SlideShare a Scribd company logo
1 of 41
Download to read offline
Our Journey
to Adaptive
Resilience
2020
Annual Report
1
ASI operates a central office in Bonn, Germany and a
regional office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
ASI Bonn
Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 69 | 53113
Bonn | Germany
ASI Asia Pacific SDn.BHD
Menara MBMR (Floor 11, Unit 5) | Jalan Syed Putra Mid Valley city | 43200
Kuala Lumpur | Malaysia
www.asi-assurance.org
asi-info@asi-assurance.org
ASI at a glance
Reflections from our Board of Directors
Reflections from our Managing Director
Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Strategic plan 2025: Taking ASI assurance
to the next level
ASI in numbers
ASI Assessments: Then and now
Stakeholder input for ASI Assessments
Assurance milestones 2020
Our team is our strength
Glossary of terms*
3
7
8
10
12
17
23
26
32
37
39
©ASI 2021 – Assurance Services International GmbH. All rights reserved.
ASI communication direction: Tanuka Mukherjee | Photo credits: ASI team | Design Annual Report 2020:
McCann Riga | www.mccann.lv. No part of this work covered by the publisher’s copyright may be reproduced
or copied in any form or by any means (graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
taping or information retrieval systems) without the written permission of the publisher. Published October 2021. * Refer to this section for important terms and abbreviations.
Table of contents
Assurance
for real
impact
asi / Annual Report 2020 2
Photo:
Maris
Zudrags
asi / Annual Report 2020 3
ASI at a glance
asi / Annual Report 2020 4
Assurance Services International (ASI) is the leading
global assurance provider for social and environmental
standard systems. Our mission is to assure the credibility
of Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) and initiatives
and support them to deliver real social and environmental
impact through our assurance services.
Who we are
1994
Origins
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
created alongside an Accreditation
Business Unit to accredit and monitor
FSC Certification Bodies (CBs).
2006
Foundation of ASI
Independence Accreditation
Services International is
created as an independent
company and appointed as the
accreditation body for FSC.
2007-2011
Expansion into new sectors
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC),
the Aquaculture Stewardship Council
(ASC) and the Roundtable on
Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) appoint
ASI as their sole accreditation body.
ASI becomes a full ISEAL Member.
2015-2017
Innovative services
ASI opens its second office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) appoints ASI as
their Sole accreditation body. ASI launches its integrity services
to tackle credibility risks and creates its social competence
center to enhance social auditing competency.
2018
New independence
ASI established a new independent supervisory board
and signs an MoU with DAkkS, the German National
Accreditation Body. Furthermore, ASI embarks on an
oversight pilot with the Responsible Jewellery Council
(RJC) and the Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation
(GIB) SuRe – The Standard for Sustainable and Resilient
Infrastructure Standards.
2019
Change for the better
ASI rebrands to Assurance Services International,
launches the scheme owner portal to provide real
time data to its clients and embarks on an
oversight pilot with Bonsucro.
2020
Assurance for real impact
ASI publishes its strategic plan 2025
to make assurance more adaptive,
smarter and impactful.
2012-2014
New partnerships
ASI establishes an independent board. Roundtable on
Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) and the Global Sustainable
Tourism Council (GSTC) appoint ASI as their sole
accreditation body. ASI partners with the International
Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to develop an
assurance system for protected areas.
asi / Annual Report 2020 5
What we do
We work with leading sustainability schemes and
initiatives to provide oversight of sustainability standards’
certification systems, ensuring that they are implemented
correctly on the ground. We also design and oversee
bespoke alternative assurance models to increase
effectiveness and overcome sustainability and assurance
risks in our clients’ systems.
Social competence
Social auditing methodology and
training to monitor and assess social
requirements across supply chains
Training  guidance
Tailored in-person and virtual training
workshops and interactive e-learning
for auditors
Innovation  research
Researching assurance best practices
and testing new approaches to tackle
sustainability challenges
Oversight programs
Independent oversight services
for on-the-ground insights with
strategic and practical support
System development
ASI community of experienced
experts can improve assurance
policies and processes
Integrity  risk management
Detection, investigation and
prevention services to uphold
integrity of certification systems
asi / Annual Report 2020 6
ASI works with Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) spanning sectors such
as forestry, fisheries, aquaculture, palm oil, protected areas, textiles, tourism,
biofuels, jewellery and many more. We have approved and continuously
monitor over 100 Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs), operating globally in
over 150 countries.
In January 2020, we published our new Engagement Policy, which highlights
how we work with emerging standards and support mature schemes to become
even better. It describes a two-step approach: first, an initial appraisal of a new
standard, also known as a Scheme Owner (SO), is done, followed by an in-
depth appraisal process of their system strengths and weaknesses.
ASC: Aquaculture Stewardship Council
FSC: Forest Stewardship Council
GIB: Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation
GSTC: Global Sustainable Tourism Council
IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature
MSC: Marine Stewardship Council
RJC: Responsible Jewellery Council
RSB: Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials
RSPO: Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
SBP: Sustainable Biomass Program
Who we
work with
“ASI provides services for environmental and social
standard systems, which have the potential to drive
positive impacts at scale. The new Engagement
policy helps ASI to transparently review standards
and to identify potential areas for development”.
- Dr. Sönke Fischer, ASI Strategy Director
Visit our document library for the ASI Engagement Policy
asi-assurance.org/s/quality
asi / Annual Report 2020 7
We credit a talented and committed Management Team with driving us forward
and remaining focused on the mission as the pandemic bore down on all of us.
Moreover, we credit a team of assessors and support staff who worked together
with our clients to address a variety of issues, modify our processes, and uphold
our principles to continue to provide an exemplary level of service.
While no business was untouched by the crisis, some fared better than others.
Those that did not simply react with temporary measures to get through to
the other side, were able to learn from the experience and even improve their
operations for the long-term.
ASI adapted with resilience and found that new ways of doing business are
possible when we are willing to think, act, learn and change. The lessons we
have learned during this year will have a lasting positive impact.
Our Strategic Plan, developed through the combined efforts of our staff and the
Board, tie our minds together around three basic themes:
1. be Adaptive
- increase our fitness for the future assurance landscape
2. be Smart
- raise our credibility by delivering Intelligent Assurance Services
3. be Impactful
- deliver real social and environmental impact for our stakeholders
This plan will carry us forward over the next years. Every member of our
organization plays an integral role in our plan.
As we look to the future, ASI is working to form strategic partnerships with
key players in the accreditation and assurance world. We are diversifying
stakeholder engagement. We are developing and strengthening tools to elevate
assurance systems’ integrity and invest in capacity building, both technically and
geographically. Our business model is evolving, and through this adaptation, our
relevance within the industry continues to grow.
- Greg Swan
ASI Board Chairman
On behalf of the ASI Board
Sticking to the plan
In a year marked by a worldwide crisis due to the COVID-19
pandemic and the resulting impact on governments, businesses,
communities and families around the world, ASI responded, adapted,
and emerged stronger and more resilient than ever.
We credit the Strategic Plan, developed over the past years, with
helping us to stay the course while the world changed around us.
Reflections from our
Board of Directors
Greg Swan
ASI Board Chairman
asi / Annual Report 2020 8
Reflections from the
Managing Director
Let’s face it – the sustainability industry is a very crowded space. There
are many standards, claims, frameworks, and different service providers.
Each of them being a world leader in their field. How to find your own
and, more importantly, meaningful role in this space is a big challenge.
At ASI, we have always been proud of being field experts. To be an organization
composed of people who are dedicated and committed to the ASI mission,
and who are willing to put their boots on the ground and get their hands
dirty to deal with issues. This is part of our DNA, our core competence. This
sustainability field competence has been at the heart of our accreditation
system – the way we design and apply it.
With the development of our clients and increasing diversity in expectations
from their stakeholders, we have made adjustments to our work. This is where
our adaptability and resilience has proven valuable.
It started with our governance. Together with our shareholder, we redesigned
our governance and put in place the ASI Supervisory Board, which took on
all business controls over ASI from the shareholder. This allowed us to further
enhance ASI’s impartiality and integrity while delivering our services.
Our name was next to change – we expanded and refined our business scope.
Today, we are not an accreditation body in the traditional sense. We are an
assurance service provider to many global sustainability initiatives. We evolved
our brand to better reflect this change; we are Assurance Services International
after all.
Further, we revamped our legal and business model to finance our assurance
activities by introducing the annual service fee. This was essential for ASI to be
able to invest in and apply tools, which did not necessarily get direct customers
paying for them, but are still critical to ensure the integrity of our clients’
systems. For instance, our due diligence and integrity risk management tools
are becoming a more prominent aspect of our daily work.
We are developing partnerships with a variety of European National
Accreditation Bodies (NABs) to create synergies and bring voluntary and
regulatory normatives for sustainability claims together, thus enhancing the
credibility and trust in sustainability certification.
Looking back
While this Annual Report is for the year 2020, I would like to reflect
on a longer period of ASI development. In my opinion, the title of this
report summarises the ASI journey for the last 5-10 years.
Guntars Laguns
ASI Managing Director
asi / Annual Report 2020 9
In the meantime, by building on our well established ASI Asia Pacific office
model, we intend to expand our regional presence in North America by creating
ASI North America. We believe that having this regional presence will support
our assurance work and give us the opportunity to be more attuned to the local
integrity issues and relevant stakeholders. In turn, this will amplify our core
competence – close “field” presence by industry experts.
Our new social competence development, anti-fraud and due diligence activities,
supply chain verifications, and other integrity services demonstrate our
adaptability to what now looks like a new normal in sustainability certification,
targeting specific risks with specific solutions. We are developing solutions to
address upcoming challenges, and this has helped us to stay relevant in this
ever-changing environment. Not to lose our focus on our mission to support ASI
clients to deliver real social and environmental impact.
Going forward, we recognize that the diversification of stakeholder expectations
will never slow down. This leads to sustainability initiatives developing further
in response. We already see how key topics relevant to stakeholders are
being integrated in normative frameworks. For instance, the social aspects
of supply chain parameters, diversity and gender issues are now mainstream.
Governments intervene where they have never intervened before and influence
expectations as well.
We keep in mind that sustainability concepts, expectations and focus
continuously change overtime; they are not static. At ASI, we strive through
our adaptability to respond to all such emerging changes and be resilient for
whatever comes next.
This is our journey.
- Guntars Laguns
ASI Managing Director
Photo:
Guntars
Laguns
asi / Annual Report 2020 10
Being prepared and supporting
adaptation
Many of our assurance partners were affected by the COVID-19 outbreak
in 2020. ASI supported the development of their COVID-19 auditing
policies and audit facilitation procedures, as well as working on tools to
support oversight, such as online auditor and peer reviewer registries.
In the early phases of the coronavirus pandemic, we assessed how the
85 CABs overseen by ASI prepared themselves to implement derogations
issued by SOs, in order to ensure that they adjust their service provision
and uphold their oversight.
The majority of CABs demonstrated the ability to adjust their services and
to scale up remote auditing processes relatively quickly. However, some
CABs, including larger ones, were still negatively impacted by lockdown
conditions. During April and May, ASI organized a series of webinars on
good practices in remote auditing. The webinars were attended by over
450 CAB personnel and auditors, with around 230 FSC auditors and 100
ASC auditors alone.
Early in 2020, COVID-19 brought travel to a
complete halt, affecting on-site sustainability
auditing as we know it. All the VSS that we work
with issued derogations to specify how and under
which circumstances, CABs can postpone audits
or shift to other means such as remote auditing
techniques.
Our response to the
COVID-19 pandemic
asi / Annual Report 2020 11
Outlook of assurance for the future
Onsite assessments will not disappear post-COVID but will be targeted
at those areas where expert presence onsite is needed. However, some
remote assessment approaches will remain at ASI, particularly for office
assessments. Furthermore, hybrid approaches such as using an onsite
facilitator while an assessor/s work from a remote location or using additional
virtual evaluation methods such as GIS (geospatial information technology)
or new techniques to increase stakeholder consultation will remain standard
practice at ASI.
COVID-19 accelerated our work towards different assurance approaches,
as emphasized in our new strategy. ASI’s revised Procedure for Remote
Assessments (ASI-PRO-20-125) became effective on 8 May 2020 and
describes the criteria for carrying out all types of assessments remotely
(including office, witness and compliance assessments).
ASI began conducting assessments remotely to reduce the need to go on-
site, provide the opportunity for increased efficiency and safety, better
timing, the inclusion of CAB personnel that may not otherwise be easily
accessible and to avoid travel restrictions, among others. Between March
and June 2020, ASI conducted more than 850 assessments remotely (more
details in ‘ASI in Numbers’). Comparing the results of remote to on-site
assessments, we conclude that the number of findings identified by ASI at
the CAB level are similar. In particular, remote office assessments turned
out to be at least as effective as onsite assessments.
New ways of doing assurance
Strategic plan 2025
Taking ASI assurance
to the next level
asi / Annual Report 2020 12
Photo:
Maris
Zudrags
In 2020, ASI developed the Strategic plan 2025, which
defines our future ambitions and presents how ASI
assurance will be more adaptive, smarter and impactful.
Three strategic goals will guide our work over the next
five years, with high-level commitments to track progress
against each goal.
asi / Annual Report 2020 13
Rapid Response Team
The Rapid Response team is created to proactively tackle the most
pressing integrity risks, to maintain ASI's credibility and its clients’
reputation.
Data Analytics
The Data Analytics Team provides data insights and trends to ASI
teams and its clients.
Assurance Impact Plans
All ASI clients have Assurance Impact Plans that manage their
integrity risks and critical issues, and demonstrate the impact of ASI
assurance services.
Marketing
ASI has increased the visibility of its brand and service uptake.
Impact Communications
ASI communicates its clients’ and its own assurance impacts.
Strategy Map
ASI Strategy Map shows ASI’s impact and its contribution to the
relevant Sustainable Development Goals.
Strategic Allies
ASI has engaged with its network of key strategic allies and
partners to further assurance activities and projects.
Engagement Policy
ASI has assessed its clients against its Engagement Policy and
provides clear recommendations to improve their assurance
practices.
Dispute Management
ASI proactively engages with its stakeholders and facilitates
dialogue and resolutions for disputes.
ASI Assurance Academy
The Assurance Academy is established as a trusted open source
platform for assurance-related training, education, learning and
exchange.
CAB Auditor Accountability
ASI ensures that CAB personnel take individual accountability of
their audit outcomes.
Assurance Integrity Scenarios
ASI provides consistent solutions to integrity risks based on
assurance integrity scenarios.
Assessment Approaches
ASI has diversified its assessment approach and incorporates new
tools effectively.
Integrity and Anti-Fraud Services
ASI expands its Integrity and Anti-Fraud Services to react
proactively to emerging critical issues.
ASI Village
ASI uses a network of stakeholders to exchange information
about the conformance and performance of schemes.
CAB Participation in Oversight
CABs participate in the assurance process through self-appraisal.
