AA1000 Assurance Standard


Twenty years ago, sustainability was a business nonessential; a decade ago, a passive investment. Today, sustainability is responsible business practice.

With expectations higher than ever before, assurance has become a business necessity. And AccountAbility has developed the solution of choice for sustainability leaders seeking assurance of their sustainability management, performance, and reporting.

The AA1000 Assurance Standard (AA1000AS v3) is the leading methodology used by sustainability professionals worldwide for sustainability-related assurance engagements, to assess the nature and extent to which an organization adheres to the AccountAbility Principles.

The AA1000AS v3 is a next generation standard for sustainability assurance that:

  • Offers Principles-based Guidance rooted in the AA1000 Accountability Principles (2018) of Inclusivity, Materiality, Responsiveness, and Impact.
  • Incorporates a Wide-angle, Integrated, and Forward-looking view of a company’s overall sustainability management, performance, and reporting practices.
  • Ensures Flexibility, Accessibility, and Applicability by any organization, of any size, in any industry, anywhere in the world.
  • Prioritizes the User Experience to be easy to read, simple to use, and clear in its objectives.

The AA1000AS v3 will be administered through an innovative e-licensing system for AccountAbility-licensed assurance providers, which will be introduced in Fall 2020. Please check back soon for more information.

Until January 1, 2021, organizations that have transitioned to the AA1000AP (2018) seeking assurance must be assured by AccountAbility licensed assurance providers using the AA1000AS (2008) with 2018 Addendum. Organizations that have not yet transitioned to the AA1000AP (2018) and still use the AA1000AS (2008) may continue to use the AA1000AS (2008) – available below – for assurance purposes until 2021.

For inquiries or clarifications, please write to: standards@accountability.org

The AccountAbility AA1000 Standards Board

The AccountAbility AA1000 Standards Board frames the vision, approves the standards’ strategy, and oversees the ongoing development of the Standards used by institutions worldwide. The composition of the Board is designed to provide broad representation from the public and private sectors, civil society, and the standards community. Meet the Board members here.

AA1000AS Working Group

Mr. Murray Sayce (Chair) - Principal, Corporate Sustainability, ERM CVS, UK Mr. Wim Bartels Global Head of Sustainability Reporting & Assurance, KPMG, Netherlands (Until May 2018)

Ms. Sarah Bostwick - Manager, Reporting, UN Global Compact; Co-Coordinator, UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges, US (Until October 2016)

Dr. Glenn Frommer - Managing Partner, ESG Matters ApS, Denmark

Mr. Vishal Goel - Associate Director, Sustainability, Bureau Veritas, UK (From November 2018)

Ms. Lina Hilwani - Sustainability Services Manager, Bureau Veritas, UK (From August 2017 – November 2018)

Mr. Terence Jeyaretnam - Partner, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, EY, Australia

Dr. Nils Kok - Chief Executive Officer, GRESB, Netherlands (Until February 2017)

Ms. Monika Kumar - Environmental Specialist, Corporate Responsibility Program, World Bank

Dr. Kheng Min Loi - Managing Director, KM Loi & Associates, Malaysia

Dr. Colin Morgan - Business Development Director, RSK ADAS, UK (Chair until January 2017)

Ms. Anupam Nidhi - Head, Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability, Siemens Ltd, India

Mr. Prathmesh Raichura - Executive Director, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, KPMG, India (From June 2018)

Dr. Vladimir Skobarev - Partner, Head of Corporate Governance and Sustainability, FBK Grant Thornton, Russian Federation

AccountAbility AA1000 CIC

AccountAbility AA1000 CIC is the legal entity established to house the AA1000 Series of Standards.

What is a CIC?

A Community Interest Company (CIC) is a limited company, with special additional features, created for the use of people who want to conduct a business or other activity for community benefit, and not purely for private advantage. This is achieved by a “community interest test” and “asset lock,” which ensures that the CIC is established and managed for community purposes and the assets and profits, are solely dedicated to these purposes. Registration of a company as a CIC has to be approved by the Regulator who also has a continuing monitoring and enforcement role.

