Assurance

Our assurance services are based on methods and processes to evaluate an organization’s public disclosures about its sustainability performance as well as underlying systems, data and processes against suitable criteria and standards in order to increase the credibility of public disclosure – usually the CR or Sustainability annual report. Assurance includes the communication of the results of the assurance process in an assurance statement.

We base our assurance on the internationally recognized AA1000 Assurance Standard (AA1000AS). This means that, as well as providing an opinion on the quality and accuracy of your performance information, we assess your report against the three core principles of stakeholder accountability: inclusivity, materiality and responsiveness.

In our assurance statement, and in our feedback to you, we are not afraid to speak our mind. We provide sincere opinion which really adds significant value.

The end result is assurance that achieves its aim: greater trust among stakeholders. Moreover, our clients say they derive value from our recommendations as they help them focus on key areas of risk and opportunity.



Our assurance process is defined in 8 stages according to the AA1000 Assurance Standard (AA1000AS):

Stage 1: Planning

We plan the assurance project (the tasks and activities to be performed, the evidence gathering requirements, sampling methods and associated risks, the resource requirements and the schedule for the engagement) and we build the working relationship between the Assurance Team and the Reporting Team ( ensure shared understanding of scope, objectives, process and outputs).


Stage 2: Stakeholder review

We review stakeholders expectations and issues, review material issues framework, review the stakeholder engagement processes and we have direct interaction with stakeholders. For a high level of assurance against principles – direct interaction with stakeholders is a requirement for evidence gathering.


Stage 3: Early draft Report review

Review of the first version of Report at an early drafting stage. In this stage we give constructive feedback and we discuss any significant opportunities or concerns at an early stage.


Stage 4: Management interviews

We interview the senior managers responsible for most material issues and stakeholder relationships. The direct stakeholder involvement in this stage is required for high level of assurance against principles. The interviews are designed to gather evidence for management vision and integration of sustainability into the business strategy and objectives, business risk and management processes, how materiality is determined, sustainability opportunities and constraints, formal objective and target-setting processes, formal process for identifying scope and content of the report, processes for engaging with and responding to stakeholders and processes for integrating stakeholder views into decision making.


Stage 5: Operational interviews and site visit

We do interviews with operational staff responsible for day to day management of material issues and processes relevant to adherence to Principles. At the site visits we interview key managers to evaluate integration and cascading of relevant processes and issues across the business.We also gather evidence for any material site-based claims.


Stage 6: Report Claims Checking

We review progressive drafts of reporting, and underlying evidence, for selection and coverage of issues, balance of contents, consideration of stakeholders’ expectations and concerns. After that we priorities claims that are material to stakeholders’ expectation and concerns (within scope of assurance), we gather evidence to support these claims, establish where reliance can be placed on systems and data covered by other audit processes, identify where additional interviews will be required with those responsible for particular information. We also track evidence reviewed and claims checked and track changes made as a result of issues raised during the assurance process.


Stage 7: Draft and final assurance statement

We produce a single independent assurance statement for inclusion in the Report. The statement is in accordance with AA1000 AS (2008). The minimum requirements an assurance statement must meet are: the scope, including the Type of assurance, disclosures covered and any limitations; the methodology, criteria used and level of assurance; the name of the assurance provider, notes on competencies and independence, and date and place of signature; findings and conclusions concerning adherence to the AA1000 AccountAbility Principles; observation and recommendations; intended users, responsibilities of both parties and assurance standard/s used.


Stage 8: Management feedback

We give more detailed internal feedback on findings of assurance process like more information on issues raised in statement; suggestions for improvements to management arrangements , systems, data collection and reporting process;  issues raised in process that were not significant enough to affect external statement but may require management attention; issues that may become more important in the future; any limitations in the scope of the disclosures, the assurance engagement or the evidence gathering; written notes on management interviews and site visit.