Rolls-Royce Audits For Accountability

Dec. 21, 2004

The 2003 environmental report from London-based Rolls-Royce Group PLC, released in mid-April of this year, is replete with goals set, goals met, and a few that still need work. The language of "Powering a Better World," the report's formal title, is remarkably direct and candid. But Page 7 of the 30-page report from the aerospace and marine engine maker might be the most remarkable of all. There, for the first time in a Rolls environment report, appears a statement of "independent assurance" from Deloitte & Touche LLP in London. Although Deloitte stresses its evaluation did not rise to the level of a formal audit or review, it does say, among other things, that the procedures Rolls-Royce used to report progress toward health, safety and environment goals "are appropriate." Why bother? To gain credibility. "We felt that it gave additional credibility to our report -- to have it independently assured in this way," explains Martin Nield, head of communications for corporate social responsibility at Rolls-Royce. "Just as with our annual report [which] one would get audited by financial auditors, for an environmental report it adds credibility to the statements we're making about improvements to our products and our operations to have our statements verified independently," he says. The idea originated last year with David Welsh, Rolls-Royce's director of health, safety and environment (HS&E). And Deloitte's work "focused on head office level S&E activities in relation to our management framework, data aggregation and reporting activities," the company discloses in the report.

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