The History and Future of Sustainability Assurance
In Adams, C A (editor), Handbook of Accounting and Sustainability, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
22 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2021
Date Written: October 28, 2021
Across all sustainability reporting frameworks there is one consistent claim, that the credibility of the reported information is enhanced if it is independently assured by an assurance expert. In this chapter we first examine the need to rebuild trust and the current fragmentation of sustainability reporting frameworks and consider their impact on credibility enhancing approaches for sustainability information. We trace the evolution of sustainability assurance, including where we are at, how did we get there, and what we know from standard-setting, practice, and research. Possible developments in credibility enhancement of sustainability information are then outlined, including the potential to develop an assurance engagement which covers behaviours, systems as well as the sustainability report, the practice of combined assurance, and providing “examples of evidence”. We conclude by outlining the need for research to provide an evidence base for informed decision-making and explore potential research opportunities under different research approaches.
Keywords: sustainability assurance, trust, new assurance services, assurance practitioner, combined assurance, assurance techniques
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