Sustainability reporting and assurance: a historical analysis on a world-wide phenomenon

Mori Junior, Renzo and Best, Peter J. and Cotter, Julie (2014) Sustainability reporting and assurance: a historical analysis on a world-wide phenomenon. Journal of Business Ethics, 120 (1). pp. 1-11. ISSN 0167-4544

Abstract

Sustainability reporting and assurance of sustainability reports have been used by organizations in an attempt to provide accountability to their stakeholders. A better understanding of current practices is important to provide a base for comparative and trend analyses. This paper aims to consolidate and provide information on sustainability reporting, assurance of sustainability reports and types of assurance providers. Another aim of this paper is to provide a descriptive analysis of these practices for a global sample, comparing results with previous studies, and suggesting opportunities for future research. To accomplish these objectives, a literature review was performed, an analysis of the organizations included in the Fortune Global 500 2010 was completed, and results were presented and consolidated by country. These results demonstrate that all organizations analysed provided some type of information in relation to their social or environmental performance in their official website. The percentage of organizations issuing a sustainability report has been increasing in the last few years. However, the percentage of organizations assuring their sustainability report has stagnated. Types of assurance engagements include those performed by accountants and non-accountants, and new practices have emerged, namely the 'mixed approach' and the 'stakeholder or specialist review'. The analysis also shows that the practices of issuing sustainability reports and having them assured have become a world-wide phenomenon,
occurring in developed, and emerging economies around the world.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Published online 8 Feb 2013. Published version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2013 06:43
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2016 00:32
Uncontrolled Keywords: assurance for sustainability report; assurance provider; Fortune Global 500; sustainability reporting
Fields of Research : 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2201 Applied Ethics > 220102 Business Ethics
16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160505 Economic Development Policy
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1501 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability > 150106 Sustainability Accounting and Reporting
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 91 Economic Framework > 9102 Microeconomics > 910209 Preference, Behaviour and Welfare
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1007/s10551-013-1637-y
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/22962

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