Social, environmental and sustainability reporting has grown dramatically in recent years. The change has been led by large corporations, particularly those with high public profiles and brands. The practice is also rapidly extending to other parts of the international business community, and to the public and private non-profit organisations.
Whilst this is welcome, there are emerging concerns about the quality of disclosure. There are increasing calls from influential stakeholders for more systematic disclosure of social and sustainability performance and greater assurance about the reliability of the information.
AccountAbility’s AA1000S Assurance Standard will fill the ‘assurance gap’ by providing a robust, credible framework for the independent quality assurance of social and sustainability reporting.
The AA1000S Assurance Standard: Guiding Principles consultation document is being released in June 2002 in London, Brussels, Copenhagen and Sao Paulo. The London release initiated an intensive three-month consultation period until September 2002 that includes workshops and web forums on key issues surrounding the Assurance Standard.
The assurance standard will comprise two documents: a core AA1000S Assurance Standard defining the principles for assurance and assurance providers, plus a set of guidance notes on the implementation of those principles. The assurance standard will be accompanied by a set of short Practitioner Notes that provide practical experience from the users of the standard.
To take part in the debate on assurance, you can download documents from the web, participate in the AccountAbililty forums and give us feedback on the consultation document at AA1000S@accountability.org.uk