Many companies are becoming more responsive to investors' concerns about the environment by voluntarily compiling and issuing periodic environmental reports that are essentially independent of the annual financial reports. Because of an absence of environmental reporting standards, however, these reports differ significantly thereby confounding comparability. Additionally, the credibility of these reports is being questioned, as they are typically not verified by independent third parties. As many public accounting firms are currently attempting to develop additional assurance services to offer existing and potential clients, verification of environmental reports may be an appropriate application of accounting firms' attestation skills and their desire to expand the client relationship. Such verification engagements may also be beneficial for corporations, investors, regulators and, ultimately, the environment. Guidance and criteria for environmental verification services are scant, however, and the accounting profession may benefit from expeditious development of such standards so that public accountants are empowered to offer a needed assurance service and compete effectively with other consulting firms.

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