Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to document a study of European and UK triple bottom line (TBL) report assurance statements. Design/methodology/approach – In undertaking the research, an international database was constructed from which all known European and UK third‐party assurance statements that accompanied the release of TBL reports were selected for review. Findings – The results of the analysis indicate that there is much variability and ambiguity inherent within the contents of the third‐party statements. Research limitations/implications – The UK and European reports included within the database compiled by the researchers provide the basis of the information used to develop this paper. In selecting assurance statements to include within the database, the latest TBL report from each reporting organization was obtained (and it should be appreciated that many organizations do not produce TBL reports on an annual basis). Of the 170 reports available internationally at the time the research was undertaken, 8 are from 2000, 86 from 2001, 65 from 2002, and 11 from 2003. Whilst the database is the most extensive one of its type, given the finite nature of resources available, it is stressed that the database is not exhaustive. Practical implications – Taken together, the results of this analysis lead us to question the value that such assurance statements provide to the TBL reporting process. Originality/value – Assesses the ambiguity and questions the value of assurance work on TBL statements as currently being undertaken.
Managerial Auditing Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 1, 2006
Keywords: International accounting; Economic sustainability; Quality assurance; Europe; United Kingdom
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