The European Federation of Accountants, FEE, is today calling on the European Commissions Multi-stakeholder Forum to give Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting the same level of recognition as financial reporting. CSR
reporting typically sees corporations reporting on their economic, social and environmental impacts.
FEE believes that independent assurance is central to building the credibility of CSR reports. Urgent action is required if CSR reporting is to attain the same level of investor recognition as that received by high quality financial reporting.
In addition to the Multi-stakeholder Forum, FEE believes that action is required from corporations, standard setters, assurance providers, sustainability indexes and NGOs.
Commenting on the launch of the issues paper FEE Call for Action: Assurance for
Sustainability, Chairman of the FEE Sustainability Assurance Group, Mr. Lars-Olle Larsson stressed that: CSR reporting without assurance, is rightly seen as little more than advertising. FEE, which represents leading practitioners in CSR reporting, believes
that credible assurance is the key to increasing confidence in such reporting in the eyes FEE President David Devlin noted that: FEE is taking a proactive approach to achieving the goal of widely accepted CSR reporting. Such reporting requires high quality reporting FEEs paper builds on the accountancy professions acknowledged CSR reporting and assurance expertise.
FEE believes that:
Corporations should seek independent assurance on their CSR reports.
Corporations and assurors should disclose sufficient information to
stakeholders regarding independence of the assurance provider.
GRI, (the global standard setter for sustainability reporting), should ensure that the nature of indicators and other disclosures do not preclude assurance. GRI should also encourage reporters to improve disclosure relating to internal assurance and its relationship with external assurance.
Sustainability Indexes (e.g. FTSE4GOOD; Dow Jones Sustainability Index) when rating a company, they should consider whether CSR reports have received
NGOs and other stakeholder organisations should increase their members awareness of the issue of assurance and fully engage with standard setters.
The European Commission and national governments should monitor
reactions to CSR legislation in France, Denmark and Sweden.
National standard setters should examine whether there is a need for a
national standard on assurance for sustainability.