Assurance on Sustainability Reports: An International Comparison

42 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2007 Last revised: 2 Jun 2014

See all articles by Roger Simnett

Roger Simnett

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Accounting

Ann Vanstraelen

Maastricht Accounting and Auditing Research and Education Center (MARC); Maastricht University

Wai Fong Chua

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Accounting

Date Written: October 26, 2007

Abstract

Globally, companies increasingly publish separate general purpose, non-financial (sustainability) reports. Some of these are independently assured and assurers may or may not be from the auditing profession. We seek to understand this emerging voluntary assurance market. Using a sample of 2,113 companies (from 31 countries) that produced sustainability reports between 2002-2004, we use sequential logit analysis to identify the factors associated with the decision to voluntarily purchase assurance and the choice of assurance provider. We hypothesize that a company's need to enhance credibility through assurance and choice of assurance provider will be a function of company, industry and country-related factors.

Our results support the argument that companies seeking to enhance the credibility of their reports and build their corporate reputation are more likely to have their sustainability reports assured, although it does not matter whether the assurance provider comes from the auditing profession. We also find that companies operating in stakeholder orientated countries are more likely to choose the auditing profession as an assurer.

Keywords: Voluntary assurance, sustainability reports, choice of assurer

JEL Classification: M41, M45, M49, M47

Suggested Citation

Simnett, Roger and Vanstraelen, Ann and Chua, Wai Fong, Assurance on Sustainability Reports: An International Comparison (October 26, 2007). Accounting Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1025467

Roger Simnett (Contact Author)

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Accounting ( email )

Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia
+61 2 9385 5825 (Phone)
+61 2 9385 5925 (Fax)

Ann Vanstraelen

Maastricht Accounting and Auditing Research and Education Center (MARC) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

Wai Fong Chua

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Accounting ( email )

Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia
+61 2 9385 5828 (Phone)
+61 2 9385 5925 (Fax)

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