Ask a 3R Expert: Readiness assessments to prepare for sustainability assurance

In our “Ask a 3R Expert” series, 3R’s knowledgeable and experienced team members answer common client questions.

Gina MacIlwraith, MBA, SEP, 3R Associate Director of Sustainability Assurance, answers questions about how readiness assessments are a valuable first step in preparing for third-party sustainability assurance requirements.

Q: What is an assurance/verification readiness assessment?

A: A readiness assessment is an evaluation to determine whether your sustainability data is prepared to ‘pass’ an assurance audit. It helps identify gaps and potential areas for improvement to take the pain out of the formal audit.

The assessment includes:

  • Comparison:  How do your existing data collection processes and related documentation match the applicable sustainability assurance standard requirements (including determining the correct assurance standard to meet your needs)?
  • Gap analysis: Is there anything missing from your processes and/or documentation?
  • Recommendations: Providing an action plan to address gaps

Q: Why is a readiness assessment valuable?

A: Some regulations are beginning to require sustainability assurance, specifically greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory verification. Other assessments and frameworks are giving extra ‘credit’ for ‘assured’ data over ‘unassured’ data. There can be a lot of requirements to meet assurance criteria; a readiness assessment will help you prepare to meet these criteria.

Q: Who should conduct my readiness assessment?

A: Your readiness assessment should be conducted by a sustainability assurance expert who understands both the “reporter” and “assurer” perspectives. Sustainability practices and regulations are quickly evolving, so it’s important that your assessment is done by someone who understands the nuances of the field.

Ready for Sustainability Assurance now? Our partner, Sustainability Assurance Services (SAS), will take care of you!