Assurance Lab
The Assurance Lab is established and provides opportunities
to experiment with new tools and approaches for improving
assurance processes.
Competences Development
ASI optimizes its expertise to provide services that continually meet
its customers’ needs and emerging assurance priorities.
ASI North America
ASI has established an international accreditation branch in North
America and built its presence within the region and beyond.
Data Capacity
ASI enables its teams to better analyze,
decide and act upon data.
ASI Assurance Standard
ASI Assurance Standard is developed and aligns credible
assurance practices within the sustainability industry.
Two-Tier Assurance Program
ASI has established and transitioned accredited Europe based CABs to the
Two-Tier Assurance Program within the European Economic Area (EEA).
ASI Asia Pacific
ASI has piloted its assurance business
model in the Asia Pacific region.
Increase our fitness
for the future assurance landscape.
Show real social and
environmental impact.
Raise credibility by delivering
intelligent assurance.
Smart
Adaptive Impactful
asi / Annual Report 2020 14
Antonio Hervas
MSC Program Manager, ASI
What
excites
you about
the ASI
strategic
plan?
Which commitment will define ASI’s success going forward?
In my opinion, to protect the integrity and credibility of standard setters remains the
main objective. To achieve this, every commitment plays a role. Overall, being able to
predict risks (rather than react to risks) and address them in a manner that certificates
are credible will ensure ASI’s success as an assurance provider.
The ASI Strategic Plan is innovative.
Its three principles – adaptive, smart
and impactful – encompass really exciting
projects that, once implemented, will allow
ASI to demonstrate real assurance impact.
?
The Strategic Plan 2025 frames ASI’s future
direction. It defines our assurance model that
focuses on addressing integrity risks and how
to manage them. In essence, it gives us a very
clear pathway for our growth and how we will
develop further in the years to come.
Guntars Laguns
Managing Director, ASI
Which commitment will define ASI’s success going forward?
We cannot select one or two commitments from the strategic plan and
hope that they will define ASI’s success. There are several commitments,
23 in total, that all are interlinked and complementary. I would say that our
success will not be defined by one commitment, but by how we establish
and enhance the links between each of them. The one I particularly like
is our commitment to increase the speed of our responsiveness – rapid
response commitment.
asi / Annual Report 2020 15
Which commitment will define ASI’s success going forward?
The next historic milestone for ASI will be the expansion to North America.
After Europe and Asia, this will be the third continent where ASI has a
stronger presence from our new regional office. Embedding this new
venture into ASI’s structure, culture and its goals will define ASI’s future for
years to come.
The 2025 Strategy Plan sets ambitious goals on
every level for ASI to evolve as a company while
focusing on impact. It is about pushing new ideas
and approaches, which is very motivating for me.
I am excited that a part of our Strategic Plan will
align with the Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs). Every step matters, and I am proud to be
working with an organization that invests time to
align its company strategy with the SDGs.
Fabian Mohr
Jessie Ooi
Finance Director, ASI
Regional Coordinator, ASI Asia Pacific
Which commitment will define ASI’s success going forward?
There are four commitments that I believe will define ASI’s success going
forward, i.e. enabling ASI communities to use data for decision-making,
increasing ASI Integrity and Anti-Fraud Services, establishing the ASI Village
that focusing on social issues (e.g. related to the vulnerable – migrant workers,
gender, wages, etc.), and aligning the ASI Strategy Impact Map with the SDGs.
Adriana Guzman
Quality Director, ASI
Which commitment will define ASI’s success going forward?
All commitments are relevant, but my favorite ones are related to the ASI Village,
dispute management, competencies and the ASI Assurance Academy. With all of
these, we are willing to listen and discuss issues with interested parties, and engage
in a meaningful way that allows us to improve our systems. For example, create new
competences and new trainings at the Academy based on needs and anticipate
potential conflicts/disputes based on the information collected.
For me, the ASI Strategic Plan 2025 reinforces the
uniqueness of ASI, always looking for innovation
and to have real impact. It also matches our
mission, vision and values. Our team is committed
and supportive, and it feels like there is renewed
energy within the business.
asi / Annual Report 2020 16
Which commitment will define ASI’s success going forward?
The strategy is so complete that I believe that each commitment
plays an important part in achieving our vision. It is hard to choose
only one commitment. All the commitments are interrelated, and
the success of the strategy is dependent on all of them.
Catalina Romero
Deputy Managing Director, ASI
Meet the ASI team:
Matthias Wilnhammer
Operations Director, ASI
Which commitment will define ASI’s success going forward?
I do not want to single out a particular commitment – all commitments
are equally important, they are very much interlinked and the
strategy will only be successful if all are implemented successfully.
My personal favorite is commitment 2.1.3, which refers to optimising
and diversifying ASI’s assessment approach and incorporating new
ways of working. This will be instrumental in shaping how we perform
future assessments, and as such it will be key to strengthening ASI’s
distinctive role in preserving the integrity of the scheme.
We live in challenging times. All the more,
our strategy comes at the right time and
brings important stimulus for ASI to adapt to a
dynamic environment, come up with smarter
solutions and more impactful responses to
emerging risks.
I really like the honesty and transparency of our
strategic plan. We worked very hard to envisage
ASI’s future and how to achieve it together. This
is the first time that ASI has shared its strategy
publicly, and we are showing our commitment to
our vision.
Communication has been another key element of
excitement. We want to engage internally with
our people and with key stakeholders to make our
vision a reality.
asi-assurance.org/s/team asi-assurance.org/s/strategy-2025
Check out our new strategy
page on the website:
asi / Annual Report 2020 17
Photo:
Maris
Zudrags
ASI in numbers
2020
2
0
0
asi / Annual Report 2020 18
771
76
807
87
How many assessments were conducted
by ASI in 2019 and in 2020?
* All types and techniques
2019
2019
2020
2020
In how many countries did we carry out
assessments in 2019 and in 2020*?
Photo:
Maris
Zudrags
asi / Annual Report 2020 19
(including desk review, facilitator*, and fully remote)
Remote assessments in comparison to 2019
How many assessments were carried
out onsite and how many were
held remotely?
2019
613
156
2
0
771
2020
136
647
7
17
807
Assessment Technique
Fully on-site
Fully remote
Partly remote and partly on-site
Remote with facilitator on-site
Grand Total
The majority of assessments in 2020 were conducted remotely. Special kinds
of evaluations were carried out to ensure conformity by CABs with additional
requirements issued by SOs with regard to adapting to circumstances resulting
from the pandemic, while ensuring the integrity of the system.
* The ASI facilitator is not a qualified auditor but a person that is onsite during an assessment, and supports the remote
ASI assessor, via appropriate Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
asi / Annual Report 2020 20
Assessor 1
In 2019 travelled 235.693 km
In 2020 travelled 20.449 km
Assessor 2
In 2019 travelled 136.844 km
In 2020 travelled 38.662 km
Assessor 3
In 2019 travelled 71.620 km
In 2020 travelled 16.845 km
Top 3 Assessors with
most assessments
conducted in 2020
Assessor 1
Assessor 2
Assessor 3
Distance travelled (in km)/ year
As 2020 was a year when the majority of our
assessments were conducted remotely, this
had a positive impact on the distance traveled
by ASI assessors, compared to 2019.
asi / Annual Report 2020 21
No. of certificates
per program
(as per 10.01.2021)
What is the difference in desk review
assessments between 2019 and 2020?
FM/Fishery/PC/BP
COC/SCCS
45395
5315
3326
64
1857
1000
487
328
250
22
9
Total 3,953
Total 54,097
FSC
FSC
ASC
RSPO
MSC
SBP
RSB
GSTC
MSC
RSPO
SBP
122 287
2019 2020
In total 122 desk
Reviews which
made up 16% of
total assessment
Initial accreditation
Re-accreditation
2019
4 5
2
11
32
2020 2021 (first half)
In total 287 desk
reviews which made
up 36% of total
assessments
How many initial accreditations
and re-accreditation decisions took
place in 2020 and in 2019?
14
asi / Annual Report 2020 22
Based on findings and investigations in 2018 and 2019, ASI has established
a stronger risk-based approach when considering doing business with new
applicant CABs. The process involves an assessment of integrity risks revealed
from information provided by applicants and open source research about their
company and personnel. A decision to accept the application is made by the ASI’s
management, based on whether the applicant presents a significant risk.
As of June 2021, 15 CAB applications for FSC accreditation have been reviewed
as part of this new process, out of which 8 applications were rejected based on
identified integrity risks. The primary risks identified were a conflict of interest,
impartiality and allegations of fraudulent or unethical behavior discovered via
recorded incidents and open source research. Moving forward, ASI will continue
to improve and refine this process to prevent high risk entities from entering
scheme owner assurance systems.
Number of accredited CABs
FSC
MSC
RSPO
ASC
SBP
GSTC
RSB
GIB
5
12
25
28
40
4
2
1
Did you know?
ASI has enhanced its application process
with integrity assessments for new applicants.
How many CABs are currently
accredited for each assurance
program?
What is the percentage difference
in assessment technique for all types
other than desk reviews?
2019
Fully on-site Fully remote Desk reviews
2020
79.4% 4.5% 15.8%
17.2% 45.6% 36.3%
asi / Annual Report 2020 23
ASI significantly increased the proportion
of assessments conducted remotely
to overcome the complications of
international travel since COVID-19
restrictions were implemented globally.
Remote assessments have been either
conducted fully remotely (without
someone on-site) or partially remotely
(presence of an on-site facilitator). Since
the easing of such restrictions, ASI was
also able to conduct some traditional on-
site assessments, when feasible. This new
situation has created different challenges
and opportunities for global assurance. ​​
From my perspective, this paradigm
shift in operations represents the
perfect logistical storm for ASI to further
diversify and improve the efficiency of its
evaluation tools for the future. In addition,
as I sometimes still act as an assessor for
the FSC program, I have to admit that I
appreciate not having to travel as much
as before and nonetheless being able to
influence the system.
An opportunity that ASI seized rapidly
was to conduct most of its office
assessments and desk reviews remotely.
Historically, these assessments were
conducted remotely to minimize travel
costs and related environmental impacts
and because the assessment techniques
rarely required on-site verifications. Most
of the information necessary to verify
conformity of CABs for these assessments
is normally easily accessible through
remote means.
Then  Now
ASI Assessments:
What did we do
differently
in 2020? David Brunelle,
FSC Program Manager
Photo:
Maris
Zudrags
asi / Annual Report 2020 24
Another type of fully remote
assessment conducted by ASI is the
compliance assessment. In this type
of assessment, ASI conducts its own
evaluation of certificate holders, to
assess the quality of previous auditing
and decision-making work of CABs.
Some compliance assessments
can be done fully remotely when
the information required to assess
conformity is accessible through
remote means. These fully remote
field assessments are relatively easy
to plan and have the same advantage
as office assessments, with reduced
planning needs of logistics. They
allow the assessors to conduct
their work in the comfort of their
remote offices, instead of being in
the field, sometimes under difficult
conditions attributable to site visits
and international travel (e.g. heat,
humidity, cold, jet lag, poor quality
housing, lack of internet connections,
sleep deprivation, etc.).
These remote assessments are
considered a compromise by ASI,
taking into account the complications
regarding international travel. Indeed,
if COVID-19 related restrictions are
lifted in the future, ASI will prioritize
on-site or facilitated assessments over
fully remote field assessments, as they
allow for better access to information
and deeper evaluations of conformity
of some purely field related aspects.
According to assessors, conducting these assessments in their remote offices
allows them to be more comfortable and that situation has brought a little more
stability in their personal life – as assessors normally travel abroad extensively.
The reduction in the need for assessors to travel has also brought some relief for
the team in charge of planning assessments at ASI. Higher digital
literacy
Ability to work
remotely
Digital information
exchanges
Lack of human
contact
Dependence on
technology
Lack of full
presence out in the
field
For field assessments, the situation has been a little more complex. Despite
restrictions and the lack of on-the-ground presence in countries covered by ASI
oversight, ASI still needs to have oversight of the field verifications conducted
by CABs. Hence, ASI has adapted its operations to be able to verify conformity
of CABs through remote means, where possible.
When scheme requirements allow for fully remote audits by the CABs (FSC, for
example, allows them under certain circumstances) and they are conducted,
ASI would join remotely and conduct a witness assessment of the CAB’s audit.
Pros
Cons
Pros and cons of working remotely
asi / Annual Report 2020 25
During those challenging times, ASI developed the concept of a so-
called “facilitator”, which allowed for partially remote assessments. The
use of facilitators (i.e. mostly translators and experts previously hired by
ASI for on-site assessments) presents an opportunity for an assessor to
access field observations via recordings or live-streaming of the facilitator
while conducting the assessment remotely. It is mostly used for witness
assessments where the CAB is conducting on-site audits and no assessor
can reach the site in a timely and safe manner, or where ASI needs on-site
access for a compliance assessment and the same access problem occurs.
Although a little more difficult to plan and conduct (e.g. facilitators need
training and extra preparation), this new assessment technique provides a
new tool for ASI to conduct global assurance for the future. ASI will continue
to use facilitation as a tool when travelling to certain areas would be
prohibitively costly or logistically improbable for assessors.
The ASI
Facilitator
Photo:
Catalina
Romero
asi / Annual Report 2020 26
What is an incident and how is it reported?
An incident is any reported activity, observation, stakeholder comment, or
concern that threatens the reputation and/or integrity of the ASI assurance
system and/or it’s associated certification schemes and is not already
considered under the relevant ASI procedures for complaints and appeals.
In 2020, ASI received 274 incidents in total. 43% of all incidents
are closed and responded to.
Between 2018-2020, the type of incidents reported diversified and more
incidents were logged by stakeholders, media, and confidential and
anonymous reporters. In line with our strategic plan, increased collaboration
with stakeholders will be prioritized to enhance the range and sources of
incidents.
Stakeholder
input for ASI
Assessments
ASI welcomes stakeholder input to improve
accreditation decisions and address systemic issues
in certification schemes. We see active stakeholder
engagement as one of the pillars of credible
sustainability schemes.
Incidents
asi / Annual Report 2020 27
Over the years, the type of incident reported has diversified. The majority of
incidents is still reported by scheme owners in 2020 at 29%, but the share of
incidents reported anonymously and confidentially, increased from 4% in 2018
to 13% in 2020. This shows that the ASI incident system is more widely known
and people place their trust in the system. Additionally, the share of incidents
reported by stakeholders is increasing. As part of the ASI strategy, the ASI
Village commitment, this collaboration will be further enhanced.
The top three countries that received the most incidents are
China (12%), Ukraine (5%), Brazil (5%).
Stakeholders
Scheme owner
Other
Media
Confidential
Certificate Holder
CAB
ASI resource
Confidential
SBP
RSPO
MSC
FSC
ASC
Incident reporters 2018-2020
FSC
60%
MSC
18%
ASC
12%
RSPO
7%
SBP
3%
Incidents received
per program in 2020 (%)
C
h
i
n
a
U
k
r
a
i
n
e
B
r
a
z
i
l
I
n
d
o
n
e
s
i
a
M
a
l
a
y
s
i
a
V
i
e
t
n
a
m
P
e
r
u
G
e
r
m
a
n
y
A
u
s
t
r
a
l
i
a
I
n
d
i
a
2018
0%
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
2019 2020
asi / Annual Report 2020 28
Based on ASI assessment findings, logged incidents, investigations by
the Integrity Services Team (IST) and gap analysis of the FSC normative
framework, FSC performed two integrity projects in 2020 to strengthen the
CAB due diligence review of certification applicants in high risk regions.
Voluntary participation of CABs revealed that they have the competency
and capacity to perform FSC-supported background checks, and that those
checks can help prevent high risk companies from entering FSC systems.
Based on the findings of these integrity projects, the IST will continue to
collaborate with FSC on both strengthening the due diligence framework
and expanding it beyond voluntary requirements into other high risk regions
and supply chains.
How are incidents investigated?
Each incident is appraised and graded to determine if an
action needs to be taken by ASI or a CAB. For 11% of 2020
incidents, ASI shared the information with CABs and
requested them to follow up on specific issues.
15% of 2020 incidents were or will be reviewed
at office assessments. 76 witness/compliance
assessments and desk reviews were scheduled
