Original Research

Who provides corporate social responsibility (CSR) assurance and what are the implications of the various assurance practices?

Barry Ackers
Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences | Vol 8, No 1 | a87 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jef.v8i1.87 | © 2015 Barry Ackers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 December 2017 | Published: 30 April 2015

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Barry Ackers, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Abstract

Independent assurance improves the credibility of corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosures by providing stakeholders with confidence about the veracity of CSR disclosures and attempts to ameliorate the risk of unscrupulous companies falsely reporting their CSR performance. This article establishes the prevalence of CSR assurance by the 200 largest JSE-listed companies for the period ended 2011/2 (the year after King III became effective), in terms of the assurance provider, the assurance standards, the assurance report components and assurance opinions. Within this context, this article specifically focuses on the role of the audit profession. The article concludes that the rate of growth in CSR assurance by auditors is surpassed by that of non-auditor assurance providers. Whereas reporting companies may use auditors for CSR assurance due to the perceived credibility and strong brands of the auditing profession, enhanced by rigorous assurance methodologies, they may use non-auditor assurance providers due to the higher assurance levels provided and reduced costs.

Keywords

assurance characteristics; assurance liability; assurance opinions; audit profession; assurance standards; assurance reports; corporate social responsibility; King III

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