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CSR Glossary

CSR Glossary

The definitions of some of the commonly used terms in CSR jargon, which we consider most accurate.

Specific concept definition is only available in Spanish. Go to Spanish CSR glossary. 

The definitions of some of the commonly used terms in CSR jargon, which we consider most accurate. This does not claim to be a complete list but rather a useful tool that may help clarify some of the CSR concepts.

Accountability
Assurance
Sustainability assurance
Sustainable development
Stakeholder
Accountability Principles Standards
Assurance practitioner
Assurance provider
Stakeholder engagement

Accountability

[NOTE FOR SPANISH SPEAKERS IN THE ORIGINAL:
The term "accountability" is widely recognised in the sphere of performance in sustainability. Although there are some translations, such as "rendición de cuentas" or "responsabilidad", neither of these entirely captures the spirit of the original term in English, which in addition refers to the transparency needed by an organisation to address stakeholder engagement. In other words, an organisation's accountability is achieved through the transparency brought by accountability and the recognition of its responsibility over all fundamental aspects of its performance in sustainability (economic, social and environmental)].
Source: MAS Business

Assurance
Normally this term describes the methods and processes employed by an assurance provider to evaluate an organisation's public disclosures about its performance as well as underlying systems, data and processes against suitable criteria and standards in order to increase the credibility of public disclosure. Assurance includes the communication of the results of the assurance process in an assurance statement.
Source: AccountAbility: AA1000 AS (2008) Standard of Assurance of Sustainability

Sustainability assurance
Assurance of public disclosures on sustainability performance as well as underlying systems, data and processes against suitable criteria and standards.
Source: AccountAbility: AA1000 AS (2008) Standard of Assurance of Sustainability

Sustainable development
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Source:  1987 Brundtland Commission Report: The World Commission on Environment and Development.

Stakeholder
Stakeholders are those individuals, groups of individuals or organisations that affect and/or could be affected by an organisation's activities, products or services and associated performance.
Note: This does not include all those who may have knowledge of or views about the organisation. Organisations will have many stakeholders, each with distinct types and levels of involvement, and often with diverse and sometimes conflicting interests and concerns.
Source: AccountAbility: AA1000 AS (2008) Standard of Assurance of Sustainability

Accountability Principles Standards

There are three AA1000 Accountability Principles Standards, one of which is the foundation principle.
  • The Foundation Principle of Inclusivity
  • The Principle of Materiality
  • The Principle of Responsiveness

The Foundation Principle of Inclusivity is necessary for the achievement of Materiality and Responsiveness. Together the three principles support the realisation of accountability.

Inclusivity is the starting point for determining materiality. The materiality process determines the most relevant and significant issues for an organisation and its stakeholders. Responsiveness is the decisions, actions and performance related to those material issues.
Source: AccountAbility: Accountability Principles Standard (AA1000APS) (2008)

Assurance practitioner
An individual who is qualified to provide assurance services.
Note: An assurance practitioner will typically be a member of a team and work for an assurance provider.
Source: AccountAbility: AA1000 AS (2008) Standard of Assurance of Sustainability

Assurance provider
An organisation providing assurance services.
Note: For an assurance engagement, an assurance provider will assemble a team of competent assurance practitioners and other experts.
Source: AccountAbility: AA1000 AS (2008) Standard of Assurance of Sustainability

Stakeholder engagement
The strategies and processes used by the organisation to engage with relevant stakeholders and the results of the engagement.
Source: AccountAbility: AA1000 AS (2008) Standard of Assurance of Sustainability
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