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10 April 2023

The option to certify to Version 3 (V3) of the ASI Performance Standard became available for Members and their Entities back in May 2022.  Since then, the number of Certifications to V3 have been steadily increasing, and currently make up approximately half of initial certification and re-certification audits.

In just a few weeks from now (on June 1), certification to Performance Standard Version 2 (V2) can no longer be obtained for initial certifications and all new certifications must be undertaken to V3. (Those Entities with certification to V2 can continue until their current certification period expires).

Over recent months, as more audit reports relating to V3 are submitted to ASI, the Secretariat have begun to identify common conformance gaps occurring, relating to specific criterion and other requirements new to V3.

V3 of the Performance Standard contains a number of additional public disclosure requirements, now incorporated into the Standard in an effort to improve transparency and accountability for ASI Member organisations and to better assist external stakeholders in understanding the non-financial performance of ASI Certified Entities.

Deficiencies noted across several audits include (but are not limited to):

  • ensuring the Entity’s Responsible Sourcing Policy is publicly available (Criterion 2.4)
  • the GHG Emissions Reduction Pathway and Plan (and progress against this) (Criterion 5.3)
  • Mine Rehabilitation Plans (for bauxite mines) (Criterion 8.7)
  • Human Rights Policy (Principles 9 & 10)
  • Modern Slavery Statements and policies relating to and/or referencing violence and harassment. In some instances, the Entity has not even prepared a Modern Slavery Statement, and assumed that their existing processes and policies address this requirement – which they do not. (Criterion 10.3)
  • the level of detail provided in the new Entity Overview section. Detailed guidance on what an Entity Overview should include is clearly discussed in Section 8.19 of the ASI Assurance Manual.

The development of GHG Emissions Reduction Plans (Criterion 5.3) (including emissions reductions pathways and the monitoring of progress against these plans) is also causing challenges for a number of Entities certifying to V3. Both ASI and its Accredited Auditors acknowledge that sector-specific guidance on this requirement is currently lacking, however there are significant resources available (refer to the Guidance document (pages 72-73) to assist all Entities across the supply chain to complete these requirements, which can then be revised if and as required by the Entity when sector-specific guidance becomes available later in 2023.

Specific reference, identification and assessment of Ecosystem Services (Principle 8) as part of the biodiversity risk assessment and action planning requirements also need improvement. Again, there are appropriate definitions and resources provided in the Guidance document (pages 104-106 and 112), and the identification of ecosystem services is merely an extension of the existing risk identification and assessment processes an Entity must undertake for biodiversity features present in its Area of Influence.

Risk-based due diligence assessments (Criterion 9.8) relating to Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (CAHRAs) is also another new requirement of V3 of the Performance Standard that the Secretariat has noted as being insufficiently completed as it is mandated in the Standard. Whilst the first stage in this process is being completed appropriately (as this also ties in with existing responsible sourcing requirements in the Standard), additional steps relating to management responses and the auditing and annual reporting of these practices are often insufficient.

These last three examples in particular are especially relevant to Re-Certification Audits. Members and their Auditors should fully review the Entity’s assessments, plans and processes in light of the enhanced requirements under V3 and not assume that conformance under Version 2 automatically equates to conformance under V3.

These are just some examples as to the increased level of effort required by Members and their Entities to certify to V3.  These new dimensions in the Performance Standard ensure that the ASI Certification framework continues to be relevant and appropriate to the ever-increasing demands and expectations of stakeholders.  As you prepare to step up to V3, be sure to prepare the additional work needed to meet the new requirements to avoid non-conformances in these areas. Please contact either Cameron Jones, ASI Director of Assurance or Natalie Sharp, ASI Certifications Manager if you have any questions.



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