in response to 274 logged incidents from 2020.
The main issues in China are alleged certification
fraud, including falsified documents, product mixing,
false claims, and undisclosed purchase and sales, and
competition between CABs. The latest one includes
incidents about CABs, which were considered during
the application processes. The majority of incidents
in Ukraine involve alleged illegal extraction and trade
(73%), which are mainly reported by stakeholders.
Incidents in Ukraine and China – what actions
were taken and how do we
prevent future risks?
asi / Annual Report 2020 29
Complaints can be submitted by ASI or by anyone involved in a formal dispute
resolution process with a CAB and/or certificate holder, and is not satisfied with
the outcome.
How many complaints did ASI receive in 2020?
ASI received 30 complaints in 2020. 8 complaints were lodged against ASI and
22 were referring to CABs (17 FSC, 3 RSPO, 2 ASC). From those 30 complaints,
14 were rejected after submission and 4 sent back to the CABs. In total, ASI
conducted 10 investigations and 2 direct dialogue processes.
Dispute
Management for
ASI Assessments
Rejected Closed
via direct
dialogue
Closed via
investigation
CAB
asked to
investigate
14 10 4 2
Complaints
Status of complaints lodged in 2020
asi / Annual Report 2020 30
NCs and CFUs overdue
ASI has had less than 20 NCs and CFUs overdue for any given scheme during the last
three years.
Assessment findings are the result of the evaluation of
collected Assessment evidence against Assessment criteria.
Findings may indicate conformity or nonconformity.
Findings NCs and CFUs closed on time
No NC should pass its deadline without action being taken. Whilst there is some
disparity between programs, this has held steady throughout 2020, although there
is room for improvement. In 2020, 87% NCs and CFUs were closed. The status
“accepted pending verification” introduced in May 2020 comes with new challenges
for ASI, in terms of systematically meeting the deadline for closure. To address this,
we are constantly calibrating internally to ensure that deadlines are adapted to align
with this.
Nonconformities (NCs) and Compliance Follow-Ups (CFUs) evaluated on time
ASI committed to complete an evaluation within 30 days when full responses for
NCs and CFUs are in place. There has been a slow but steady improvement in the
number of evaluations throughout 2020. 74% were on time across programs. 26%
were late due in part to system issues and significant changes to a core procedure in
August 2020. ASI is enhancing its tools to effectively track NC Management Key
Performance Indicators, especially as part of changes required for v6.1 of
the ASI Findings Procedure. It is important that we meet our deadlines
and procedural timeframes to hold CABs accountable when they do not
meet their own timing commitments.
- Tim Anderton-Tyers, Special Projects Coordinator
25%
January February March April May June July
ASC FSC MSC RSPO ASI
September
August October November December
50%
75%
100%
This figure presents the number of NCs and CFUs evaluated on time
across schemes in 2020.
asi / Annual Report 2020 31
How many appeals did ASI receive in 2020?
ASI received 30 appeals in 2020, from 21 different CABs (4 ASC, 19 FSC, 1 GSTC,
1 MSC and 5 RSPO). 5 appeals were rejected after submission. From the 25
appeals, 23 are closed and were conducted through 2 external investigations,
1 internal investigation and 20 through direct dialogue. Two appeals are on hold
pending clarification of the SO.
We work to continuously improve our systems based on outcomes from
complaints and appeals processes. From the last two years, we can see that
our complaints and appeals processes are more accessible and understood
by stakeholders. Also, Direct Dialogue, one resolution method, is very well
appreciated by complainants and appellants.
- Nathalie Breton, Dispute and Project Manager
Decisions from the 23
accepted appeals
Status of appeals
lodged in 2020
9 8 6
Appeals
Appeals can be submitted by a CAB to appeal
a Nonconformity or an Accreditation decision,
as per the ASI Appeals Procedure.
Closed via direct dialogue
20
Rejected after initial review
5
Closed via internal investigation
2
Closed via external investigation
2
Other
1
Partially upheld (ASI decision partly maintained)
Fully upheld (ASI decision not maintained)
Rejected (ASI decision maintained)
asi / Annual Report 2020 32
Throughout 2020, ASI developed the Two Tier Assurance Program, an innovative
solution that brings together national accreditation and ASI oversight in Europe.
Starting off with the German National Accreditation Body (NAB) DAkkS, ASI
assessors will be part of the NAB’s assessment team, i.e. Tier 1 of the program.
Tier 1 leads to synergies and expert exchange between ASI and respective NAB
partners, in line with European accreditation regulations. The complementary
ASI approval under Tier 2 is a novel assurance solution that goes beyond ISO
17011 accreditation, resulting in stronger and more adaptive oversight for the
most trusted sustainability standard systems.
Assurance
milestones
2020
ASI Two Tier Assurance
Program for independent
oversight
Photo:
Vladislav
Kheynonen
asi / Annual Report 2020 33
Participating NAB
Integration: Two Accreditations into one
Governmental Accreditation with ASI expert participation
Integration: ASI Approval
Enhanced oversight and monitoring under ASI Approval
Tier 1 Tier 2
CAB System Review
CAB Performance Complementary Assurance Services
Joint Office
assessment
ASI joining NAB
assessment as
“NAB resource”
Joint witness
assessment
ASI doing NAB
assessment as
“NAB resource”
Witness
assessments
Compliance
assessments
by ASI
Integrity
services
Knowledge
sharing
by ASI
Data
insights
asi / Annual Report 2020 34
Our strategy has a clear commitment to strengthen the Integrity and Anti-Fraud
Services for ASI clients. There is a growing need to address integrity risks in
supply chains to ensure that fraudulent certificate holders do not remain in and
also do not re-enter the system. ASI uses a number of tools such as transaction
verification (TV) loops to do this.
TV loops are initiated from the detection of potential integrity risks through
reported incidents. They involve the collection of transaction data via an ASI
online transaction analysis tool and supply chain mapping.
The findings from the detection phase then flow into the investigation phase,
where ASI’s Integrity Services Team conducts targeted analysis of the data to
identify critical risks to the integrity of the systems and provide solutions how to
mitigate those risks.
In 2020, the IST worked on ten TV loops, in which around 40 CABs and more
than 2000 certificate holders participated. For FSC, IST conducted TV loops
on Mangifera (Mango Wood) and Dalbergia (Indian Rosewood or Sheesham),
okoume (Aucoumea klaineana Pierre) and charcoal supply chains resulting in
further investigations into transaction mismatches. TV loops were also piloted
with MSC on perch supply chains and with ASC for shrimp.
The pandemic did not reduce interest in ASI assurance system development
services. In 2020, ASI supported 23 VSS across a broad range of sectors.
We worked closely with the Rainforest Alliance to test innovative assessment
approaches, focusing on the competence and accountability of certification
decision makers.
ASI collaborated with Sustainable Electronics Recycling Initiative (SERI) to improve
the quality and consistency of the SERI assurance program. We supported
SERI in revising the SERI Code of Good Practices, which contains certification
requirements for certification bodies and auditors.
ASI worked with Fair Trade USA on a project to develop a smarter scoring system
and risk-based approach that identifies and manages certificate holder credibility
risks. The project was based on ASI research into risk based approaches applied
throughout the VSS sector.
The Green Button/Grüner Knopf is a new certification system for sustainable
textile supply chains, implemented by the German Ministry of Economic
Cooperation and Development (BMZ), hosted by the German Development
Agency, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). A
multidisciplinary ASI team supported the development of this certification system.
Achieving assurance outcomes
through system development
Investigating and mitigating
integrity risks
We aim to scale-up our work and offer more services to other
schemes in the future.
asi / Annual Report 2020 35
To adapt the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) assurance processes to better detect forced
labour risks, ASI’s Social Competence Centre provided revisions and feedback on
BCI’s assurance resources, such as the forced labour indicators, assurance manual
and producer self-assessments. ASI developed interview guidance for farmers and
workers, a standard operating procedure to support BCI assessors and verifiers to
detect and report cases of forced labour and a reporting template to collect and
organize incidents or risks of forced labour. To build awareness of forced labour
indicators and explain assessment techniques, ASI developed training materials and
interactive exercises for BCI assessors and verifiers.
Project Hope was an integrity investigation launched by FSC and ASI in 2019. It
was triggered by prior mismatches in the plywood TV loop and incidents related
to potential product mixing. The project involved investigating Calophyllum
plywood supplies between the certificate holder, its first-tier suppliers and
purchasers. Calophyllum plywood supply chains in Asia pose a risk of non-
conforming products entering certified supply chains.
The main method applied was the mapping and analysis of the company
structure. This investigation resulted in several recommendations to ASI and
FSC, e.g. to review the requirements for multi-site and group certification and to
consider introducing “critical” requirements to trigger the immediate suspension
of certificate holders. Patterns of potential fraud and gaps were revealed which
can be used to close loopholes or support future TV loops and investigations.
Project Hope –
How does Transaction
Verification work?
Forced labour and forced child labour are very challenging subjects to
identify during assessments. However, equipping assessors with the
right tools and providing clear guidance can allow them to understand
this complex subject, identify its indicators and risks, and to better
communicate with workers.
- Asude Oruklu, ASI Social Competence Coordinator
Ensuring social compliance
in the supply chain
Sharing our knowledge
and expertise
To support the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) in its implementation of
their new Social Audit Methodology into the ASC Certification and Accreditation
Requirements, ASI developed training materials and delivered virtual social auditor
training to a group of ASC Chain of Custody auditors. The training took place in July
2020 over three days. It was tailored to the ASC social standard requirements and
covered other topics such as interviewing workers, stakeholder consultation and
understanding ILO Conventions (International Labour Organization).
asi / Annual Report 2020 36
Our research in 2020 focused on COVID-19, particularly the challenges and new
opportunities emerging from new assessment approaches. For instance, Technology-
enhanced Auditing in Voluntary Sustainability Standards: The Impact of COVID-19,
was published in June 2020, exploring the initial crisis response and reference to new
auditing technologies made by 21 VSS.¹
ASI collaborated with ISEAL on a project funded by IDH, The Sustainable Trade
Initiative, focused on ensuring the integrity, continuity and effectiveness of
sustainability assurance under crisis conditions. ASI published a report Sustainability
Auditing Good Practice in Response to COVID-19² containing findings from its high-
level study of COVID-19 responses from 41 organizations. ASI went on to co-author
ISEAL Guidance on using Technology and Data to Enable and Enhance Remote
Audits³, which collates practical advice on the types of tools and data sources
available to integrate remote auditing into assurance processes.
Addressing sustainability challenges
through innovation and research
Organizations are still in the phase of learning and experimenting as to what
credible remote auditing looks like. The speed at which organisations have
adapted should be seen as a positive. However, they must consider the
effectiveness of their remote auditing approaches in the long term.
- Monica Staniaszek, ASI Project Manager
¹ Castka, P., Searcy, C.,  Fischer, S. (2020). Technology-enhanced auditing in voluntary sustainability standards:
The impact of COVID-19. Sustainability, 12(11), 4740.
² Staniaszek, M., Fischer, S., and Anderton-Tyers, T. (2020). Research Report: Sustainability Auditing
Good Practices in Response to COVID-19. Prepared for ISEAL Alliance.
³ Lefebure, R., Staniaszek, M., and Mallet, P. (2021). ISEAL Guide on Using Technology and Data in Remote Audits.
Photo:
Catalina
Romero
asi / Annual Report 2020 37
Our team
is our
strength
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, ASI has actively supported team
members with regard to work-related challenges. Initiatives focused on promoting
a supportive and flexible environment that strengthened a sense of togetherness
in increasingly remote work situations.
In 2020, some key team building activities were weekly online yoga classes,
weekly team togetherness sessions with games and exchange, a virtual escape
room challenge as well as an online health and safety training focusing on working
from home.
In December 2020, 80 care packages were sent to team members around the
world. Each package included cozy ASI hoodies (organic, fair trade certified)
and other useful items.
The ASI Global Team Retreat is a major event that celebrates the extraordinary
team spirit at ASI. The retreat, originally planned to take place in March 2020
in Germany, became ASI’s first “Virtual Team Retreat”. In non-COVID years,
the team meets in person for a week to calibrate, train and align on ASI’s focus
areas and future direction.
What did we do to foster a sense of
community while working remotely?
asi / Annual Report 2020 38
During the team building week, all members
participated in virtual meetings, technical
workshops and remote discussions that were
adapted to the situation and current needs and
were not planned for longer than 2.5 hours. One
day was assigned to the most important topic at
that time: Remote Assessment Approaches. The
retreat was a real success with lots of positive
feedback.
If there is an organization that I can consider to be truly global,
it is ASI. I have co-workers with whom I communicate all the
time, and they are based in all corners of the world, with many
specialities and diverse knowledge. This is the best resource
that I can conceive of to become a global assurance provider
for social and environmental standard systems.
- Jan Pierre Jardin, RSPO Program Manager, ASI
I enjoy the positive spirit and dedication that people bring
to their work at ASI, as well as the openness and support I
experienced during my first months. I am really looking forward
to meeting all of my new colleagues in person soon, and I have
heard that the global retreats are always great!
- Marcel Köhler, Data Insights Manager, ASI
Team building
week
asi / Annual Report 2020 39
Glossary of terms
Accreditation
Third-party attestation related to a Conformity Assessment Body, conveying
formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific Conformity
Assessment tasks (Source: ISO/IEC 17011:2017).
ASI Two-Tier Assurance Program
The ASI program that integrates Accreditation (Tier 1) and complementary
ASI Assurance Services (Tier 2) to ensure the overall integrity for ASI clients
and their claims – Tier One consists of the Accreditation of Conformity
Assessment Bodies (CABs) by Participating National Accreditation Bodies
(NABs) with mandatory ASI participation in Accreditation Assessments. Tier
Two consists of the complementary Assurance Services provided by ASI.
Assessment
The process undertaken by ASI to determine the competence of a Conformity
Assessment Body based on applicable Accreditation Requirements,
standard(s) and/or other normative documents, including the Conformity
Assessment Body’s own documented system for a defined Scope of
Accreditation.
Assurance
Any and all independent and impartial ASI oversight activities that ensure that
our clients systems are implemented consistently and rigorously. Intelligent
Assurance is the process of collecting information from wider sources (i.e.
local experts, NGOs, media, GIS data, stakeholders’ input), based on which
one implements targeted activities to address a specific problem.
Assurance Services
Any and all independent and impartial ASI activities that ensure the integrity
of ASI client’s systems and their claims in order to generate real social and
environmental impact.
Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) or Certification Body
(CB)
Body that performs Conformity Assessment Services and that can be
the object of Accreditation (Source ISO/IEC 17011:2017). Note: The terms
Conformity Assessment Body and Certification body are considered
equivalent, and ASI uses the terms interchangeably. ASI usage generally
follows conventions adopted by Scheme Owners.
Scheme Owner (SO)
The person or organization responsible for developing and maintaining a
Certification Scheme or standard system and that owns the intellectual
property, copyright, trademarks and other rights to a Certification Scheme
(adapted from ISO 17067:2013). Scheme Owners are responsible for
developing, reviewing, revising and interpreting their standards.
Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS)
Voluntary sustainability standard systems are non-govermental initiatives
that seek to drive sustainable production and consumption by creating
market demand for sustainable products, and supply to meet that demand.
They help buyers (both consumers and businesses) to identify sustainably-
produced products, and they guide producers, forest managers, mine and
tourism operators, and factory owners and others in the choice of sustainable
practices.*
Visit our Document Library for the ASI Glossary, which
defines terms and abbreviations used by ASI.
asi-assurance.org/s/quality
* Schmitz-Hoffmann, C., Schmidt, M., Hansmann, B., and Palekhov, D. (Eds.) (2014): Voluntary Standard
Systems - A Contribution to Sustainable Development. Natural Resource Management in Transition, Vol. 1.
Springer Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg
asi / Annual Report 2020 40

