ICAEW Sustainabilty Assurance report

As an accompaniment to the news announcement about the International Integrated Reporting Committee project, the ICAEW’s Audit and Assurance Faculty and Corporate Responsibility Committee have produced a booklet on business sustainability and assurance reporting.

Sustainability assurance: Your choice (650kb PDF) sets down the principles of sustainability in simple terms that business managers and accountants can understand. The guide includes a Q&A around the core issues and several examples of how companies might go about creating appropriate reports on sustainability. It ends with a checklist of matters to consider.   To outline the purpose of the project, the ICAEW’s audit faculty assurance manager Jo Iwasaki said that reports on business sustainability performance would be useful to:

  • challenge and confirm views expressed in the annual report as part of the narrative disclosure
  • complement internal processes, such as internal audit or stakeholder engagement, designed to improve business sustainability and enhance the trust of external stakeholders; or 
  • enhance the credibility of information with those who use it to make economic and other decisions.

The institute’s head of sustainability, Richard Spencer, added: “There is a lot of confusion out there about the assurance of sustainability disclosures; there are various options available to build trust in such information and a service conducted under the IAASB standard is just one of them. I also believe that there are a variety of ways in which chartered accountants can help the process. Explaining what this all means is a good starting point.”  Looking at the booklet in more detail, it's clear that the ICAEW sees a lot of potential for the profession to provide these integrated reporting services. Will appealing to accountants' self-interest succeed where other approaches have made little headway in the past?  And how interested would practitioners in this group be in providing the sort of services described in the booklet?

 

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Group: Sustainability and accountants discussion group
Discussing issues related to resource management and environmental issues for accountants.