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University of the Witwatersrand Course

Sustainability Assurance (Certificate of Competence)


15 Jul, 2024

Digital Campus Sustainability Assurance Course

Course overview

As business continues to face social, economic and governance challenges, the level of interest in sustainable value creation will increase. Stakeholders are demanding more accountability from business and seek reassurance that information provided in sustainability and other forms of non-financial reporting is credible.

They assume that because the information has been assured by an independent expert, it must be a faithful representation of an organisation’s value creation and long-term sustainability. From a company’s perspective, the pressure to have their sustainability-related or other types of non-financial information assured can be immense. Organisations allow market trends to guide their decisions on what and how to have their reports assured rather than being informed by the need to use assurance as part of the broader value creation process.

The result is that they are ill-prepared for the assurance process and cannot maximise the benefits which can be provided by having their reporting, systems and processes subject to third party verification. This short course provides candidates with a conceptual and theoretical appreciation of assurance in the context of sustainability and integrated reporting.

The course is designed to further candidates’ understanding of how emerging forms of assurance (and related concepts) are being applied in practice. Candidates will be exposed to a mix of technical and professional publications, complemented to a limited extent by relevant academic readings. They are required to engage with an alternate perspective on the drivers and benefits of assurance being advanced by practitioners and assurance experts.

Wits University, in partnership with SAICA, decided to create a series of short courses dealing with the role and function of the CVO aimed specifically at chartered accountants.

Course curriculum

Module 1: Sustainability and Integrated Reporting Assurance Determinants & Relationships
Module 2: Assurance Framework Concepts
Module 3: Assurance Scope and Measurement Criteria
Module 4: Sound Reporting Infrastructure as the Platform for Assurance Readiness
Module 5: Combined assurance and the future of sustainability assurance

Course outcomes

  • Understand the concept of assurance in the sustainability and broader integrated reporting context;
  • Identify, describe and contextualise the drivers of assurance;
  • Explain important features of assurance practice as outlined in different assurance frameworks and the implications of these on the assurance process and planning;
  • Understand and analyse multiple perspectives on what should be assured and develop meaningful assurance criteria for;
  • Recognise the building blocks for organisations to be “assurance ready”, including reporting frameworks and policies, systems and controls, and governance and oversight;
  • Explain the concept of combined assurance and other approaches to traditional forms of assurance.


Prof Warren Maroun, Adj Prof Yvette Lange, Danielle Cerbone, Zubair Wadee

Course summary

Format: Wits certified online short course
Certification: Certificate of Competence from the University of Witwatersrand
Duration: 8 weeks
Language: English
Target Audience: Limited to Registered CA SA (SAICA) members only at present

Learn more about our Credly qualification badges here


Students. Accomplished

Paul Motibane


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Brochure Download

Sustainability Assurance (Certificate of Competence)

Prof Warren Maroun, Adj Prof Yvette Lange, Danielle Cerbone, Zubair Wadee

Some of the leading minds in Sustainability Assurance will provide input to, and lecture on the course including those from the Wits School of Accountancy and topic experts from the profession and business

These include:
Prof Warren Maroun, Wits
Adj Prof Yvette Lange, Wits
Danielle Cerbone, Wits
Zubair Wadee, Wits

Brochure Download

Wits online CVO programme - Specialised Accounting