Paragraphs 31 and 32 of the Framework (as revised in 2007) issued by the IASB states that information is reliable if the users can depend on it to “represent faithfully” the information presented or what is expected to be presented.
In the case of corporate social responsibility and social and environmental reports of various companies, reliability is a key factor that makes these reports more believable to their readers. The contents of such reports should be 100% reliable since the inclusion of data that do not faithfully represent the actual reality will affect the reader’s reliance on the entire report.
An example of the application of the reliability principle in a CSR is in reporting cost savings of the company from implementing energy-saving measures. If these cost savings are only based on the environmental policy of the company but were not actually observed by the company such cost savings should not be disclosed in the CSR because they are not reliable.
A CSR report that is professed to be reliable carries with it the assurance of the preparer that the information contained therein can be trusted by the readers. That is, in any reports prepared by General Motors (GM), for example, carry with them the assurance of GM that the contents of such reports are based on actual facts and are, therefore, reliable. For the information to be reliable, it should be real and should be based on actual data or facts. The information should also be “supported by internal controls or documentation that could be reviewed by individuals other than those who prepared the report” (GRI. 2007). “Unverifiable statements or data that affect the broad messages in a report…may compromise its credibility…., accuracy and reliability” (Mullerat and Brennan, page 534). This was emphasized in the Exposure Draft (ED) prepared by the IASB (found in the IASB Agenda Project). .