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13 January 2011<br />Dear Colleagues,<br />In the spirit of transparency and accountability, we wanted to bring to your at...
developing a specific strategy and business plan for Standards,
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AccountAbility Note to stakeholders 13 jan

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AccountAbility Note to stakeholders 13 jan

  1. 1. 13 January 2011<br />Dear Colleagues,<br />In the spirit of transparency and accountability, we wanted to bring to your attention certain developments pertaining to the governance structure of the AA1000 Standards. Earlier this week, AccountAbility accepted the resignation of the Standards Board, the voluntary advisory body convened last summer to provide technical guidance on the AA1000 Standards.  <br />While we shared the mutual goal of strengthening Standards, there were fundamental disagreements between AccountAbility's Management Team and the Standards Board over the future governance of the Standards function, the propriety of certain Board members and others in leadership positions maintaining competing business interests, and ongoing concerns about breaches of independence. As a result, AccountAbility's Management Team deemed that the viability of the Standards Board was untenable. <br />We believe the Board’s position was heavily influenced by false, misleading and inaccurate information provided by certain disgruntled former employees of AccountAbility. Assertions that AccountAbility's business model has changed are simply wrong. AccountAbility remains a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee as it has since 2005. Its core lines include Standards (which oversees the AA1000 Standards), Research, and Services. We do not offer Assurance Services nor have any plans to develop an assurance business.<br />Furthermore, the notion that Standards are financially subsidizing the rest of AccountAbility and that the directors of AccountAbility are profiting from AA1000 is patently false. In fact, the exact opposite is the case – the Standards function is subsidized by the other areas of AccountAbility.<br />Since the change in leadership last year, AccountAbility has taken several concrete steps to support the AA1000 Standards, among them:<br /><ul><li>reinstating the full time position of Global Director of Standards,
  2. 2. developing a specific strategy and business plan for Standards,
  3. 3. fully subsidizing the Standards operating budget,
  4. 4. actively supporting the rollout of the revised Stakeholder Engagement Standard, and
  5. 5. convening the Standards Board and Technical Committees to provide direction and technical guidance. </li></ul>Given our belief that a strong governance structure is essential to the further development and usage of the AA1000 Standards, AccountAbility has been actively overhauling the governance and oversight structure for AA1000 and the organization as a whole. The new structure and process we will be introducing will provide broader, more senior-level stakeholder representation from the public and private sectors, civil society, and the standards community.<br />Although this is an unfortunate situation, we should not, and will not let these differences distract us from our mission of advancing AA1000 and engaging with stakeholders. Nothing can underscore our continuing commitment to steward and advance the AA1000 standards – and to ensure its integrity –<br />than the recent appointments of two highly-regarded accounting and financial reporting standards setters, Mr. Kurt Ramin and Ms. Liv Watson. We are confident that under their leadership the AA1000 Standards will set the benchmark in corporate responsibility.<br />Should you have further questions, please feel free to contact us.<br />Sincerely,<br />The Management Team at AccountAbility<br />

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