ERM CVS, the certification and verification arm of ERM, has carried out the first ever external assurance of the sustainability-related information in GRI’s own annual combined report, an organizational activity review and sustainability report for 2014 / 2015. GRI - an international independent organization - pioneered sustainability reporting in the late 1990s and its Sustainability Reporting Standards are the world’s most widely used for sustainability reporting and disclosure. They enable businesses, governments, civil society and citizens to make better decisions based on information that matters. ERM’s own sustainability report is published in line with the GRI G4.
GRI G4 recommends external assurance of sustainability reports as it provides both report users and internal managers with increased confidence in the quality and completeness of sustainability performance data. This also makes it more likely that the data will be relied on and used for decision making. The GRI Board of Directors recommended having its own sustainability report externally assured for the first time this year in order to add credibility to it.
Commenting on the work, ERM CVS Managing Partner Mick Jenkins said, “It is a real coup for us to have secured this work as the GRI Guidelines, soon to become GRI Standards, are, globally, the mostly widely used by companies for voluntary reporting, and often used to meet increasing regulatory requirements to report non-financial information.”
Jennifer Iansen-Rogers, Head of Report Assurance at ERM CVS added: “The external value to GRI was to improve GRI’s confidence in the reliability of the published information which will be read by its thousands of stakeholders around the world. It was also designed to help GRI improve internal processes for future reporting, a value-adding element of assurance which is reflected in feedback from our other assurance clients.”
ERM CVS secured the work following a competitive proposal process where candidates were assessed against criteria including the assurance provider’s experience using the ISAE 3000 assurance standard or comparable, the relation between the quoted fee and the service, and the assurance provider’s capability to meet our timeline for the publication of the report. ERM CVS was selected over seven other organizations to assure the 2014 / 2015 combined report.
The scope of the limited assurance engagement covered selected material sustainability disclosures in the report and included an assessment of GRI’s data gathering processes and systems related to the assured information. ERM CVS’ assurance methodology is based on the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE 3000). GRI selected ISAE 3000 as the assurance standard for this work due to its focus on data quality and evidence gathering procedures.