A new report is out now that states that increased scrutiny of environmental, social and governance disclosures in financial and sustainability reports will require Fortune 500 firms to seek much more comprehensive assurance of their sustainability data and controls in 2014
The study from independent analyst firm Verdantix, called Green Quadrant: Sustainability Assurance (Global), states that corporations with a global footprint should turn to six leading suppliers of sustainability assurance – Bureau Veritas, Deloitte, DNV, EY, KPMG and PwC – for assurance engagements across GHG data, CDP disclosures, sustainability reports, supply chain compliance, product sustainability and sustainability management systems.
Rodolphe d’Arjuzon, Managing Director, Verdantix, said: “The global market for sustainability assurance is maturing. There is greater acceptance of reporting frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative and assurance standards such as AA1000AS and ISAE3000, but the market is still complicated by the presence of several types of suppliers – from consulting, financial audit and environmental certification backgrounds – vying for buyers’ attention.
“Demand for assurance lags the adoption of sustainability reporting. In Australia, South Africa and Western Europe there is appetite for broader assurance engagements – spend ranges between 5% and 12% of financial audit fees – but in countries like Canada, China or the United States assurance spend is often derisory.”
The study identifies 29 notable providers of sustainability assurance but found only nine had the capabilities to deliver globally. The comparison of the global providers – which includes ENVIRON, ERM CVS and SGS – is based on 63 assessment criteria and in-depth interviews with 15 customers with collective revenues of $351 billion. The six market leaders have established market positions ahead of other firms due to their: