New Report Sheds Light On Assurance Process of CSR Reports

Source: CorporateRegister, 14 August 2008

The CSR Assurance Statement Report is the first report to offer an independent, comprehensive overview of the field. The report outlines who uses assurance, who provides assurance and what methods are used. Assure View is a reference point for all stakeholders, from reporting companies and assurance providers to consumers who wish to find out more about companies’ social and environmental impacts.

In 2008 some 3,000 companies are expected to publish a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report to document their policies and performance on key issues, including environmental and social activities. Of these, around 750 will include a third-party assurance statement addressing the report’s credibility and completeness.

While CSR reporting has become a basic business expectation, the majority of CSR reports aren’t independently assured. This casts serious doubts on the role, meaning and reliability of these non-assured CSR reports. Of those reports which do include an assurance statement, Assure View comes to the following conclusions:

In the absence of a ‘common language’ there¬ís confusion as to which of the many assurance approaches provides the most credibility and certainty. Some standards and guidelines are emerging, but are far from being accepted across the board.

There are hundreds of assurance providers active in this field with just three major types dominating the market. Assure View outlines key differences in the approaches of each of these provider types.

From an examination of leading assurance statements and commonly referenced initiatives, together with its own experience in this field, CorporateRegister.com identifies the Key Elements which lead to meaningful assurance statements.
Assure View has been sponsored by four of the world’s leading assurors active in this field: SGS, KPMG, LRQA and The Reassurance Network. Guest commentaries by AccountAbility, The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) welcome Assure View’s independent perspective on an important but fragmented field.

"This is the first time the field of CSR report assurance has been examined in such breadth and depth. Assure View examines the concepts behind CSR assurance and identifies the Key Elements which constitute best practice" said Paul Scott, Managing Director of CorporateRegister.com.