|The effectiveness of European countries in encouraging sustainability reporting can now be judged at a glance with the launch of a new website.
The European Sustainability Reporting Association (ESRA) is highlighting the progress of participating countries in ensuring the maximum number of organisations are producing reports on their impacts on the environment and society. Experts from each of the countries involved has produced summaries on sustainability reporting - and the overall view is positive.
The launch of the website, and the greater transparency which it will bring to sustainability reporting in Europe, has been welcomed by the following leading organisations:
Robert Strauss, Head of Unit in DG Employment at the European Commission says: "The Commission continues to welcome the work undertaken by ESRA in this important area of sustainability / corporate social responsibility reporting by companies. The collection of country and regional level data assists assessment of the extent to which reporting is undertaken, and enables companies themselves to benchmark their activities with their peers. We hope that the work of this project will continue to encourage more commitment to reporting."
Helle Bank Jørgensen, Chair of ESRA and Partner with Pricewaterhouse Coopers said: "This year reporting not only continues to grow, but there is also an increase in the number of reports with external assurance and using G3. There is clearly a greater global demand for greater transparency from companies and for the publication of externally assured reports. Sustainability reporting can be incorporated in the annual report, as a separate sustainability report or as a web-based production. Next year, we expect even more reporters and more focus on climate change and stakeholder dialogue".
Ernst Ligteringen, CEO, of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) said:
"In 2007 sustainability reporting continued to move into the mainstream: the G8 declared its support for the concept of sustainability reporting and the number of companies issuing reports continued to rise following the release of The GRI G3 Guidelines. The ESRA project is of great benefit in aiding the understanding of trends across Europe at this exciting time in the evolution of sustainability reporting."
Jacques Potdevin, President of the Federation of European Accountants (FEE), said: "Given its commitment to the public interest and its expertise, the accountancy profession has a key contribution to make to the creation of a more sustainable world. Assurance enhances the credibility, reliability and quality of information on Corporate Social Responsibility.
"FEE believes that there is indeed a need for an international standard on sustainability assurance: it would lead to greater transparency in an increasingly complex global market place, benefiting both companies and consumers. We see the IAASB project on assurance on carbon emission information as a useful first step, but continue to call on the IAASB to take the lead on a specific sustainability assurance standard," he said.
"Markets, stakeholders and the accountancy profession are in need for a standard within the IAASB International Framework for Assurance Engagements and ISAE 3000. We welcome the effort undertaken by AccountAbility to improve alignment of the future AA1000 AS with the IAASB Framework and ISAE 3000. FEE is ready to contribute to the leading role that the accountancy profession should play in this field," added Jacques Potdevin.
The participating countries this year are the UK, Switzerland, Belgium, Russia, Austria Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy and Sweden. A summary of reporting developments in each, along with key regional statistics provided by CorporateRegister.com, are available on the new ESRA website - www.sustainabilityreporting.eu
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