What Happens in Practice?

Objective third party assuring firms provide a conclusion on the reliability of the reported information but typically do not comment on whether the company’s sustainability performance is satisfactory.  Because of this, some innovative companies have chosen what is referred to third party commentaries, often provided by a stakeholder panel. 

This panel can consist of

  • academics,
  • industry or environmental experts,
  • members of non-government organizations,
  • community members, and
  • parties interested in the performance of the organization.
Toshiba Corporation is a multinational corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan with businesses in infrastructure, consumer products, electronic devices and components. Toshiba Group’s CSR Report provided a commentary by a professor, a third-party commentary, on the two-way communication provided by the report, materiality, the KPIs (key performance indicators), and the contribution to society /environment through business. Toshiba also responds to these comments. Click here to view Toshiba’s report.

Stakeholders can be used to provide direction before starting the report, during the preparation of the report, after the report is completed, or a combination of these times.

Ford is an international automobile manufacturer headquartered in the United States. Ford used a combination of third party (stakeholder) commentary and third party assurances for its report. The combination of assurance of data accuracy and level of performance allows the reader to make the sustainability report more useful to both external readers and management in planning for continuous improvement. Click to view the combination of assurances for Ford.
Westpac is a financial institution headquartered in Australia. Westpac Group uses stakeholder engagement and a number of different controls and assurances to ensure credibility in its reporting. Click here to view Westpac’s report.