Special Terms Regarding Third Party Assessments
Confidentiality Policy Statement
Except as may be required by law, First Environment treats as strictly confidential all information obtained or produced in third party assessments. Except as required by witness audits and accreditation assessments by accreditation bodies or oversight authorities of greenhouse gas or product certification regimes and sector schemes, First Environment will not disclose to a third party—without a client’s prior written consent—any information that comes into its possession, the possession of its employees, agents or others in the course of client engagements. Where disclosure is required by a relevant reporting program, First Environment will give timely notification to its clients prior to any release of information to the public domain.
First Environment uses a Verification Team Member Declaration to safeguard confidential information. All staff involved in assessment activities signs the declaration prior to their involvement. This form requires, inter alia, personnel to attest that they will protect the confidentiality of information obtained during third party assessment activities in accordance with this policy.
First Environment understands that impartiality is critical to the credibility of the work it performs and the need to ensure decisions are made based on objective criteria. To safeguard impartiality in its client engagements, including third party assessment activities and litigation support work, First Environment has established a procedure to evaluate risks to impartiality and potential conflicts of interest (Management system section 11.14 – Management of Impartiality).
Prior to responding to requests for proposals, First Environment conducts a thorough review to identify risks to impartiality and potential conflicts of interest. If risks are identified, First Environment assesses the level of risk associated with the potential threat. Risks are classified as high or medium. High-risk engagements are not pursued. Medium risk engagements are further evaluated to determine if First Environment is able to effectively mitigate or avoid the risk through a resolution appropriate to the situation prior to initiating the client engagement.
In addition to protecting impartiality, First Environment ensures the objectivity of its verification activities through adherence to principles and the application of auditing and verification best practices, including reliance upon evidence in the development of statements regarding assertions. First Environment does not recommend, specify or otherwise endorse any providers of technical assistance.
First Environment’s complete Management of Impartiality procedure is available upon request.
Appeals Resolution and Complaints Handling Statement
First Environment has an established process to resolve appeals and handle complaints that arise during the provision of third party assessment services, including disagreements with a validation or verification statement. This process is administered by the Lead Appeals Reviewer, who is independent from the assessment process.
If you would like to file an appeal or submit a complaint related to First Environment’s third party assessment services, please contact the Project Manager responsible for the disputed assessment services. Please include the following in your submission:
1. Client name and contact information
2. Nature of the dispute (i.e., appeal on grounds of X, complaint regarding Y, etc.)
3. Resolution sought
Your submission will be reviewed by an independent review committee, which includes First Environment personnel knowledgeable in the relevant service area.
A copy of First Environment’s Appeals Resolution and Complains Handling procedure is available upon request.