Sustainability reporting and assurance in Great Britain and France
Purpose – This article seeks to present the particularities of assurance reporting, as they appear in AA1000AS Standard (2008) issued by AccountAbility. Sustainability assurance provides a comprehensive way of holding an organisation to account for its management, performance and reporting on sustainability issues. Design/methodology/approach – Our first methodological option sets out the theoretical foundation of the standard. The theoretical aspects are emphasized through analysis and comparison between this standard and other regulations, considering the Sustainable Reporting Framework issued by Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Our second methodological option refers to a sample of companies, selected in such a manner in order to emphasize two paradigmatic and opposite accounting systems: British and French. In this manner, our sample consists of 50 British companies and 50 French companies. Findings – In our analysis, we consulted the sustainability reports of the target sample companies for financial year 2008/2009 in order to content analyse the presented assurance reports of third-party evaluators. Although, most of the companies show a profound commitment to sustainable development in their annual sustainable reports, by disclosing several eco-friendly technologies and approaches in day-by-day activities, only half of them presented a relative transparent and credible sustainable report in accordance with GRI’ provisions, and also, less than half did presented an assurance statement for these reports. And this, in a context in which, the provisions of GRI and AccountAbility don’t perfectly converge. Research implications – These results aim to enrich the knowledge in the field by emphasizing a highly-relevant assumption: the inexistence of converged reporting standards on sustainable reporting and assurance, and also, a major laissez-faire attitude of national governments, create a weak sustainability assurance process, with no quantifiable echoes in the current environment. Originality/value – This paper is novel in the field, because it shows a relevant and global image of the companies’ eagerness in conducting the sustainability assurance process, in Great Britain and France.
Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
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- John Elkington, 2006. "Governance for Sustainability," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(6), pages 522-529, November.
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