School of Management
Royal Holloway University of London

The Centre for Research into Sustainability

Sustainability Assurance: A Loose Coupling of Programmatic Ideals and Operational Reality?

Project Description

This project involves an examination of the “the task dimension of [sustainability assurance]” (Power, 1996, p.292) in order to elicit deeper insights into the organisational practices driving emerging sustainability assurance practice. The paper aims to provide a deeper, contextually bound understanding of actual assurance practice and its perceived possibilities than contained in prior research.

Theoretically, the project draws on Power’s (1997) insights on the relationship between the programmatic and operational aspects of audit and assurance and reveals some of the practices enabling and preventing the translation of the programmatic ideals of sustainability assurance into operational reality.

Expected Outcomes


Case study drawing on extensive documentary analysis and in-depth interviews held with assurors in two leading Big 4 sustainability assurance providers operating in the same geographical market.


Brendan O'Dwyer (Professor of Accounting at the University of Amsterdam)