The research reflects the views of decision makers from businesses in 7 countries with combined revenues in excess of USD 350 billion.
Over two thirds (67 percent) of those interviewed said that KPMG member firms have “strong capabilities” in sustainability assurance and that they have either already engaged or are likely to engage a KPMG member firm to carry out sustainability assurance services.
“We see sustainability assurance as much more than simply ticking boxes. It is about bringing clients genuine insight and guidance,” said Wim Bartels, KPMG’s Global Head of Sustainability Reporting and Assurance.
“KPMG has invested in developing this approach across our global network, we believe we offer clients a consistent quality of service wherever they operate. It is encouraging to see these positive perceptions reflected in customer views.”
KPMG’s Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2013 (published 9 December 2013) reveals that sustainability assurance has reached a tipping point among many of the world’s largest companies.
Well over half (59 percent) of the 250 largest companies (defined by the Fortune 2012 listing) now invest in external assurance for sustainability reporting – an increase of 13 percentage points since KPMG’s last survey in 2011 when less than half (46 percent) did so.
Two thirds of those companies that invest in assurance choose to engage a major accountancy firm. “Just as sustainability reporting itself is now a standard business practice; it is also becoming standard practice to have sustainability data externally assured,” said Wim Bartels.
“As can be seen with other trends in sustainability reporting, the largest companies tend to set the direction that other corporations follow.”
"The results of our global survey show that the Russian market is still at the start of the journey and that as yet Russian business has nothing to boast about in terms of non-financial reporting assurance," said Igor Korotetskiy, Head of Corporate Governance and Sustainability at KPMG in Russia and the CIS. "An insignificant number of Russian companies are currently ready to engage major audit firms and go through all the stages of the complex process of corporate responsibility reporting assurance in compliance with international standards. At the same time, analysis of the historical development of non-financial reporting shows that Russian companies that rely on the global capital, goods and services markets will, under the influence of market drivers, gradually introduce best international practices in their corporate responsibility reporting and assurance," he added.