Assuring a Better Future
BTs Better Future non-financial report has been assured by management systems and verification body, LRQA for nearly a decade.
When BT published its first environment report it chose to have it assured by its own Environment Liaison Panel. However, as the status of non-financial reporting rose up the corporate and governmental agenda, BT was quick to realise the value that external verification could bring.
The team at BT recognised that independently verified reports were more trusted than those that weren?t assured. The rigour of the assurance process was seen as adding credibility, offering transparency and importantly giving valuable additional confidence to its stakeholders.
It was for these reasons that BT became an early adopter of independent assurance, choosing Lloyd?s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA), its existing management systems certifier to carry out assurance of its Report against the criteria of the voluntary reporting standard, AA1000 (AS). Using a recognised standard ? such as AccountAbility?s AA1000 ? allowed readers to more easily compare and contrast the existing Report against previous Reports as well as those from other organisations using the same standard.
Reporting to its stakeholders on its performance, in addition to its challenges, is seen as core to BT?s entire sustainability approach. This case study looks at the part that external assurance continues to give in raising stakeholder confidence, and in how it is seen to be managing issues appropriately and progressing towards meeting its strategic priorities. The ?Assuring a Better Future? case study explores the benefits that BT has seen from LRQA verification of its Report and concludes with a number of tips from the team at BT to those considering external assurance of their non-financial reports.