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ESG assurance

The expectations of financial services organisations and other corporates are changing fast. Profit cannot be the only measure of success – environmental, social and governance principles need to be observed and taken into consideration to satisfy a broad range of stakeholders.

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What is ESG and why does it matter?

In recent months ESG related considerations have become the number one on every financial services organisation’s risk register. Traditionally they had been associated with sustainability or corporate responsibility so why are they suddenly so relevant and important?
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The requirements

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What ESG reporting frameworks exist today?

  • 08 Dec 2021
Reporting requirements for financial services firms come from a wide range of sources and cover several reporting channels. The obligation on the reporter varies from voluntary to mandatory. The sheer number of frameworks can be overwhelming – we are here to help.
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Considerations for preparers and practitioners

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Who is using ESG assurance reports and what decisions are they making?

There are many different stakeholders using the ESG Assurance reports for a variety of purposes. They all have a common interest in wanting to be able to trust the information disclosed by financial services organisations.

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How do the considerations differ in public vs. private ESG reporting?

It is important for all parties in an assurance engagement to have an upfront understanding of where and how the assurance reports are to be used. While historically there have been more reports produced and used privately, more and more organisations are making their assurance reports publicly available.

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What needs considering in terms of roles and responsibilities in ESG assurance?

It is essential that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and understood in an assurance engagement. The assurance practitioner does not give a guarantee of the information provided but independently assesses it based on the evidence.

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Further considerations for practitioners

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FRC launches best-practice guide for managing ESG data

Guidance provides corporates with adaptable model for thinking about how to optimise the ways they collect and utilise data on ESG themes.

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What assurance opinions can be given on ESG metrics under ISAE 3000 (Revised)?

ISAE 3000 (Revised) establishes the basic principles and procedures to support the performance of assurance engagements other than audits or reviews of historical information. It can be applied to a broad range of underlying subject matters and can give rise to either a reasonable or limited assurance.

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How do you evaluate the proposed scope of an ESG assurance engagement?

Agreeing on the proposed scope of the assurance engagement is critical. We suggest eight questions that assurance practitioners need to consider before making a decision.

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What do assurance practitioners need to know about ESG?

Rules, regulations and requirements around ESG reporting are complex and can be difficult to navigate. Assurance practitioners need to be knowledgeable about the considerations specific to preparers.

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What is certification in the context of ESG?

Certification is the formal attestation or confirmation of certain characteristics of an object, person, or organisation. In the context of ESG, certification can have different levels and can carry different weight.

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How do you apply ISQC1/ISQM1 in ESG engagements?

The intended users’ degree of confidence in the ESG disclosures is enhanced if assurance practitioners have ISQC1 compliant quality management implemented.

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What questions should you ask before accepting an ESG assurance engagement?

The practical challenges around the assurance of ESG reporting need to be carefully considered before accepting an engagement.

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Additional resources

Guest feature

Greenwashing in financial services: rising regulatory temperature

  • 29 Oct 2021
A core goal of COP26 is to mobilise finance. Here we provide an overview of greenwashing in financial services and the rising regulatory temperature in this area.
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Webinar recordings

ESG risk: a webinar series

  • 20 Oct 2021
A webinar series exploring the challenges of understanding ESG risk, as well as what can be gained by doing so.
Watch the recordings
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We'd love to hear your thoughts

We're keen to hear from those working in ESG assurance. Our pages are designed to help and they will need continuous updating in this rapidly changing environment. If you have any information you'd like to share, questions you'd like to ask or feedback to give us, get in touch.

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