Investors and range of other stakeholders including; employees, customers and community interest groups, are demanding greater transparency from business. In response, an increasing number of leading Australian and international organisations are broadening the scope of their reporting beyond financial performance. This includes 95% of the 250 largest companies in the world (G250 companies) and over 85% of the ASX 100. Sustainability reporting takes the form of more traditional corporate social responsibility reports, sustainable development reports, integrated financial and non-financial information within an annual report, or even disclosing information through legislative requirements or bench-marking surveys such as the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) Act 2007, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
Assurance plays a crucial role in this information being judged as credible.
Typically, non-financial reporting processes are less well established than financial reporting, so information is less robust., questions that should be addressed include:
- How confident are you of the reliability of your reporting?
- Do internal and external stakeholders trust your reported performance?
- How well do you understand the data you are reporting and the trends in performance year on year?
- Are you confident that the story you are telling will hold up to stakeholder scrutiny?
New sustainability reporting frameworks like the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 and Integrated Reporting will have an impact on the way you report and the way assurance is provided. Net Balance has been closely involved in the development of these global frameworks so we’re well placed to help you transition to these new ways of communicating your sustainability performance. View examples of some of the work we have done for our clients.
We offer services across the following areas:
Getting ready for sustainability assurance
If you are planning to obtain external assurance but are not sure what it involves, or whether your internal processes are up to scratch, our team will undertake an internal readiness review or pre-assurance to provide recommendations to ensure you are prepared to undertake external assurance in the future.
We provide the following services:
- Review of performance metrics
- Review of systems, processes and controls
- Review of materiality and stakeholder engagement
- Organisational training.
Internal assurance: compliance, risk and performance
While you may not plan to report publicly, it is important to ensure your systems are robust in order to mitigate sustainability risks. Our team also provides internal assurance over policies and processes put in place to ensure sustainability objectives and targets are achieved and risks managed.
We provide the following internal assurance services:
- Internal review
- Sustainability training for your internal audit team.
Undertaking external sustainability assurance
An independent external assurance engagement will provide comfort to external stakeholders that the data you are reporting is accurate and that you are reporting on the issues that matter most. It also provides stakeholders with comfort that your systems are robust and that your sustainability data is complete, accurate and reliable.
We can provide assurance over:
- Sustainability reports, corporate responsibility reports, sustainable development reports and sustainability disclosures located within annual reports
- GRI: Global Reporting Initiative (G3, G3.1 and G4) independent level checks and “in accordance” checks
- Reconciliation Action Plans: assurance of performance indicators in “Elevate” level plans
- Greenhouse, energy and environmental reporting.
Why Net Balance
Net Balance is one of Australia’s largest independent assurance providers for non-financial information.
Every year we assure the sustainability disclosures of 20% of the 65 top ASX1000 companies that report this information. We also work with other public and private companies, as well as NGO’s and government departments.
Our team consists of assurance specialists and recognised subject matter experts across the full spectrum of social and environmental sustainability, providing valuable insights and a rigorous assurance process to ensure management and Board confidence in your reporting, and that it stands up to public scrutiny.
View our Independence Policy.
Our work draws on a wide range of experts in sustainability. We pride ourselves on being practical, easy to work with, clear communicators and provide value for money.
Our experience includes:
- 240 report assurance engagements
- 100 GHG assurance engagements
- CSAPs, Lead CSAPs and Chartered Accountants
- CRI assurance experts (Accredited, preferred)
- Actively involved in shaping and authoring assurance and reporting standards
- Assurance providers trained in the application of the AA1000 and ASAE3000 standards
- Integrated reporting council representation
- GRI stakeholder council and technical advisory committee representation
- Local and international experience
- Varied industry sector expertise
- Leaders in research.