plenum 1 was commissioned by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) to perform an assurance engagement on the CEPI Sustainability Report to evaluate its adherence to reporting principles and there liability of specified sustainability performance information contained in the Report. plenum is an Organizational Stakeholder of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), 2 and acts independently and impartially with regard to the reporting organisation.
Level of Assurance
plenum’s assurance engagement provides a high level of assurance for adherence to the following GRI principles: materiality, completeness, stakeholder inclusiveness, and sustainability context; and a moderate level of assurance for the information relating to sustainability performance in accordance with the GRI Performance Indicators. 3
The information in the Report was prepared by CEPIusing the GRI Reporting Principles for Defining Quality. 4 We evaluated the Report against these criteria, based on the assumption that the criteria are suitable for the performance of the assurance engagement.
The CEPI management is responsible for the preparation of the Report and the information it contains, in adherence to the above-mentioned criteria. This responsibility includes developing, implementing and maintaining internal control aimed at ensuring that the Report does not contain any material false statements.
Our assurance engagement is based on evidence obtained from the organisation at management level. The following steps were undertaken:
We considered the possible assurance level based onthe first draft of the Report and a series of discussions with CEPI management
We determined the scope and level of assurance
We made recommendations regarding the content based on the first draft of the Report
We obtained and evaluated information on the processes which CEPI used to adhere to the GRI principles (in accordance with GRI G3.1)
We obtained and evaluated information on the systems and processes used by CEPI to collect, manage and aggregate specified reporting data
We reviewed the principles and performance indicators using the above-mentioned criteria.
The basic data for the Sustainability Report were submitted by the National Associations of the CEPI. These were aggregate data concerning the member companies of the National Associations. Testing the quality of the original company data exceeded the scope of our engagement. Therefore the evaluation of the GRI Performance Indicators applies to the previously aggregated country data and focuses on the credibility of the information (moderat elevel of assurance).
Based on the assurance procedures we performed we formed the following conclusions:
The reporting organisation adhered to all the principles which we evaluated. All the material sustainability issues identified by the stakeholders and CEPI are covered to an appropriate extent and in accordance with the GRI quality criteria. Stakeholder expectations receive sufficient attention, and the measures that have been or will betaken to meet them are credibly described.
GRI Performance Indicators
The Report provides in all material respects a reliabl eand sufficient representation of the policies, business operations, events and performance of CEPI and the paper industry in the CEPI area. Our evaluation of the credibility of the reported information and indicators gave no indication that the Report contains any material false statements.
CEPI represents the interests of almost 1,000 European paper mills. Thus their activities have strong economic, environmental and social impacts – not only in Europe but also beyond its borders. CEPI therefore deserves recognition for its engagement, particularly in the area of environmental and climate protection and the development of the CEPI 2050 roadmap.
We recommend that in future CEPI aims to develop its sustainability reporting towards the new generation of the GRI guidelines, called G4 and launched 2013. Aspects like governance, supply chain, ethics and integrity, anti-corruption, green house gas emissions and energy have to be disclosed in even greater depth. This will lead in expanding or adapting the data structure and reporting on these material aspects to continue the good practice in being “in accordance with” the GRI G4 Reporting Guidelines.
Harald ReisingerDI Dr Alfred Strigl
DI Project Leader Executive Director
1 plenum - gesellschaft für ganzheitlich nachhaltige entwicklung gmbh [www.plenum.at]