More Related Content

What's hot

Conversion of DB to DC – A Case Study
Conversion of DB to DC – A Case StudyConversion of DB to DC – A Case Study
Conversion of DB to DC – A Case Study
Ron Cheshire
 

What's hot (8)

Considering MEPs and METs - Brian Nicholson
Considering MEPs and METs - Brian NicholsonConsidering MEPs and METs - Brian Nicholson
Considering MEPs and METs - Brian Nicholson
 
Conversion of DB to DC – A Case Study
Conversion of DB to DC – A Case StudyConversion of DB to DC – A Case Study
Conversion of DB to DC – A Case Study
 
Revitalizing CES Membership
Revitalizing CES Membership Revitalizing CES Membership
Revitalizing CES Membership
 
Leadership Academy _Audit
Leadership Academy _AuditLeadership Academy _Audit
Leadership Academy _Audit
 
Defined Benefit Plans – Legislative Update, Trends and Opportunities - Vince ...
Defined Benefit Plans – Legislative Update, Trends and Opportunities - Vince ...Defined Benefit Plans – Legislative Update, Trends and Opportunities - Vince ...
Defined Benefit Plans – Legislative Update, Trends and Opportunities - Vince ...
 
ADB Recruitment Information Session at Harvard 2016
ADB Recruitment Information Session at Harvard 2016ADB Recruitment Information Session at Harvard 2016
ADB Recruitment Information Session at Harvard 2016
 
The Role and Performance of Universities According to the SDGs
The Role and Performance of Universities According to the SDGsThe Role and Performance of Universities According to the SDGs
The Role and Performance of Universities According to the SDGs
 
Adding HSA to Your 401(k) Advisory Practice - David Ritchie - Ryan Tiernan
Adding HSA to Your 401(k) Advisory Practice - David Ritchie - Ryan TiernanAdding HSA to Your 401(k) Advisory Practice - David Ritchie - Ryan Tiernan
Adding HSA to Your 401(k) Advisory Practice - David Ritchie - Ryan Tiernan
 

Similar to ASI Annual Report 2020

M6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptx
M6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptxM6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptx
M6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptx
caniceconsulting
 
M6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptx
M6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptxM6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptx
M6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptx
caniceconsulting
 
Samsung Sustainability reports 2014
Samsung Sustainability reports 2014Samsung Sustainability reports 2014
Samsung Sustainability reports 2014
Dario Caliendo
 
1_sustainability-report-2016
1_sustainability-report-20161_sustainability-report-2016
1_sustainability-report-2016
Jason Roberts
 
credit-suisse Performance Indicators/Ratings 2002
credit-suisse Performance Indicators/Ratings 2002credit-suisse Performance Indicators/Ratings 2002
credit-suisse Performance Indicators/Ratings 2002
QuarterlyEarningsReports2
 
Responsible investment & governance annual report_2010
Responsible investment & governance annual report_2010Responsible investment & governance annual report_2010
Responsible investment & governance annual report_2010
Nordea Bank
 

Similar to ASI Annual Report 2020 (20)

ASI Annual Report 2022-23
ASI Annual Report 2022-23ASI Annual Report 2022-23
ASI Annual Report 2022-23
 
M6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptx
M6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptxM6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptx
M6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptx
 
M6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptx
M6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptxM6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptx
M6 CSR - CSR Adopting a CSR Framework to Mitigate Risk and Impact.pptx
 
Samsung Sustainability reports 2014
Samsung Sustainability reports 2014Samsung Sustainability reports 2014
Samsung Sustainability reports 2014
 
Changes in the sustainability/ESG reporting landscape
Changes in the sustainability/ESG reporting landscapeChanges in the sustainability/ESG reporting landscape
Changes in the sustainability/ESG reporting landscape
 
SGS 2020 Integrated Annual Report
SGS 2020 Integrated Annual ReportSGS 2020 Integrated Annual Report
SGS 2020 Integrated Annual Report
 
SGS 2021 Corporate Sustainability Report
SGS 2021 Corporate Sustainability ReportSGS 2021 Corporate Sustainability Report
SGS 2021 Corporate Sustainability Report
 
annual report 2023 LifeHealthcare slideshow
annual report 2023 LifeHealthcare slideshowannual report 2023 LifeHealthcare slideshow
annual report 2023 LifeHealthcare slideshow
 
Material Engagement (with suppliment included)
Material Engagement (with suppliment included)Material Engagement (with suppliment included)
Material Engagement (with suppliment included)
 
SGS Corporate Sustainability Report 2009
SGS Corporate Sustainability Report 2009SGS Corporate Sustainability Report 2009
SGS Corporate Sustainability Report 2009
 
1_sustainability-report-2016
1_sustainability-report-20161_sustainability-report-2016
1_sustainability-report-2016
 
Corporate Responsibility Report 2015
Corporate Responsibility Report 2015Corporate Responsibility Report 2015
Corporate Responsibility Report 2015
 
How we deliver excellence in reporting based on the GRI Standards
How we deliver excellence in reporting based on the GRI StandardsHow we deliver excellence in reporting based on the GRI Standards
How we deliver excellence in reporting based on the GRI Standards
 
SGS 2018 Corporate Sustainability Report: Our Value To Society
SGS 2018 Corporate Sustainability Report: Our Value To SocietySGS 2018 Corporate Sustainability Report: Our Value To Society
SGS 2018 Corporate Sustainability Report: Our Value To Society
 
Chhaya ver 5.4
Chhaya ver 5.4Chhaya ver 5.4
Chhaya ver 5.4
 
credit-suisse Performance Indicators/Ratings 2002
credit-suisse Performance Indicators/Ratings 2002credit-suisse Performance Indicators/Ratings 2002
credit-suisse Performance Indicators/Ratings 2002
 
Which benefits can the alignment with the SDGs bring to your organization?
Which benefits can the alignment with the SDGs bring to your organization?Which benefits can the alignment with the SDGs bring to your organization?
Which benefits can the alignment with the SDGs bring to your organization?
 
