Third-Party Assurance Practices of Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting: Experiences from Large Finnish Listed Companies

By Ulla Kotonen.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This research analyses third-party assaurance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting from large Finnish listed companies’ point of view. The emprical study focuses on questions: 1) what kinds of motives and objectives appear behind third-party assurance, 2) how third-party assurance procedures are organised, 3) who act as a third-party assurance provider, and 4) what kind of information is presented in the assurance statements. Finally, the large Finnish listed companies’ assurance practices are compared to corresponding international studies. The empirical research show that only few of large Finnish listed companies use third-party assurance. The third-party assurance provider is either public accountant company, csrnetwork or both of them. Regardless of assurance provider, the assurance processes are almost identical and follow typical steps of third-party assurance process presented in previous researches. The biggest differences between assurance statements are related to the extent of assurance statement and specificity of reported information. Csrnetwork reports in their assurance statements more detailed descriptions, for example recommendations for future reporting, than auditors. Companies’ motives and objectives behind third-party assurance are mostly same as presented behind CSR reporting. It is seen that third-party assurance increases credibility and reliability as well as transparency of CSR reporting. On the other hand, companies realise third-party assurance as a possibility to develop their CSR reporting practices. From this point of view, the third-party of assurance providers have also a consulting role.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, Reporting, External Assurance, Third-party Assurance, Listed Companies, Finland

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.219-236. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.226MB).

Dr. Ulla Kotonen

Principal Lecturer, R&D Activities, Faculty of Business Studies, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Lahti, Finland


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