Learn about current approaches to external assurance, Presented by Knight
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Learn about current approaches to external assurance, Presented by Knight

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Presented by Knight

Presented by Knight

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Learn about current approaches to external assurance, Presented by Knight   Learn about current approaches to external assurance, Presented by Knight Presentation Transcript

  • Approaches to External Assurance Scope Standards Strengths Limitations AA Principles AA1000AS / APS (required) ISAE 3000 (optional) Are you doing the right things High bar Performance information AA1000AS ISAE 3000 Are you doing things right Limited scope Reporting Framework AA1000AS ISAE 3000 GRI Check Comparable
  • Approaches to External Assurance Type Who Strengths Limitations Professional independent assurance Accounting professional Certification bodies Subject matter experts Rigor Independence Comprehensive Balanced Risk avoidance in statement Stakeholder Panels Senior individuals with standing in the community and sector Understanding and approach Strategy Underlying systems and data Celebrity / Expert / stakeholder commentary / endorsement Can be anybody Recognition factor Accessibility Lack of depth and breadth Just a personal view
  • Approaches to External Assurance Level Based on Limited Moderate Lower level of effort – depth of investigation High Reasonable Higher level of effort – depth of investigation
  • Survey
    • External assurance adds value to a sustainability/CSR report.      
    • strongly disagree 00%  
    • Disagree 00%  
    • Neutral 16,7%  
    • Agree 53,3%  
    • strongly agree 40%   
  • Survey
    • Who do you think is best fit to provide external assurance on publicly disclosed sustainability information?
    • Assurance providers or stakeholder panels
    • An organisation that is independent and has the right combination in the assurance team of skills/knowledge in auditing and CSR (systems and content)4
    • The stakeholders
    • Any entity with knowledge on the core business of the reporting organization and on economic, environment and social domains. The assurance provider should also be independent from the reporting organization, the entity that provides assurance should not be the same that helped the organization elaborate its report.6
    • Assurance bodies such as Big 4 - the same that provide audits on financial data.7
    • Certified organizations8
    • Independent Governance, Risk and Compliance Professionals
    • Non-related third parties
    • Accountancy firms that also provide assurance on financial information.
    • Financial auditors with special team, trained to GRI. Credibility is the key word.
    • Specially trained assurance providers who have a wide range of understanding of environmental, social and governance issues and how to measure performance in these areas.15combination of independent 'social audit' including stakeholder analysis 360 degrees and peer review
  • Survey
    • To what extent should an organizations stakeholders be involved in the assurance process?  
    • to some extent, as much as reasonable (which is as much as they want to).
    • The stakeholders should be involved with the reporting organisation in determining material issues but should also discuss with the reporter which information they want assured and to what degree of certainty.
    • The stakeholders engagement should be assessed during the assurance, but the stakeholders themselves should not participate in the assurance process, they can be questioned during this process, but not more than that.
    • None.
    • to a large extent
    • Partly
    • depends on what sort of assurance is required. Investors don’t get involved in financial report assurance
    • Some of them could make cross-revisions under a matchmaking programme
    • Assurers should check in with them on whether they felt adequately engaged by the company during the stakeholder consultation process but their role should be additional to and not replacing the role formal assurance companies play.
    • If they're experts and know GRI process and guidelines, fine. If not, as most of the stakeholders, they shouldn't.
    • they should be involved in the processes but not in the assurance process
  • Survey
    • Is the content of assurance statements useful
    • to you?   
    • Yes 85,7% 
    • No 7,1% 
    • I don't know 7,1% 
  • Survey
    • Should assurance cover qualitative as well as
    • quantitative information?   
    • Yes 93,3% 
    • No 6,7% 
    • I don't know 0,0% 
  • Survey
    • Should the different approaches currently in
    • use move towards convergence?   
    • Yes 73,3% 
    • No 6,7% 
    • I don't know 20,0% 
  • Survey
    • Should external assurance of sustainability
    • reporting be mandatory?   
    • Yes 26,7% 
    • No 53,3% 
    • I don't know 20,0% 
  • Survey
    • What do you consider the main challenges in the assurance of public disclosure on
    • sustainability performance?  
    • Fear, as most assurance statements are very formal and rigid
    • The GRI does not fit each industry perfectly. The assurance to GRI etc does not necessarily improve the quality of the report.
    • to escape from the concept of "negative assurance" (limited level of assurance)
    • strategic information company
    • To define a balanced scope of assurance, that is clear to the report reader and that adds value to reporting organization.
    • Capital outlay (for companies) and conflict of interest (assurers/consultancies)
    • The lack of framawork accodring to which to judge. If everyone reported according to GRI guidelines, or any other quidelines or standard, it would be easier.
    • due dilligence
    • consistency of approoach between assurors and cost to client
    • Transparency in the process; reliability and professionalism of the assurance provider; rigour in the assurance methodology.
    • Assurers need to pull up companies that state 'not material or information not available' to indicators that companies could report on but choose not to for reasons of sensitivity. E.g gender wage gap information
    • Credibility of the reports, and the credibility of the auditors
    • being more standard and global
    • Wide differences in approach currently plus lack of alignment in thinking between professional auditors and other assurance providers
    • communication of complex issues to diverse audiences with different expectations/levels of understanding