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the MENA Region
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the MENA RegionCorporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the MENA Region
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the MENA Region
 
Corporate Responsibility Report 2013
Corporate Responsibility Report 2013Corporate Responsibility Report 2013
Corporate Responsibility Report 2013
 
Responsible investment & governance annual report_2010
Responsible investment & governance annual report_2010Responsible investment & governance annual report_2010
Responsible investment & governance annual report_2010
 

Recently uploaded

一比一原版(UWA毕业证)西澳大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UWA毕业证)西澳大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(UWA毕业证)西澳大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UWA毕业证)西澳大学毕业证成绩单
enbam
 
一比一原版(GU毕业证)格里菲斯大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(GU毕业证)格里菲斯大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(GU毕业证)格里菲斯大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(GU毕业证)格里菲斯大学毕业证成绩单
enbam
 
一比一原版(UOW毕业证)伍伦贡大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UOW毕业证)伍伦贡大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(UOW毕业证)伍伦贡大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UOW毕业证)伍伦贡大学毕业证成绩单
enbam
 
Program Kickoff- Cohort 4______ (2).pptx
Program Kickoff- Cohort 4______ (2).pptxProgram Kickoff- Cohort 4______ (2).pptx
Program Kickoff- Cohort 4______ (2).pptx
ScottMeyers35
 
Program Kickoff- Cohort......_4 (1).pptx
Program Kickoff- Cohort......_4 (1).pptxProgram Kickoff- Cohort......_4 (1).pptx
Program Kickoff- Cohort......_4 (1).pptx
ScottMeyers35
 
researching client.pptxffffffffffffffffffffffffff
researching client.pptxffffffffffffffffffffffffffresearching client.pptxffffffffffffffffffffffffff
researching client.pptxffffffffffffffffffffffffff
lolsDocherty
 
一比一原版(QUT毕业证)昆士兰科技大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(QUT毕业证)昆士兰科技大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(QUT毕业证)昆士兰科技大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(QUT毕业证)昆士兰科技大学毕业证成绩单
aveka1
 
Advancing Impact Measurement | Public Good App House
Advancing Impact Measurement | Public Good App HouseAdvancing Impact Measurement | Public Good App House
Advancing Impact Measurement | Public Good App House
TechSoup
 

Recently uploaded (20)

一比一原版(UWA毕业证)西澳大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UWA毕业证)西澳大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(UWA毕业证)西澳大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UWA毕业证)西澳大学毕业证成绩单
 
一比一原版(GU毕业证)格里菲斯大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(GU毕业证)格里菲斯大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(GU毕业证)格里菲斯大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(GU毕业证)格里菲斯大学毕业证成绩单
 
一比一原版(UOW毕业证)伍伦贡大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UOW毕业证)伍伦贡大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(UOW毕业证)伍伦贡大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UOW毕业证)伍伦贡大学毕业证成绩单
 
Program Kickoff- Cohort 4______ (2).pptx
Program Kickoff- Cohort 4______ (2).pptxProgram Kickoff- Cohort 4______ (2).pptx
Program Kickoff- Cohort 4______ (2).pptx
 
Honeycomb for The Hive Design Inspirations
Honeycomb for The Hive Design InspirationsHoneycomb for The Hive Design Inspirations
Honeycomb for The Hive Design Inspirations
 
Program Kickoff- Cohort......_4 (1).pptx
Program Kickoff- Cohort......_4 (1).pptxProgram Kickoff- Cohort......_4 (1).pptx
Program Kickoff- Cohort......_4 (1).pptx
 
researching client.pptxffffffffffffffffffffffffff
researching client.pptxffffffffffffffffffffffffffresearching client.pptxffffffffffffffffffffffffff
researching client.pptxffffffffffffffffffffffffff
 
Near and Not Lost Yale Historical Review
Near and Not Lost Yale Historical ReviewNear and Not Lost Yale Historical Review
Near and Not Lost Yale Historical Review
 
The MEL Toolkit Launch Webinar Presentation
The MEL Toolkit Launch Webinar PresentationThe MEL Toolkit Launch Webinar Presentation
The MEL Toolkit Launch Webinar Presentation
 
Who are the Sherden Yale Historical Review
Who are the Sherden Yale Historical ReviewWho are the Sherden Yale Historical Review
Who are the Sherden Yale Historical Review
 
sarkarijobswork.online-bsf-si-vehicle-mechanic-and-constable-technical-may24.pdf
sarkarijobswork.online-bsf-si-vehicle-mechanic-and-constable-technical-may24.pdfsarkarijobswork.online-bsf-si-vehicle-mechanic-and-constable-technical-may24.pdf
sarkarijobswork.online-bsf-si-vehicle-mechanic-and-constable-technical-may24.pdf
 
一比一原版(QUT毕业证)昆士兰科技大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(QUT毕业证)昆士兰科技大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(QUT毕业证)昆士兰科技大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(QUT毕业证)昆士兰科技大学毕业证成绩单
 
Setting a new path to greater, shared prosperity
Setting a new path to greater, shared prosperitySetting a new path to greater, shared prosperity
Setting a new path to greater, shared prosperity
 
Writing Sample-Title: Pioneering Urban Transformation: The Collective Power o...
Writing Sample-Title: Pioneering Urban Transformation: The Collective Power o...Writing Sample-Title: Pioneering Urban Transformation: The Collective Power o...
Writing Sample-Title: Pioneering Urban Transformation: The Collective Power o...
 
OilChange: Big Oil Reality Check May 2024
OilChange: Big Oil Reality Check May 2024OilChange: Big Oil Reality Check May 2024
OilChange: Big Oil Reality Check May 2024
 
“Bee engaged with Youth”. World Bee Day 2024; May. 20th.
“Bee engaged with Youth”. World Bee Day 2024; May. 20th.“Bee engaged with Youth”. World Bee Day 2024; May. 20th.
“Bee engaged with Youth”. World Bee Day 2024; May. 20th.
 
Advancing Impact Measurement | Public Good App House
Advancing Impact Measurement | Public Good App HouseAdvancing Impact Measurement | Public Good App House
Advancing Impact Measurement | Public Good App House
 
07/03/2024 Publiekdomeindag - namiddag
07/03/2024 Publiekdomeindag - namiddag07/03/2024 Publiekdomeindag - namiddag
07/03/2024 Publiekdomeindag - namiddag
 
Tiocfaidh Ar La, Our Day Will Come Yale Historical Review
Tiocfaidh Ar La, Our Day Will Come Yale Historical ReviewTiocfaidh Ar La, Our Day Will Come Yale Historical Review
Tiocfaidh Ar La, Our Day Will Come Yale Historical Review
 
Effective Financial Reporting - May 2024
Effective Financial Reporting - May 2024Effective Financial Reporting - May 2024
Effective Financial Reporting - May 2024
 

