The Carbon Trust
Explained byThe Carbon Trust

Understand what assurance is and why it is important

Build trust with key stakeholders and comply with best practice on Net Zero by obtaining independent assurance of your sustainability information

What is assurance?

The IAASB 5000 draft standard for assurance of sustainability information defines an assurance engagement as an engagement in which a practitioner gathers sufficient evidence to express a conclusion about the accuracy of sustainability information. This helps to increase user confidence in that information. This can include verifying that data is accurate, assumptions are reasonable, and processes are effective. The conclusion reached from an assurance depends on the type of assurance engagement and can take many forms, from an expert opinion to a certification that something conforms to the requirements of a specific standard.

The benefits of assurance

Assurance is intended to increase confidence that sustainability claims and processes are accurate, credible, and based on high-quality data.

It is becoming increasingly important to investors, consumers, and other stakeholders that any sustainability information you disclose is verified by an independent third party. As such, assurance can help you build trust with key stakeholders who want to distinguish genuine sustainability credentials from overstated claims.

The assurance process can identify where data is missing or incorrect, and where processes are not followed properly or are not sufficiently robust. As such, assurance can also reduce risk for your organization, and equip decision-makers with reliable information to act on.

Assurance of sustainability information is also recommended in international guidance for Net Zero best practice. The UN High Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities, the International Organization for Standardization, and Race to Zero all encourage companies to provide externally verified GHG emissions data. According to the recommendations of the UN Expert Group, companies’ Net Zero targets and plans should also be verified by a credible third party, and large businesses should seek independent evaluation of their climate governance, targets, reporting, progress, metrics, and internal controls.

Understanding different levels of assurance

There are two main levels of assurance that your company can seek: limited and reasonable assurance.