IAASB publishes landmark green assurance standard

A NEW INTERNATIONAL standard on assurance of greenhouse gas (GHG) statements has been published by the global assurance board.

The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) has published ISAE 3410. The standard encompasses assurance outlines to check that emission statements are more reliable and accurate for investors and stakeholders, whether for regulatory or voluntary purposes.

“Today, there is clear and growing demand for companies to disclose their environmental impacts and initiatives, and to report detailed emissions information, often through GHG statements. As this demand increases, public confidence in assured GHG emissions information becomes more significant, if not essential,” said IAASB chairman Arnold Schilder.

“In promulgating this new standard, the IAASB seeks to enhance the consistency and quality of assurance engagements on GHG information, recognising the importance to the public interest of decisions being made on the basis of that information.”

The new standard outlines responsibilities for assurance providers in assessing and responding to risks of material misstatements on greenhouse gas statements. The ISAE is applicable to a broad range of situations, including emissions from electricity used at a single office to emissions from complex physical or chemical processes at several facilities across a supply chain.

“ISAE 3410 is a landmark standard in many respects,” said James Gunn, IAASB technical director.

“It responds to societal demands for standards that support quality in assurance services in areas other than financial reporting. It deals with engagements that largely need to be undertaken by a multidisciplinary team, where the assurance practitioner needs to integrate experts in engineering or environmental science.

“It provides illustrative reports with features that distinguish for readers the difference between reasonable and limited assurance engagements, and shows how limited assurance reports may be further tailored to enhance users’ understanding of the assurance obtained.” 

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