ASI Annual Report 2020

  • 2. 1 ASI operates a central office in Bonn, Germany and a regional office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ASI Bonn Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 69 | 53113 Bonn | Germany ASI Asia Pacific SDn.BHD Menara MBMR (Floor 11, Unit 5) | Jalan Syed Putra Mid Valley city | 43200 Kuala Lumpur | Malaysia www.asi-assurance.org asi-info@asi-assurance.org ASI at a glance Reflections from our Board of Directors Reflections from our Managing Director Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic Strategic plan 2025: Taking ASI assurance to the next level ASI in numbers ASI Assessments: Then and now Stakeholder input for ASI Assessments Assurance milestones 2020 Our team is our strength Glossary of terms* 3 7 8 10 12 17 23 26 32 37 39 ©ASI 2021 – Assurance Services International GmbH. All rights reserved. ASI communication direction: Tanuka Mukherjee | Photo credits: ASI team | Design Annual Report 2020: McCann Riga | www.mccann.lv. No part of this work covered by the publisher’s copyright may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means (graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information retrieval systems) without the written permission of the publisher. Published October 2021. * Refer to this section for important terms and abbreviations. Table of contents
  • 3. Assurance for real impact asi / Annual Report 2020 2 Photo: Maris Zudrags
  • 4. asi / Annual Report 2020 3 ASI at a glance
  • 5. asi / Annual Report 2020 4 Assurance Services International (ASI) is the leading global assurance provider for social and environmental standard systems. Our mission is to assure the credibility of Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) and initiatives and support them to deliver real social and environmental impact through our assurance services. Who we are 1994 Origins Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) created alongside an Accreditation Business Unit to accredit and monitor FSC Certification Bodies (CBs). 2006 Foundation of ASI Independence Accreditation Services International is created as an independent company and appointed as the accreditation body for FSC. 2007-2011 Expansion into new sectors The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) appoint ASI as their sole accreditation body. ASI becomes a full ISEAL Member. 2015-2017 Innovative services ASI opens its second office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) appoints ASI as their Sole accreditation body. ASI launches its integrity services to tackle credibility risks and creates its social competence center to enhance social auditing competency. 2018 New independence ASI established a new independent supervisory board and signs an MoU with DAkkS, the German National Accreditation Body. Furthermore, ASI embarks on an oversight pilot with the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and the Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation (GIB) SuRe – The Standard for Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Standards. 2019 Change for the better ASI rebrands to Assurance Services International, launches the scheme owner portal to provide real time data to its clients and embarks on an oversight pilot with Bonsucro. 2020 Assurance for real impact ASI publishes its strategic plan 2025 to make assurance more adaptive, smarter and impactful. 2012-2014 New partnerships ASI establishes an independent board. Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) appoint ASI as their sole accreditation body. ASI partners with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to develop an assurance system for protected areas.
  • 6. asi / Annual Report 2020 5 What we do We work with leading sustainability schemes and initiatives to provide oversight of sustainability standards’ certification systems, ensuring that they are implemented correctly on the ground. We also design and oversee bespoke alternative assurance models to increase effectiveness and overcome sustainability and assurance risks in our clients’ systems. Social competence Social auditing methodology and training to monitor and assess social requirements across supply chains Training guidance Tailored in-person and virtual training workshops and interactive e-learning for auditors Innovation research Researching assurance best practices and testing new approaches to tackle sustainability challenges Oversight programs Independent oversight services for on-the-ground insights with strategic and practical support System development ASI community of experienced experts can improve assurance policies and processes Integrity risk management Detection, investigation and prevention services to uphold integrity of certification systems
  • 7. asi / Annual Report 2020 6 ASI works with Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) spanning sectors such as forestry, fisheries, aquaculture, palm oil, protected areas, textiles, tourism, biofuels, jewellery and many more. We have approved and continuously monitor over 100 Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs), operating globally in over 150 countries. In January 2020, we published our new Engagement Policy, which highlights how we work with emerging standards and support mature schemes to become even better. It describes a two-step approach: first, an initial appraisal of a new standard, also known as a Scheme Owner (SO), is done, followed by an in- depth appraisal process of their system strengths and weaknesses. ASC: Aquaculture Stewardship Council FSC: Forest Stewardship Council GIB: Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation GSTC: Global Sustainable Tourism Council IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature MSC: Marine Stewardship Council RJC: Responsible Jewellery Council RSB: Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials RSPO: Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil SBP: Sustainable Biomass Program Who we work with “ASI provides services for environmental and social standard systems, which have the potential to drive positive impacts at scale. The new Engagement policy helps ASI to transparently review standards and to identify potential areas for development”. - Dr. Sönke Fischer, ASI Strategy Director Visit our document library for the ASI Engagement Policy asi-assurance.org/s/quality
  • 8. asi / Annual Report 2020 7 We credit a talented and committed Management Team with driving us forward and remaining focused on the mission as the pandemic bore down on all of us. Moreover, we credit a team of assessors and support staff who worked together with our clients to address a variety of issues, modify our processes, and uphold our principles to continue to provide an exemplary level of service. While no business was untouched by the crisis, some fared better than others. Those that did not simply react with temporary measures to get through to the other side, were able to learn from the experience and even improve their operations for the long-term. ASI adapted with resilience and found that new ways of doing business are possible when we are willing to think, act, learn and change. The lessons we have learned during this year will have a lasting positive impact. Our Strategic Plan, developed through the combined efforts of our staff and the Board, tie our minds together around three basic themes: 1. be Adaptive - increase our fitness for the future assurance landscape 2. be Smart - raise our credibility by delivering Intelligent Assurance Services 3. be Impactful - deliver real social and environmental impact for our stakeholders This plan will carry us forward over the next years. Every member of our organization plays an integral role in our plan. As we look to the future, ASI is working to form strategic partnerships with key players in the accreditation and assurance world. We are diversifying stakeholder engagement. We are developing and strengthening tools to elevate assurance systems’ integrity and invest in capacity building, both technically and geographically. Our business model is evolving, and through this adaptation, our relevance within the industry continues to grow. - Greg Swan ASI Board Chairman On behalf of the ASI Board Sticking to the plan In a year marked by a worldwide crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting impact on governments, businesses, communities and families around the world, ASI responded, adapted, and emerged stronger and more resilient than ever. We credit the Strategic Plan, developed over the past years, with helping us to stay the course while the world changed around us. Reflections from our Board of Directors Greg Swan ASI Board Chairman
  • 9. asi / Annual Report 2020 8 Reflections from the Managing Director Let’s face it – the sustainability industry is a very crowded space. There are many standards, claims, frameworks, and different service providers. Each of them being a world leader in their field. How to find your own and, more importantly, meaningful role in this space is a big challenge. At ASI, we have always been proud of being field experts. To be an organization composed of people who are dedicated and committed to the ASI mission, and who are willing to put their boots on the ground and get their hands dirty to deal with issues. This is part of our DNA, our core competence. This sustainability field competence has been at the heart of our accreditation system – the way we design and apply it. With the development of our clients and increasing diversity in expectations from their stakeholders, we have made adjustments to our work. This is where our adaptability and resilience has proven valuable. It started with our governance. Together with our shareholder, we redesigned our governance and put in place the ASI Supervisory Board, which took on all business controls over ASI from the shareholder. This allowed us to further enhance ASI’s impartiality and integrity while delivering our services. Our name was next to change – we expanded and refined our business scope. Today, we are not an accreditation body in the traditional sense. We are an assurance service provider to many global sustainability initiatives. We evolved our brand to better reflect this change; we are Assurance Services International after all. Further, we revamped our legal and business model to finance our assurance activities by introducing the annual service fee. This was essential for ASI to be able to invest in and apply tools, which did not necessarily get direct customers paying for them, but are still critical to ensure the integrity of our clients’ systems. For instance, our due diligence and integrity risk management tools are becoming a more prominent aspect of our daily work. We are developing partnerships with a variety of European National Accreditation Bodies (NABs) to create synergies and bring voluntary and regulatory normatives for sustainability claims together, thus enhancing the credibility and trust in sustainability certification. Looking back While this Annual Report is for the year 2020, I would like to reflect on a longer period of ASI development. In my opinion, the title of this report summarises the ASI journey for the last 5-10 years. Guntars Laguns ASI Managing Director
  • 10. asi / Annual Report 2020 9 In the meantime, by building on our well established ASI Asia Pacific office model, we intend to expand our regional presence in North America by creating ASI North America. We believe that having this regional presence will support our assurance work and give us the opportunity to be more attuned to the local integrity issues and relevant stakeholders. In turn, this will amplify our core competence – close “field” presence by industry experts. Our new social competence development, anti-fraud and due diligence activities, supply chain verifications, and other integrity services demonstrate our adaptability to what now looks like a new normal in sustainability certification, targeting specific risks with specific solutions. We are developing solutions to address upcoming challenges, and this has helped us to stay relevant in this ever-changing environment. Not to lose our focus on our mission to support ASI clients to deliver real social and environmental impact. Going forward, we recognize that the diversification of stakeholder expectations will never slow down. This leads to sustainability initiatives developing further in response. We already see how key topics relevant to stakeholders are being integrated in normative frameworks. For instance, the social aspects of supply chain parameters, diversity and gender issues are now mainstream. Governments intervene where they have never intervened before and influence expectations as well. We keep in mind that sustainability concepts, expectations and focus continuously change overtime; they are not static. At ASI, we strive through our adaptability to respond to all such emerging changes and be resilient for whatever comes next. This is our journey. - Guntars Laguns ASI Managing Director Photo: Guntars Laguns
  • 11. asi / Annual Report 2020 10 Being prepared and supporting adaptation Many of our assurance partners were affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. ASI supported the development of their COVID-19 auditing policies and audit facilitation procedures, as well as working on tools to support oversight, such as online auditor and peer reviewer registries. In the early phases of the coronavirus pandemic, we assessed how the 85 CABs overseen by ASI prepared themselves to implement derogations issued by SOs, in order to ensure that they adjust their service provision and uphold their oversight. The majority of CABs demonstrated the ability to adjust their services and to scale up remote auditing processes relatively quickly. However, some CABs, including larger ones, were still negatively impacted by lockdown conditions. During April and May, ASI organized a series of webinars on good practices in remote auditing. The webinars were attended by over 450 CAB personnel and auditors, with around 230 FSC auditors and 100 ASC auditors alone. Early in 2020, COVID-19 brought travel to a complete halt, affecting on-site sustainability auditing as we know it. All the VSS that we work with issued derogations to specify how and under which circumstances, CABs can postpone audits or shift to other means such as remote auditing techniques. Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 12. asi / Annual Report 2020 11 Outlook of assurance for the future Onsite assessments will not disappear post-COVID but will be targeted at those areas where expert presence onsite is needed. However, some remote assessment approaches will remain at ASI, particularly for office assessments. Furthermore, hybrid approaches such as using an onsite facilitator while an assessor/s work from a remote location or using additional virtual evaluation methods such as GIS (geospatial information technology) or new techniques to increase stakeholder consultation will remain standard practice at ASI. COVID-19 accelerated our work towards different assurance approaches, as emphasized in our new strategy. ASI’s revised Procedure for Remote Assessments (ASI-PRO-20-125) became effective on 8 May 2020 and describes the criteria for carrying out all types of assessments remotely (including office, witness and compliance assessments). ASI began conducting assessments remotely to reduce the need to go on- site, provide the opportunity for increased efficiency and safety, better timing, the inclusion of CAB personnel that may not otherwise be easily accessible and to avoid travel restrictions, among others. Between March and June 2020, ASI conducted more than 850 assessments remotely (more details in ‘ASI in Numbers’). Comparing the results of remote to on-site assessments, we conclude that the number of findings identified by ASI at the CAB level are similar. In particular, remote office assessments turned out to be at least as effective as onsite assessments. New ways of doing assurance
  • 13. Strategic plan 2025 Taking ASI assurance to the next level asi / Annual Report 2020 12 Photo: Maris Zudrags In 2020, ASI developed the Strategic plan 2025, which defines our future ambitions and presents how ASI assurance will be more adaptive, smarter and impactful. Three strategic goals will guide our work over the next five years, with high-level commitments to track progress against each goal.
  • 14. asi / Annual Report 2020 13 Rapid Response Team The Rapid Response team is created to proactively tackle the most pressing integrity risks, to maintain ASI's credibility and its clients’ reputation. Data Analytics The Data Analytics Team provides data insights and trends to ASI teams and its clients. Assurance Impact Plans All ASI clients have Assurance Impact Plans that manage their integrity risks and critical issues, and demonstrate the impact of ASI assurance services. Marketing ASI has increased the visibility of its brand and service uptake. Impact Communications ASI communicates its clients’ and its own assurance impacts. Strategy Map ASI Strategy Map shows ASI’s impact and its contribution to the relevant Sustainable Development Goals. Strategic Allies ASI has engaged with its network of key strategic allies and partners to further assurance activities and projects. Engagement Policy ASI has assessed its clients against its Engagement Policy and provides clear recommendations to improve their assurance practices. Dispute Management ASI proactively engages with its stakeholders and facilitates dialogue and resolutions for disputes. ASI Assurance Academy The Assurance Academy is established as a trusted open source platform for assurance-related training, education, learning and exchange. CAB Auditor Accountability ASI ensures that CAB personnel take individual accountability of their audit outcomes. Assurance Integrity Scenarios ASI provides consistent solutions to integrity risks based on assurance integrity scenarios. Assessment Approaches ASI has diversified its assessment approach and incorporates new tools effectively. Integrity and Anti-Fraud Services ASI expands its Integrity and Anti-Fraud Services to react proactively to emerging critical issues. ASI Village ASI uses a network of stakeholders to exchange information about the conformance and performance of schemes. CAB Participation in Oversight CABs participate in the assurance process through self-appraisal. Assurance Lab The Assurance Lab is established and provides opportunities to experiment with new tools and approaches for improving assurance processes. Competences Development ASI optimizes its expertise to provide services that continually meet its customers’ needs and emerging assurance priorities. ASI North America ASI has established an international accreditation branch in North America and built its presence within the region and beyond. Data Capacity ASI enables its teams to better analyze, decide and act upon data. ASI Assurance Standard ASI Assurance Standard is developed and aligns credible assurance practices within the sustainability industry. Two-Tier Assurance Program ASI has established and transitioned accredited Europe based CABs to the Two-Tier Assurance Program within the European Economic Area (EEA). ASI Asia Pacific ASI has piloted its assurance business model in the Asia Pacific region. Increase our fitness for the future assurance landscape. Show real social and environmental impact. Raise credibility by delivering intelligent assurance. Smart Adaptive Impactful
