About Assurance Service
Assurance on sustainability report (SR) or integrated report (IR) is an assessment mechanism on the report content by an independent external party in order to come up with conclusions and recommendations for improving the reliability and validity of the report. Assurance on SR / IR is not similar to audit work. While an audit is intended to generate an audit opinion, the final output of an assurance service is an "Independent Assurance Statement" that can be placed inside an SR / IR. An assurance on SR / IR can be voluntary or mandatory, it depends on the regulation of the respective country.
Benefits from Assurance
Many companies look for an assurance service because it can increase stakeholders’ trusts on their reports. Through assurance, the companies are also able to identify the areas of improvements for both sustainability practices and future reporting development. In details, the benefits of assurance service for the companies are as follows:
- An assurance team is consisted of sustainability experts as the assurors, and an assurance most likely includes discussion session; where it creates opportunity for companies to get advice for improvements in reporting from experts.
- The output of an assurance service is an Independent Assurance Statement that can be placed in an SR or IR. It gains more trust from stakeholders and increases companies' confidence in publishing the reports.
- An assurance service can be served as a mechanism for learning and continuous improvement on sustainability strategy and practices because it does not just review the adherence of report content against principles, standards and indicators, but also analyze sustainability context of the companies.
- Assurance is also a verification process of a report against the pertinent regulations on sustainability or integrated reporting; therefore, it enables companies to reduce compliance risks.
SR Asia performs an assurance service by referring to certain principles, standards and regulations that are applicable to clients' business environment and their sustainability context. Our assurance platform, the SR Asia GREAT, is designed to be adaptable and meet the companies' needs and expectations. It can accommodate any principle, standard and regulation into assurance indicators that are used by the assurors to perform the assurance work.
A number of references for assurance that have been adopted into SR Asia GREAT are as follows:
- AA1000 AccountAbility Principle (2018)
- GRI Standards 2016 and after.
- SASB Standards (some industry sectors).
- International Integrated Reporting Framework.
- Regulation of Indonesia Financial Services Authority No.51/POJK.03/2017 on the Implementation of Sustainable Finance for the Financial Service Organizations and the Listed and Public Companies ("POJK 51") - this is applicable for Indonesian companies only.
Potential clients may contact SR Asia to get the updated information about the references that have been adopted into the SR Asia GREAT assurance indicators.
Scope of Activity
An assurance service usually covers the following activities:
- An assurance project preparation starts with an initial engagement between the client (which is the management of the company) and SR Asia, or an assuror certified by SR Asia. A meeting shall be conducted to discuss the assurance plan, including assurance type, level, references, and schedule as well as communication protocol between the client and the Assurance Team.
- The assuror submits a project application form through SR Asia GREAT platform. A number of information is needed by the assuror to fill up the form, such as short profile of the client, reporting profile, data contributors, and material topics presented in the report.
- Once SR Asia Great Administrator has approved the assurance project application form, the Assurance Team can start to conduct an initial assessment on the report draft submitted by the client.
- A visit to the client's head office is carried out, to (1) discuss with the management representative and data contributors about the report draft and findings from initial assessment, as well as to (2) trace back sustainability performance data and information as presented in the report to the sources and evidence documents.
- When applicable, the Assurance Team directly observe particular operations or activities as evidence samples.
- After the visit, the Assurance Team allows the client to revise the report draft, most likely maximum in two weeks.
- The Assurance Team will generate recommendations for future improvements and come up with an Independent Assurance Statement after the client has submitted the revised report draft.
Please be noted that scope of activity may be adjusted to meet the needs, characteristics and sustainability context of the companies.
Verification and Analysis
SR Asia's assurance procedures guide the Assurance Team to verify and analyze the following areas:
- Sustainability context of the industry and that of the client, as indicated in the report content.
- Material topics presented in the report content and materiality identification process taken by the client during its reporting development.
- Presentation of key stakeholder groups in the report and the client's engagement practices to maintain relations with stakeholder.
- Disclosures of sustainability performance data and information specified in the report against principles, standards and regulations to which the report content referring to.
- Approaches, processes, methodologies, stakeholder engagement, and data management of the client in developing the report content.
- Other areas relevant to sustainability, such as presentation of sustainability performance data and information against Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) targets and indicators.
Type and Level
Based on AA1000 Assurance Standard (2008), there are two types of assurance services. They are:
- Type 1 Assurance Service – this type of assurance mechanism evaluates the nature and extent of the reporting company’s adherence to AA1000 AccountAbility Principles: inclusivity, materiality, responsiveness, and impact. Under Type 1, assurance on a sustainability report is usually conducted with moderate level of evidence. It means that verification and analysis is limited to the evidence documents given by the company.
- Type 2 Assurance Service – this type of assurance mechanism includes Type 1 and evaluates the reliability of specified sustainability performance information in a sustainability report. In Type 2 assurance mechanism, it is recommended to apply high level of evidence. That is where the assurance team obtains more evidences from different internal and external sources to meet a certain confidence level to conclude and come up with recommendations.
Number of Days
It takes approximately four weeks to complete an assurance work on an SR or IR, including:
- One day kick-of meeting between the assuror and the client.
- Three days for initial assessment
- Two to three full days discussion with the management representative and data contributors.
- One to two days site visit to see the operations or community development programs of the client.
- Two weeks for revising and improving the report draft
- One week to review the revised draft, generate recommendations and come up with an Independent Assurance Statement
View Writers or Assurors
SR Asia GREAT enables the companies to seek SR Asia's certified and registered writers and assurors and then engage with them to obtain certain services that can meet the companies' needs. SR Asia's certified and registered assurors are mandatory to utilise SRAsia GREAT platform and the independent assurance statements as the outputs of their assurance works are issued under SR Asia.
Note: Please be informed that SR Asia certification program is now in development phase and will be commenced in mid 2020.
Click here to see SR Asia certified writers or assurors
Click the following links if you would like to get information about SR Asia in pdf format.