More and more companies are reporting annually on how their activities affect the environment. To ensure that such reports adequately reflect the environmental impact, companies often commission an external review. Until now, there has been no uniform procedure for such a review. The publication of the new standard ISO 14016 is intended to change this. ISO 14016 focuses on the verification and validation of environmental reports and aims to increase the credibility and reliability of environmental information, for example in sustainability reports or annual reports.
Investors, regulatory authorities, shareholders and customers are all interested in understanding the environmental performance of companies. For some companies, reporting on their environmental performance is even a legal requirement. In many cases, companies report on their environmental impacts as part of the non-financial information in the annual report, or as part of a sustainability report.
Until now, there has been no uniform basis for assessing the credibility of environmental data. Despite the existence of internationally recognized assurance standards such as ISAE 3000 or AA1000, audit procedures are far from harmonized. Not the best conditions for transparency and comparability. ISO 14016 is now intended to solve this problem. The new uniformly applicable assurance standard for environmental reports gives stakeholders the certainty that the environmental information provided is credible and reliable.
ISO 14016 is based on the ISO standards 14064-1 and 14064-3, which regulate the verification and validation of greenhouse gases. In addition, content from other existing assurance standards for the verification of sustainability reports is also incorporated into the standard.
The requirements for verification bodies are set out in the ISO 17029 standard. This standard also describes how verifications and validations should be carried out and enables a uniform understanding of the terms ‘validation’ and ‘verification’.
The advantages of ISO 14016
Companies can derive various benefits from the verification or validation of their environmental reports:
- Sustainability issues are becoming increasingly important for corporate strategy. Environmental information that is correct and trustworthy is more likely to be used for internal decision-making.
- The risk of poor data quality is reduced – this increases trust.
- Interested parties benefit from credible insights. This improves communication and contributes to mutual understanding.
- Strengthening internal environmental reporting contributes to improved performance.
- Image and reputation are improved.
As a recognized assurance provider for sustainability reports , DQS welcomes the development of the standard. Behzad Sadegh, product manager at DQS CFS for the verification of sustainability reports and data, attaches great importance to ISO 14016: “In any report verification, the question of credibility of the data is the main focus. How was this data collected? Is the data correct in the context in which it is presented? Is materiality taken into account? Our task is to verify all this systematically. The improved comparability of environmental data and the resulting increase in credibility will further enhance the usefulness of non-financial reporting.”
You can view the standard here.
How DQS can help you
As one of the world’s leading certification, verification and validation bodies, we support our customers in securing the long-term confidence of business partners, investors and consumers. With highly qualified auditors all over the world, we are always ready to assist you.