  • 15. asi / Annual Report 2020 14 Antonio Hervas MSC Program Manager, ASI What excites you about the ASI strategic plan? Which commitment will define ASI’s success going forward? In my opinion, to protect the integrity and credibility of standard setters remains the main objective. To achieve this, every commitment plays a role. Overall, being able to predict risks (rather than react to risks) and address them in a manner that certificates are credible will ensure ASI’s success as an assurance provider. The ASI Strategic Plan is innovative. Its three principles – adaptive, smart and impactful – encompass really exciting projects that, once implemented, will allow ASI to demonstrate real assurance impact. ? The Strategic Plan 2025 frames ASI’s future direction. It defines our assurance model that focuses on addressing integrity risks and how to manage them. In essence, it gives us a very clear pathway for our growth and how we will develop further in the years to come. Guntars Laguns Managing Director, ASI Which commitment will define ASI’s success going forward? We cannot select one or two commitments from the strategic plan and hope that they will define ASI’s success. There are several commitments, 23 in total, that all are interlinked and complementary. I would say that our success will not be defined by one commitment, but by how we establish and enhance the links between each of them. The one I particularly like is our commitment to increase the speed of our responsiveness – rapid response commitment.
  • 16. asi / Annual Report 2020 15 Which commitment will define ASI’s success going forward? The next historic milestone for ASI will be the expansion to North America. After Europe and Asia, this will be the third continent where ASI has a stronger presence from our new regional office. Embedding this new venture into ASI’s structure, culture and its goals will define ASI’s future for years to come. The 2025 Strategy Plan sets ambitious goals on every level for ASI to evolve as a company while focusing on impact. It is about pushing new ideas and approaches, which is very motivating for me. I am excited that a part of our Strategic Plan will align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Every step matters, and I am proud to be working with an organization that invests time to align its company strategy with the SDGs. Fabian Mohr Jessie Ooi Finance Director, ASI Regional Coordinator, ASI Asia Pacific Which commitment will define ASI’s success going forward? There are four commitments that I believe will define ASI’s success going forward, i.e. enabling ASI communities to use data for decision-making, increasing ASI Integrity and Anti-Fraud Services, establishing the ASI Village that focusing on social issues (e.g. related to the vulnerable – migrant workers, gender, wages, etc.), and aligning the ASI Strategy Impact Map with the SDGs. Adriana Guzman Quality Director, ASI Which commitment will define ASI’s success going forward? All commitments are relevant, but my favorite ones are related to the ASI Village, dispute management, competencies and the ASI Assurance Academy. With all of these, we are willing to listen and discuss issues with interested parties, and engage in a meaningful way that allows us to improve our systems. For example, create new competences and new trainings at the Academy based on needs and anticipate potential conflicts/disputes based on the information collected. For me, the ASI Strategic Plan 2025 reinforces the uniqueness of ASI, always looking for innovation and to have real impact. It also matches our mission, vision and values. Our team is committed and supportive, and it feels like there is renewed energy within the business.
  • 17. asi / Annual Report 2020 16 Which commitment will define ASI’s success going forward? The strategy is so complete that I believe that each commitment plays an important part in achieving our vision. It is hard to choose only one commitment. All the commitments are interrelated, and the success of the strategy is dependent on all of them. Catalina Romero Deputy Managing Director, ASI Meet the ASI team: Matthias Wilnhammer Operations Director, ASI Which commitment will define ASI’s success going forward? I do not want to single out a particular commitment – all commitments are equally important, they are very much interlinked and the strategy will only be successful if all are implemented successfully. My personal favorite is commitment 2.1.3, which refers to optimising and diversifying ASI’s assessment approach and incorporating new ways of working. This will be instrumental in shaping how we perform future assessments, and as such it will be key to strengthening ASI’s distinctive role in preserving the integrity of the scheme. We live in challenging times. All the more, our strategy comes at the right time and brings important stimulus for ASI to adapt to a dynamic environment, come up with smarter solutions and more impactful responses to emerging risks. I really like the honesty and transparency of our strategic plan. We worked very hard to envisage ASI’s future and how to achieve it together. This is the first time that ASI has shared its strategy publicly, and we are showing our commitment to our vision. Communication has been another key element of excitement. We want to engage internally with our people and with key stakeholders to make our vision a reality. asi-assurance.org/s/team asi-assurance.org/s/strategy-2025 Check out our new strategy page on the website:
  • 18. asi / Annual Report 2020 17 Photo: Maris Zudrags ASI in numbers 2020 2 0 0
  • 19. asi / Annual Report 2020 18 771 76 807 87 How many assessments were conducted by ASI in 2019 and in 2020? * All types and techniques 2019 2019 2020 2020 In how many countries did we carry out assessments in 2019 and in 2020*? Photo: Maris Zudrags
  • 20. asi / Annual Report 2020 19 (including desk review, facilitator*, and fully remote) Remote assessments in comparison to 2019 How many assessments were carried out onsite and how many were held remotely? 2019 613 156 2 0 771 2020 136 647 7 17 807 Assessment Technique Fully on-site Fully remote Partly remote and partly on-site Remote with facilitator on-site Grand Total The majority of assessments in 2020 were conducted remotely. Special kinds of evaluations were carried out to ensure conformity by CABs with additional requirements issued by SOs with regard to adapting to circumstances resulting from the pandemic, while ensuring the integrity of the system. * The ASI facilitator is not a qualified auditor but a person that is onsite during an assessment, and supports the remote ASI assessor, via appropriate Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
  • 21. asi / Annual Report 2020 20 Assessor 1 In 2019 travelled 235.693 km In 2020 travelled 20.449 km Assessor 2 In 2019 travelled 136.844 km In 2020 travelled 38.662 km Assessor 3 In 2019 travelled 71.620 km In 2020 travelled 16.845 km Top 3 Assessors with most assessments conducted in 2020 Assessor 1 Assessor 2 Assessor 3 Distance travelled (in km)/ year As 2020 was a year when the majority of our assessments were conducted remotely, this had a positive impact on the distance traveled by ASI assessors, compared to 2019.
  • 22. asi / Annual Report 2020 21 No. of certificates per program (as per 10.01.2021) What is the difference in desk review assessments between 2019 and 2020? FM/Fishery/PC/BP COC/SCCS 45395 5315 3326 64 1857 1000 487 328 250 22 9 Total 3,953 Total 54,097 FSC FSC ASC RSPO MSC SBP RSB GSTC MSC RSPO SBP 122 287 2019 2020 In total 122 desk Reviews which made up 16% of total assessment Initial accreditation Re-accreditation 2019 4 5 2 11 32 2020 2021 (first half) In total 287 desk reviews which made up 36% of total assessments How many initial accreditations and re-accreditation decisions took place in 2020 and in 2019? 14
  • 23. asi / Annual Report 2020 22 Based on findings and investigations in 2018 and 2019, ASI has established a stronger risk-based approach when considering doing business with new applicant CABs. The process involves an assessment of integrity risks revealed from information provided by applicants and open source research about their company and personnel. A decision to accept the application is made by the ASI’s management, based on whether the applicant presents a significant risk. As of June 2021, 15 CAB applications for FSC accreditation have been reviewed as part of this new process, out of which 8 applications were rejected based on identified integrity risks. The primary risks identified were a conflict of interest, impartiality and allegations of fraudulent or unethical behavior discovered via recorded incidents and open source research. Moving forward, ASI will continue to improve and refine this process to prevent high risk entities from entering scheme owner assurance systems. Number of accredited CABs FSC MSC RSPO ASC SBP GSTC RSB GIB 5 12 25 28 40 4 2 1 Did you know? ASI has enhanced its application process with integrity assessments for new applicants. How many CABs are currently accredited for each assurance program? What is the percentage difference in assessment technique for all types other than desk reviews? 2019 Fully on-site Fully remote Desk reviews 2020 79.4% 4.5% 15.8% 17.2% 45.6% 36.3%
  • 24. asi / Annual Report 2020 23 ASI significantly increased the proportion of assessments conducted remotely to overcome the complications of international travel since COVID-19 restrictions were implemented globally. Remote assessments have been either conducted fully remotely (without someone on-site) or partially remotely (presence of an on-site facilitator). Since the easing of such restrictions, ASI was also able to conduct some traditional on- site assessments, when feasible. This new situation has created different challenges and opportunities for global assurance. ​​ From my perspective, this paradigm shift in operations represents the perfect logistical storm for ASI to further diversify and improve the efficiency of its evaluation tools for the future. In addition, as I sometimes still act as an assessor for the FSC program, I have to admit that I appreciate not having to travel as much as before and nonetheless being able to influence the system. An opportunity that ASI seized rapidly was to conduct most of its office assessments and desk reviews remotely. Historically, these assessments were conducted remotely to minimize travel costs and related environmental impacts and because the assessment techniques rarely required on-site verifications. Most of the information necessary to verify conformity of CABs for these assessments is normally easily accessible through remote means. Then Now ASI Assessments: What did we do differently in 2020? David Brunelle, FSC Program Manager Photo: Maris Zudrags
  • 25. asi / Annual Report 2020 24 Another type of fully remote assessment conducted by ASI is the compliance assessment. In this type of assessment, ASI conducts its own evaluation of certificate holders, to assess the quality of previous auditing and decision-making work of CABs. Some compliance assessments can be done fully remotely when the information required to assess conformity is accessible through remote means. These fully remote field assessments are relatively easy to plan and have the same advantage as office assessments, with reduced planning needs of logistics. They allow the assessors to conduct their work in the comfort of their remote offices, instead of being in the field, sometimes under difficult conditions attributable to site visits and international travel (e.g. heat, humidity, cold, jet lag, poor quality housing, lack of internet connections, sleep deprivation, etc.). These remote assessments are considered a compromise by ASI, taking into account the complications regarding international travel. Indeed, if COVID-19 related restrictions are lifted in the future, ASI will prioritize on-site or facilitated assessments over fully remote field assessments, as they allow for better access to information and deeper evaluations of conformity of some purely field related aspects. According to assessors, conducting these assessments in their remote offices allows them to be more comfortable and that situation has brought a little more stability in their personal life – as assessors normally travel abroad extensively. The reduction in the need for assessors to travel has also brought some relief for the team in charge of planning assessments at ASI. Higher digital literacy Ability to work remotely Digital information exchanges Lack of human contact Dependence on technology Lack of full presence out in the field For field assessments, the situation has been a little more complex. Despite restrictions and the lack of on-the-ground presence in countries covered by ASI oversight, ASI still needs to have oversight of the field verifications conducted by CABs. Hence, ASI has adapted its operations to be able to verify conformity of CABs through remote means, where possible. When scheme requirements allow for fully remote audits by the CABs (FSC, for example, allows them under certain circumstances) and they are conducted, ASI would join remotely and conduct a witness assessment of the CAB’s audit. Pros Cons Pros and cons of working remotely
  • 26. asi / Annual Report 2020 25 During those challenging times, ASI developed the concept of a so- called “facilitator”, which allowed for partially remote assessments. The use of facilitators (i.e. mostly translators and experts previously hired by ASI for on-site assessments) presents an opportunity for an assessor to access field observations via recordings or live-streaming of the facilitator while conducting the assessment remotely. It is mostly used for witness assessments where the CAB is conducting on-site audits and no assessor can reach the site in a timely and safe manner, or where ASI needs on-site access for a compliance assessment and the same access problem occurs. Although a little more difficult to plan and conduct (e.g. facilitators need training and extra preparation), this new assessment technique provides a new tool for ASI to conduct global assurance for the future. ASI will continue to use facilitation as a tool when travelling to certain areas would be prohibitively costly or logistically improbable for assessors. The ASI Facilitator Photo: Catalina Romero
  • 27. asi / Annual Report 2020 26 What is an incident and how is it reported? An incident is any reported activity, observation, stakeholder comment, or concern that threatens the reputation and/or integrity of the ASI assurance system and/or it’s associated certification schemes and is not already considered under the relevant ASI procedures for complaints and appeals. In 2020, ASI received 274 incidents in total. 43% of all incidents are closed and responded to. Between 2018-2020, the type of incidents reported diversified and more incidents were logged by stakeholders, media, and confidential and anonymous reporters. In line with our strategic plan, increased collaboration with stakeholders will be prioritized to enhance the range and sources of incidents. Stakeholder input for ASI Assessments ASI welcomes stakeholder input to improve accreditation decisions and address systemic issues in certification schemes. We see active stakeholder engagement as one of the pillars of credible sustainability schemes. Incidents
  • 28. asi / Annual Report 2020 27 Over the years, the type of incident reported has diversified. The majority of incidents is still reported by scheme owners in 2020 at 29%, but the share of incidents reported anonymously and confidentially, increased from 4% in 2018 to 13% in 2020. This shows that the ASI incident system is more widely known and people place their trust in the system. Additionally, the share of incidents reported by stakeholders is increasing. As part of the ASI strategy, the ASI Village commitment, this collaboration will be further enhanced. The top three countries that received the most incidents are China (12%), Ukraine (5%), Brazil (5%). Stakeholders Scheme owner Other Media Confidential Certificate Holder CAB ASI resource Confidential SBP RSPO MSC FSC ASC Incident reporters 2018-2020 FSC 60% MSC 18% ASC 12% RSPO 7% SBP 3% Incidents received per program in 2020 (%) C h i n a U k r a i n e B r a z i l I n d o n e s i a M a l a y s i a V i e t n a m P e r u G e r m a n y A u s t r a l i a I n d i a 2018 0% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 2019 2020
  • 29. asi / Annual Report 2020 28 Based on ASI assessment findings, logged incidents, investigations by the Integrity Services Team (IST) and gap analysis of the FSC normative framework, FSC performed two integrity projects in 2020 to strengthen the CAB due diligence review of certification applicants in high risk regions. Voluntary participation of CABs revealed that they have the competency and capacity to perform FSC-supported background checks, and that those checks can help prevent high risk companies from entering FSC systems. Based on the findings of these integrity projects, the IST will continue to collaborate with FSC on both strengthening the due diligence framework and expanding it beyond voluntary requirements into other high risk regions and supply chains. How are incidents investigated? Each incident is appraised and graded to determine if an action needs to be taken by ASI or a CAB. For 11% of 2020 incidents, ASI shared the information with CABs and requested them to follow up on specific issues. 15% of 2020 incidents were or will be reviewed at office assessments. 76 witness/compliance assessments and desk reviews were scheduled in response to 274 logged incidents from 2020. The main issues in China are alleged certification fraud, including falsified documents, product mixing, false claims, and undisclosed purchase and sales, and competition between CABs. The latest one includes incidents about CABs, which were considered during the application processes. The majority of incidents in Ukraine involve alleged illegal extraction and trade (73%), which are mainly reported by stakeholders. Incidents in Ukraine and China – what actions were taken and how do we prevent future risks?