About Accountability AA1000 CIC

AccountAbility AA1000 CIC was incorporated on September 7, 2011 by the Directors of AccountAbility Strategies. The CIC was established as an appropriate vehicle to promote and develop the AA1000 Standards, and furthermore to ring-fence the Standards from AccountAbility Strategies’ Advisory Service function, ensuring its independence. In its articles of association, the AA1000 CIC was established with the mission to:

  • Promote and develop internationally the AA1000 Series of Standards and to foster and maintain investigations into the best means and methods of developing and applying such Standards.
  • Encourage, increase, disseminate, and promote knowledge, education, and training and the exchange of information and ideas in respect of questions relating to the AA1000 Series of Standards.

Directors of AA1000 CIC

The Board of Directors for AccountAbility AA1000 CIC hold legal and fiduciary responsibility for the CIC under the UK Companies Act. They do not determine the Standards’ strategy as set by the AA1000 Standards Board. The present directors of the AccountAbility AA1000 Standards CIC are Mr. Sunil A. Misser (AccountAbility Strategies), Ms. Claire Hart (AccountAbility Strategies), and Dr. Assheton Stewart Carter (Spartacus Capital, Chair of the AA1000 Standards Board 2012-2020).

As a part of the Directors' duties, the AA1000 CIC must deliver to the registrar of companies a community interest report, with its accounts, such that both documents are placed on the public record. The community interest company report provides transparency of operation and describes:

  • How the company’s activities have benefited the community
  • What steps were taken to consult stakeholders and what was the outcome
  • What payments were made to directors
  • What assets were transferred other than for full consideration
  • What dividends were paid
  • What performance-related interest was paid on loans or debentures

The first AccountAbility AA1000 CIC report is available on the Registrar of Companies website in June 2013.

Articles of Association

The articles of Association of AA1000 are available here.

Transfer of Assets Including Intellectual Property

In April 2013, AccountAbility Strategies completed an asset transfer to AccountAbility AA1000 CIC. This transfer was a legally bound process and included the intellectual property, assets, and business contracts associated with the Standards, which are now held and safeguarded under the CIC’s asset lock.

AA1000 Issue Resolution Process

The AccountAbility Issue Resolution Process is an essential part of maintaining the integrity of the AA1000 series. If there is a query with regard to an AA1000AS Licensed Assurance Provider, Certified Sustainability Assurance Practitioner (CSAP), or AccountAbility approved training providers, we recommend that where possible, the party concerned is contacted first to try and resolve any issues themselves. Where this is not possible or appropriate, or where the issue has not been successfully resolved, AccountAbility welcomes queries to be addressed to the AA1000 Standards team.

Further Information

If you would like to know more information about AA1000 CIC please use the Webcheck service with company number 07765165. This service is provided by the Registrar of Companies. This information is free of charge and may be accessed by clicking on the link above. In accordance with the CIC Regulator the Annual Accounts and CIC Report are available for download from Companies House.

For anything else please contact standards@accountability.org

Assurance Provider Licensing Process

Licensing is mandatory for all commercial use of the AA1000 Assurance Standard.

The licensing agreement must be completed and returned electronically to standards@accountability.org or a hard copy can be sent to the Standards Team in our London office.

With a license, AccountAbility grants the Licensee a non-exclusive license to use the AA1000 Assurance Standard (AA1000AS v3) and Marking in relation to their Sustainability Assurance Services.

Assurance providers not having completed the licensing agreement are not permitted to use the AA1000AS v3 commercially. Sections 13 to 24 of the Frequently Asked Questions document further details the rules and guidelines on licensing.

CSAP Overview

AccountAbility helps individuals and organizations develop the knowledge and skills to implement effective stakeholder engagement, sustainability reporting, and assurance. The Certified Sustainability Assurance Practitioner (CSAP) qualification, developed in 2007 by AccountAbility and IRCA (International Register of Certificated Auditors), is the first internationally recognized professional qualification in the field of sustainability assurance.

