The purpose of this paper is to enhance our understanding of the notions and conceptual foundations of assurance in the standard setting arena. This will facilitate an informed discussion of the challenges and the role of assurance within an increasingly complex and fragmented corporate reporting regulatory landscape. The study draws on relevant literature on sustainability assurance and an analysis of how the assurance concept has been framed by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) through the construction of standards. The analysis highlights that the fragility of the conceptual foundations of assurance, broad-based nature of standards and diversity in practice contribute to the persistent challenges of sustainability assurance. This paper makes an important contribution to the discussions and contemporary debates on the regulation of and through assurance as well as the complex newer concept of integrated assurance. It further contributes to a more informed policy discussion as to how it can(not) strengthen the role of nonfinancial reporting as an agent of change to encourage more sustainable companies.
Bibliographical noteEpub ahead of print. Published online: 27. February 2020
- ISAE 3000
- Assurance standards
- Non-financial reporting