Strengthening assurance to manage risk

To be trusted, sustainability systems need to show that they can effectively identify and address the real issues that businesses, governments and consumers care about.

Sustainability standards and similar systems verify that those involved in producing goods and services around the world comply with good practices as prescribed by the system. Traditionally, this process has relied on an auditor who visits each operation to gather the information needed to make a compliance assessment or evaluation, potentially leading to a certificate being issued.

Today, new technologies and the increased availability of data to support this process are transforming audits and increasing the reliability and efficiency of verification practices. Assurance innovations that systems are experimenting with include:

  • the use of new sources of data, from satellite imagery to worker hotlines
  • better use of data to detect high risk sustainability issues, such as forced labour
  • development of new assurance services such as performance dashboards for certified or participating enterprises.


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