Ethical Performance
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Diageo asks assurers for more comment

January 2007

Diageo has asked the assurers of its annual corporate citizenship report to provide more commentary on the document’s strengths and weaknesses rather than just on the accuracy of the information provided.

The latest non-financial report from the UK-based drinks multinational includes an expanded section from its assurers, The Corporate Citizenship Company, at its specific request.

Diageo believes an informal, wide-ranging assurance statement ‘is more useful to our readers than the more common limited opinion of veracity’. It says this viewpoint was endorsed last year by its stakeholders.

There has been criticism recently that the assurance statements of corporate responsibility reports are often limited in scope or adopt legalistic language that does not help readers. A Vodafone discussion paper late last year suggested many stakeholders feel assurance statements ‘add little to CSR reporting’ and are ‘inaccessible to most readers’ (EP8, issue 7, p4).

The new-look assurance statement is published in summary form in Diageo’s 40-page hard copy report and in full online. The report urges Diageo to ‘offer more robust measures’ on diversity, where it says the company has clear data only on gender, and on responsible drinking, where the long-term impact of its efforts should be quantified, according to the statement. Diageo also needs to ‘report more fully’ on supplier relations.

Around half of the FTSE 100 provide third party assurance in some form for their non-financial reports, according to Deloitte.

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