evaluation of the outcome of the stakeholders’ dialogue and the reasonableness of estimates made by the Executive Board of Directors;

  • Gaining an understanding of the reporting processes for the sustainability information, including gaining a general understanding of the internal control measures, insofar as relevant to our review;

  • Identifying areas of the sustainability information with a higher risk of misleading or unbalanced information or material misstatements, whether due to fraud or error.

  • Designing and performing further assurance procedures aimed at determining the plausibility of the sustainability information responsive to this risk analysis. 

These procedures included but were not limited to:

  • Interviewing members of the management (and/or relevant staff) at corporate (and business/division/cluster/local) level responsible for the sustainability strategy, policy and performance;

  • Interviewing relevant staff members responsible for providing the information for, carrying out internal control procedures on, and consolidating the data in the sustainability information;

  • Obtaining assurance information to the effect that the sustainability information reconciles with the underlying records of the company;

  • Reviewing, on a limited test basis, relevant internal and external documentation;

  • Performing an analytical review of the data and trends;

  • Evaluating the overall presentation, structure and content of the sustainability information;

  • Considering whether the sustainability information as a whole, including the disclosures included in same, reflects the purpose of the reporting criteria used;

  • Assessing whether the Report has been prepared in accordance with the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (GRI Standards Core option) of the Global Reporting Initiative.

We communicate with the Supervisory Board regarding, among other matters, the planned scope and timing of the review and any significant findings that emerged from our review.

Amsterdam, 9 April 2020

Deloitte Accountants B.V.

Signed on the original: J. Holland

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