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Sustainability reporting and assurance in Great Britain and France

Author

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  • Elena-Roxana ANGHEL ILCU

    (The Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, Romania)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Elena-Roxana ANGHEL ILCU, 2011. "Sustainability reporting and assurance in Great Britain and France," Journal of Doctoral Research in Economics, The Bucharest University of Economic Studies, vol. 3(2), pages 3-16, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aes:jdreco:v:3:y:2011:i:2:p:3-16
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    File URL: http://www.jdre.ase.ro/RePEc/aes/jdreco/20112001.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Elkington, 2006. "Governance for Sustainability," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(6), pages 522-529, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sustainability assurance; Sustainability assurance standard; sustainability reporting; sustainability reporting framework; sustainable development;

    JEL classification:

    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • M42 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Auditing
    • M48 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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