  • 30. asi / Annual Report 2020 29 Complaints can be submitted by ASI or by anyone involved in a formal dispute resolution process with a CAB and/or certificate holder, and is not satisfied with the outcome. How many complaints did ASI receive in 2020? ASI received 30 complaints in 2020. 8 complaints were lodged against ASI and 22 were referring to CABs (17 FSC, 3 RSPO, 2 ASC). From those 30 complaints, 14 were rejected after submission and 4 sent back to the CABs. In total, ASI conducted 10 investigations and 2 direct dialogue processes. Dispute Management for ASI Assessments Rejected Closed via direct dialogue Closed via investigation CAB asked to investigate 14 10 4 2 Complaints Status of complaints lodged in 2020
  • 31. asi / Annual Report 2020 30 NCs and CFUs overdue ASI has had less than 20 NCs and CFUs overdue for any given scheme during the last three years. Assessment findings are the result of the evaluation of collected Assessment evidence against Assessment criteria. Findings may indicate conformity or nonconformity. Findings NCs and CFUs closed on time No NC should pass its deadline without action being taken. Whilst there is some disparity between programs, this has held steady throughout 2020, although there is room for improvement. In 2020, 87% NCs and CFUs were closed. The status “accepted pending verification” introduced in May 2020 comes with new challenges for ASI, in terms of systematically meeting the deadline for closure. To address this, we are constantly calibrating internally to ensure that deadlines are adapted to align with this. Nonconformities (NCs) and Compliance Follow-Ups (CFUs) evaluated on time ASI committed to complete an evaluation within 30 days when full responses for NCs and CFUs are in place. There has been a slow but steady improvement in the number of evaluations throughout 2020. 74% were on time across programs. 26% were late due in part to system issues and significant changes to a core procedure in August 2020. ASI is enhancing its tools to effectively track NC Management Key Performance Indicators, especially as part of changes required for v6.1 of the ASI Findings Procedure. It is important that we meet our deadlines and procedural timeframes to hold CABs accountable when they do not meet their own timing commitments. - Tim Anderton-Tyers, Special Projects Coordinator 25% January February March April May June July ASC FSC MSC RSPO ASI September August October November December 50% 75% 100% This figure presents the number of NCs and CFUs evaluated on time across schemes in 2020.
  • 32. asi / Annual Report 2020 31 How many appeals did ASI receive in 2020? ASI received 30 appeals in 2020, from 21 different CABs (4 ASC, 19 FSC, 1 GSTC, 1 MSC and 5 RSPO). 5 appeals were rejected after submission. From the 25 appeals, 23 are closed and were conducted through 2 external investigations, 1 internal investigation and 20 through direct dialogue. Two appeals are on hold pending clarification of the SO. We work to continuously improve our systems based on outcomes from complaints and appeals processes. From the last two years, we can see that our complaints and appeals processes are more accessible and understood by stakeholders. Also, Direct Dialogue, one resolution method, is very well appreciated by complainants and appellants. - Nathalie Breton, Dispute and Project Manager Decisions from the 23 accepted appeals Status of appeals lodged in 2020 9 8 6 Appeals Appeals can be submitted by a CAB to appeal a Nonconformity or an Accreditation decision, as per the ASI Appeals Procedure. Closed via direct dialogue 20 Rejected after initial review 5 Closed via internal investigation 2 Closed via external investigation 2 Other 1 Partially upheld (ASI decision partly maintained) Fully upheld (ASI decision not maintained) Rejected (ASI decision maintained)
  • 33. asi / Annual Report 2020 32 Throughout 2020, ASI developed the Two Tier Assurance Program, an innovative solution that brings together national accreditation and ASI oversight in Europe. Starting off with the German National Accreditation Body (NAB) DAkkS, ASI assessors will be part of the NAB’s assessment team, i.e. Tier 1 of the program. Tier 1 leads to synergies and expert exchange between ASI and respective NAB partners, in line with European accreditation regulations. The complementary ASI approval under Tier 2 is a novel assurance solution that goes beyond ISO 17011 accreditation, resulting in stronger and more adaptive oversight for the most trusted sustainability standard systems. Assurance milestones 2020 ASI Two Tier Assurance Program for independent oversight Photo: Vladislav Kheynonen
  • 34. asi / Annual Report 2020 33 Participating NAB Integration: Two Accreditations into one Governmental Accreditation with ASI expert participation Integration: ASI Approval Enhanced oversight and monitoring under ASI Approval Tier 1 Tier 2 CAB System Review CAB Performance Complementary Assurance Services Joint Office assessment ASI joining NAB assessment as “NAB resource” Joint witness assessment ASI doing NAB assessment as “NAB resource” Witness assessments Compliance assessments by ASI Integrity services Knowledge sharing by ASI Data insights
  • 35. asi / Annual Report 2020 34 Our strategy has a clear commitment to strengthen the Integrity and Anti-Fraud Services for ASI clients. There is a growing need to address integrity risks in supply chains to ensure that fraudulent certificate holders do not remain in and also do not re-enter the system. ASI uses a number of tools such as transaction verification (TV) loops to do this. TV loops are initiated from the detection of potential integrity risks through reported incidents. They involve the collection of transaction data via an ASI online transaction analysis tool and supply chain mapping. The findings from the detection phase then flow into the investigation phase, where ASI’s Integrity Services Team conducts targeted analysis of the data to identify critical risks to the integrity of the systems and provide solutions how to mitigate those risks. In 2020, the IST worked on ten TV loops, in which around 40 CABs and more than 2000 certificate holders participated. For FSC, IST conducted TV loops on Mangifera (Mango Wood) and Dalbergia (Indian Rosewood or Sheesham), okoume (Aucoumea klaineana Pierre) and charcoal supply chains resulting in further investigations into transaction mismatches. TV loops were also piloted with MSC on perch supply chains and with ASC for shrimp. The pandemic did not reduce interest in ASI assurance system development services. In 2020, ASI supported 23 VSS across a broad range of sectors. We worked closely with the Rainforest Alliance to test innovative assessment approaches, focusing on the competence and accountability of certification decision makers. ASI collaborated with Sustainable Electronics Recycling Initiative (SERI) to improve the quality and consistency of the SERI assurance program. We supported SERI in revising the SERI Code of Good Practices, which contains certification requirements for certification bodies and auditors. ASI worked with Fair Trade USA on a project to develop a smarter scoring system and risk-based approach that identifies and manages certificate holder credibility risks. The project was based on ASI research into risk based approaches applied throughout the VSS sector. The Green Button/Grüner Knopf is a new certification system for sustainable textile supply chains, implemented by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), hosted by the German Development Agency, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). A multidisciplinary ASI team supported the development of this certification system. Achieving assurance outcomes through system development Investigating and mitigating integrity risks We aim to scale-up our work and offer more services to other schemes in the future.
  • 36. asi / Annual Report 2020 35 To adapt the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) assurance processes to better detect forced labour risks, ASI’s Social Competence Centre provided revisions and feedback on BCI’s assurance resources, such as the forced labour indicators, assurance manual and producer self-assessments. ASI developed interview guidance for farmers and workers, a standard operating procedure to support BCI assessors and verifiers to detect and report cases of forced labour and a reporting template to collect and organize incidents or risks of forced labour. To build awareness of forced labour indicators and explain assessment techniques, ASI developed training materials and interactive exercises for BCI assessors and verifiers. Project Hope was an integrity investigation launched by FSC and ASI in 2019. It was triggered by prior mismatches in the plywood TV loop and incidents related to potential product mixing. The project involved investigating Calophyllum plywood supplies between the certificate holder, its first-tier suppliers and purchasers. Calophyllum plywood supply chains in Asia pose a risk of non- conforming products entering certified supply chains. The main method applied was the mapping and analysis of the company structure. This investigation resulted in several recommendations to ASI and FSC, e.g. to review the requirements for multi-site and group certification and to consider introducing “critical” requirements to trigger the immediate suspension of certificate holders. Patterns of potential fraud and gaps were revealed which can be used to close loopholes or support future TV loops and investigations. Project Hope – How does Transaction Verification work? Forced labour and forced child labour are very challenging subjects to identify during assessments. However, equipping assessors with the right tools and providing clear guidance can allow them to understand this complex subject, identify its indicators and risks, and to better communicate with workers. - Asude Oruklu, ASI Social Competence Coordinator Ensuring social compliance in the supply chain Sharing our knowledge and expertise To support the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) in its implementation of their new Social Audit Methodology into the ASC Certification and Accreditation Requirements, ASI developed training materials and delivered virtual social auditor training to a group of ASC Chain of Custody auditors. The training took place in July 2020 over three days. It was tailored to the ASC social standard requirements and covered other topics such as interviewing workers, stakeholder consultation and understanding ILO Conventions (International Labour Organization).
  • 37. asi / Annual Report 2020 36 Our research in 2020 focused on COVID-19, particularly the challenges and new opportunities emerging from new assessment approaches. For instance, Technology- enhanced Auditing in Voluntary Sustainability Standards: The Impact of COVID-19, was published in June 2020, exploring the initial crisis response and reference to new auditing technologies made by 21 VSS.¹ ASI collaborated with ISEAL on a project funded by IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, focused on ensuring the integrity, continuity and effectiveness of sustainability assurance under crisis conditions. ASI published a report Sustainability Auditing Good Practice in Response to COVID-19² containing findings from its high- level study of COVID-19 responses from 41 organizations. ASI went on to co-author ISEAL Guidance on using Technology and Data to Enable and Enhance Remote Audits³, which collates practical advice on the types of tools and data sources available to integrate remote auditing into assurance processes. Addressing sustainability challenges through innovation and research Organizations are still in the phase of learning and experimenting as to what credible remote auditing looks like. The speed at which organisations have adapted should be seen as a positive. However, they must consider the effectiveness of their remote auditing approaches in the long term. - Monica Staniaszek, ASI Project Manager ¹ Castka, P., Searcy, C., Fischer, S. (2020). Technology-enhanced auditing in voluntary sustainability standards: The impact of COVID-19. Sustainability, 12(11), 4740. ² Staniaszek, M., Fischer, S., and Anderton-Tyers, T. (2020). Research Report: Sustainability Auditing Good Practices in Response to COVID-19. Prepared for ISEAL Alliance. ³ Lefebure, R., Staniaszek, M., and Mallet, P. (2021). ISEAL Guide on Using Technology and Data in Remote Audits. Photo: Catalina Romero
  • 38. asi / Annual Report 2020 37 Our team is our strength Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, ASI has actively supported team members with regard to work-related challenges. Initiatives focused on promoting a supportive and flexible environment that strengthened a sense of togetherness in increasingly remote work situations. In 2020, some key team building activities were weekly online yoga classes, weekly team togetherness sessions with games and exchange, a virtual escape room challenge as well as an online health and safety training focusing on working from home. In December 2020, 80 care packages were sent to team members around the world. Each package included cozy ASI hoodies (organic, fair trade certified) and other useful items. The ASI Global Team Retreat is a major event that celebrates the extraordinary team spirit at ASI. The retreat, originally planned to take place in March 2020 in Germany, became ASI’s first “Virtual Team Retreat”. In non-COVID years, the team meets in person for a week to calibrate, train and align on ASI’s focus areas and future direction. What did we do to foster a sense of community while working remotely?
  • 39. asi / Annual Report 2020 38 During the team building week, all members participated in virtual meetings, technical workshops and remote discussions that were adapted to the situation and current needs and were not planned for longer than 2.5 hours. One day was assigned to the most important topic at that time: Remote Assessment Approaches. The retreat was a real success with lots of positive feedback. If there is an organization that I can consider to be truly global, it is ASI. I have co-workers with whom I communicate all the time, and they are based in all corners of the world, with many specialities and diverse knowledge. This is the best resource that I can conceive of to become a global assurance provider for social and environmental standard systems. - Jan Pierre Jardin, RSPO Program Manager, ASI I enjoy the positive spirit and dedication that people bring to their work at ASI, as well as the openness and support I experienced during my first months. I am really looking forward to meeting all of my new colleagues in person soon, and I have heard that the global retreats are always great! - Marcel Köhler, Data Insights Manager, ASI Team building week
  • 40. asi / Annual Report 2020 39 Glossary of terms Accreditation Third-party attestation related to a Conformity Assessment Body, conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific Conformity Assessment tasks (Source: ISO/IEC 17011:2017). ASI Two-Tier Assurance Program The ASI program that integrates Accreditation (Tier 1) and complementary ASI Assurance Services (Tier 2) to ensure the overall integrity for ASI clients and their claims – Tier One consists of the Accreditation of Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) by Participating National Accreditation Bodies (NABs) with mandatory ASI participation in Accreditation Assessments. Tier Two consists of the complementary Assurance Services provided by ASI. Assessment The process undertaken by ASI to determine the competence of a Conformity Assessment Body based on applicable Accreditation Requirements, standard(s) and/or other normative documents, including the Conformity Assessment Body’s own documented system for a defined Scope of Accreditation. Assurance Any and all independent and impartial ASI oversight activities that ensure that our clients systems are implemented consistently and rigorously. Intelligent Assurance is the process of collecting information from wider sources (i.e. local experts, NGOs, media, GIS data, stakeholders’ input), based on which one implements targeted activities to address a specific problem. Assurance Services Any and all independent and impartial ASI activities that ensure the integrity of ASI client’s systems and their claims in order to generate real social and environmental impact. Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) or Certification Body (CB) Body that performs Conformity Assessment Services and that can be the object of Accreditation (Source ISO/IEC 17011:2017). Note: The terms Conformity Assessment Body and Certification body are considered equivalent, and ASI uses the terms interchangeably. ASI usage generally follows conventions adopted by Scheme Owners. Scheme Owner (SO) The person or organization responsible for developing and maintaining a Certification Scheme or standard system and that owns the intellectual property, copyright, trademarks and other rights to a Certification Scheme (adapted from ISO 17067:2013). Scheme Owners are responsible for developing, reviewing, revising and interpreting their standards. Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) Voluntary sustainability standard systems are non-govermental initiatives that seek to drive sustainable production and consumption by creating market demand for sustainable products, and supply to meet that demand. They help buyers (both consumers and businesses) to identify sustainably- produced products, and they guide producers, forest managers, mine and tourism operators, and factory owners and others in the choice of sustainable practices.* Visit our Document Library for the ASI Glossary, which defines terms and abbreviations used by ASI. asi-assurance.org/s/quality * Schmitz-Hoffmann, C., Schmidt, M., Hansmann, B., and Palekhov, D. (Eds.) (2014): Voluntary Standard Systems - A Contribution to Sustainable Development. Natural Resource Management in Transition, Vol. 1. Springer Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg
  • 41. asi / Annual Report 2020 40