The principle of Sustainable Development, as outlined in the UNs Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, ten years ago, delivered a challenge to the business community. Could it respond to society’s demands and demonstrate that, at a company level, strategy formulation, process improvement and performance measurement were being led by
considerations other than simple financial profit?
Since then sustainability reporting has evolved through a process of innovation in corporate reporting. Today, such reports typically include environmental, social and economic information. FEE has long been active in the areas of environmental and sustainability accounting, reporting and assurance, and is today launching a new discussion paper, which aims to further strengthen the credibility of sustainability reporting. FEE believes that the proven reporting expertise of the accountancy profession is invaluable to informed debate on sustainability reporting and assurance.
The Discussion Paper: Providing Assurance on Sustainability Reports, aims to stimulate debate on an element that is key to the wide scale acceptance of sustainability reporting. Third party, independent assurance provision enhances the quality and credibility of company reporting. The paper asks whether sustainability reporting is now mature enough to withstand the highest levels of such scrutiny.
Achieving generally accepted, high quality reporting requires an inclusive approach, (indeed many accountancy firms currently use multi-disciplinary teams when providing sustainability assurance). Therefore, FEE encourages multi-stakeholder dialogue with policymakers, industry, press and concerned stakeholders on the issues raised in this
Commenting on the paper, FEE President Mr. Göran Tidström said: As an essential part of the reporting process, it is vital that preparers, stakeholders and other users are fully aware of the issues surrounding assurance provision. By issuing this paper, FEEs long-term goal is to raise the quality and the credibility of sustainability reporting.