It aims to:

  • Enable practitioners to develop, validate, and communicate their competence in a systematic manner
  • Make it easier for organizations to identify credible assurance expertise
  • Improve stakeholder confidence in the expertise of sustainability assurance professionals engaged by an organization

The qualification is intended for those who work in CSR departments, those who work in internal audit, those who provide sustainability assurance and consultancy services, and external assurance providers who undertake assurance engagements.

For more information please contact standards@accountability.org

Types of Practitioners

AccountAbility helps individuals and organizations develop the knowledge and skills to implement effective stakeholder engagement, sustainability reporting and assurance.

There are three grades of the Certified Sustainability Assurance Practitioner (CSAP) qualification:

  • Lead CSAP Practitioners (LCSAP)
  • CSAP Practitioners (CSAP)
  • Associate Practitioner (ACSAP)
Certified Sustainability Assurance Providers

Lead CSAP Practitioners (LCSAP) are practitioners who are directly involved in the assurance process (internal or external) leading teams and taking responsibility for the formulation of public statements.

Lead Sustainability Assurance Practitioners have well established practical experience of sustainability assurance using the AA1000AS (2008). This experience must include leading sustainability assurance assignments, either internally within an organization, or as part of external assurance assignments. Experience in stakeholder engagement as part of assurance assignments is essential, as is the lead role in forming assurance judgments and the preparation of external or internal assurance statements.

Lead Practitioners are currently active in the provision of sustainability assurance and have been so for several years or have led a significant number of sustainability assurance assignments.

Alan Dayeh, Australia. Email
Amanda Nuttall, Australia. Email
David James Simpson, Canada. Email
David Knight, U.K. Email
Jean-Pierre Dalla Palma, Singapore. Email
Kye Gbangbola, U.K. Email
Paul Davies, Australia. Email
Petrus Gildenhuys, South Africa. Email
Richard Boele, Australia. Email
Sied Sadek, Germany. Email
Terence Jeyaretnam, Australia. Email
Vladimir Skobarev, Russia. Email

CSAP Practitioners (CSAP) are practitioners who are directly involved in the assurance process (internal or external) as a team member.

Sustainability Assurance Practitioners have practical experience in sustainability assurance using AA1000. This experience includes active participation in sustainability assurance engagements, whether internally within an organization or as an external assurance provider. Experience in stakeholder engagement is required, although not necessarily as part of formal assurance assignments. It will include relevant formal training and qualifications, although not necessarily specific to sustainability assurance. Practitioners are active sustainability assurance practitioner with demonstrable experience over a number of assignments with different clients or, for internal practitioners, over several assurance cycles covering a range of sustainability issues.

Brian Noveck, U.S.A. Email
Elena Pertceva, Russia. Email
Minju Kim, Singapore. Email
Nancy Mancilla, U.S.A. Email
Tatyana Lyakhovenko, Russia. Email

Associate Practitioners (ACSAP) are professionals who are not directly involved in the assurance process or for trainee assurance practitioners (internal or external).

Associate Sustainability Assurance Practitioners have an understanding of the field of sustainability assurance. Associates have gained this knowledge by attending relevant training. Their knowledge can include, but does not require, practical assurance experience, or direct experience in stakeholder engagement.

This grade is most relevant to those beginning their career in sustainability assurance, and those involved in related topics, such as report preparation or general management, who wish to demonstrate their knowledge of the field.

Ajay Sachdeva, India. Email
Carlos Suárez, Spain. Email
Cristina Balan, Romania. Email
Farah Matar, Lebanon. Email
Francisco Neves, Portugal. Email
Gonzalo F. Perez, Spain. Email
Hsien Weng Lou, South Africa. Email
John Scade, Spain. Email
Mehmet Kumru, Turkey. Email
Mélanie Salagnat, Mexico. Email
Neil Mendenhall, U.S.A. Email
Pilar Otero, U.K. Email
Prat Wongwan, Thailand. Email
Qiuming Xu, China. Email
Udaya A. Nanayakkara, U.K. Email

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