ABOUT IRAS 

Integrated Reporting & Assurance Services, or ‘IRAS is a Close Corporation registered on the 12th of April 2011 (Registration Number: 2011/006116/07). IRAS has one Non-Executive Director, Christina Nichola, one Managing Partner and Lead Certified Sustainability Assurance Practitioner (CSAP), Michael H. Rea, two full-time Associates (currently searching for two more), and a group of extremely important and highly skilled "Networked Associates". 

 

Due to its total annual revenue of less than R10 million, IRAS is deemed an Exempted Micro Enterprise (EME) according to the revised Department of Trade and Industry (dti) Codes of Good Practice for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE), and thus a Level 4 Supplier. 

As Managing Partner and Lead Assurer, Michael has undergraduate degrees in Biology and Psychology, as well as an MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility. He is highly experienced in the field of Independent Third-Party Assurance (ITPA) over ESG/Sustainability Reports and/or ESG/Sustainability sections within Integrated Annual Reports.  Michael has presented widely on ITPA and is well-versed on local and international best practice, including AccountAbility’s AA1000AS Assurance Standard.  Michael, in partnership with AccountAbility (UK), facilitated SA’s only Certified Sustainability Assurance Practitioner (CSAP) course (2009 through 2013).

Michael's consulting and research activities are supported by two full-time consultants, Meriska (BSc and MSc), and Savannah (BCom). Each team member has indicated that the primary reason for joining IRAS was their desire to apply their skills and experience in the field of ESG analytics and assurance, while gaining practical experience that will further expand upon their existing skills and experience.

As a demonstration of our commitment to sustainability, IRAS supports socioeconomic development (SED) by directing up to 10% of all revenue (not the SA standard of 1.0% - 1.5% of Net Profit After Tax) to projects that IRAS is actively involved in. During FY2022, under severe post-COVID constraints within the business, IRAS was able to direct more than 7.5% of our total income to SED (5% in 2021, 20% in 2020, 15% in 2019). As from September 2018, the bulk of all SED spend is directed to the Siyathuthuka Khalokhazi Basket Ladies project in rural KZN, with the project now providing a mix of Food Security and Microeconomic Development support for more than 20 families in a deep rural location.

Our Team

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Michael

With undergrad degrees in Biology and Psychology, plus an MBA, Michael has been providing ESG/sustainability reporting and assurance services to clients in 20 countries for over 20 years.

From 2009 to 2013, Michael was the AccountAbility (UK) sole representative in SA, training over 130 new Certified Sustainability Assurance Providers (CSAPs), in partnership with the ACCA and the University of Stellenbosch Graduate School of Business.

Originally from Canada, Michael moved to South Africa in 1999 and considers himself a ‘wannabe S’African’. He created IRAS as a shared value entity that generates income as a means to have an over-sized socioeconomic impact on our employees, our business partners, and the beneficiaries of the Siyathuthuka Khalokhazi Basket Ladies project: a 100% Black Female microeconomic development project based in northern KZN.

A passionate e-cyclist, Michael rode across Canada (Victoria to Halifax) in 2018, and from Cairo to Francistown (Botswana) in 2019. The plan for early 2023 is to finally return to Francistown and complete the last leg of his ‘Cairo to Cape Town Carbon Free’ ride.

Michael’s principal aim is to employ up to 10 people interested in using IRAS as a means of creating their own jobs, doing something of strategic importance to IRAS inasmuch as it’s important to themself.

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Meriska

Having returned to Durban following four years of study at the University of the Witwatersrand ('Wits'), Meriska relocated to start her career at IRAS just before the launch of our 2022 research report in August 2022.

Meriska completed her BSc in Geology and MSc in Environmental Science, with her postgraduate research focused on using fossil pollen as proxy records to reconstruct past environments.

 

Her Masters dissertation entailed the reconstruction of past climatic conditions in the Angolan highlands to assess the accuracy of data gathered in conflict-affected regions. This project was a part of the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project, and data collected from her research showed how war-torn areas had long-term effects on regenerating healthy environments and biodiversity. Since the start of the Angolan Civil War in 1975, almost no scientific research had been undertaken in Angola, and thus collecting baseline data and past records is of immense value.

 

Meriska has a keen interest in sustainable development and environmental-related issues. She welcomes new opportunities, challenges, and aims to make a positive contribution in her role as a member of Team IRAS, in the field of ESG reporting, assurance, and advisory services.

In her spare time, Meriska enjoys jogging and going on hikes, as well as spending time with friends and family.

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Savannah 

Savannah is the newest addition to Team IRAS, having joined in October 2022.

Originally from Joburg, Savannah moved across the country to complete her undergraduate BCom Financial Management degree at the University of Stellenbosch. Thereafter, she completed her BCom Honours in Financial Management, with her thesis focusing on the ESG reporting practices of JSE-listed companies over the last 10 years.

 

Savannah is passionate about the environment, conservation, and addressing social injustices.

 

While completing her thesis and conducting in-depth research on the topic of ESG, she realised that a career centered around ESG/sustainability would allow her to align her passions with her work. As such, her goal is to become an ESG/Sustainability consultant, and to eventually run her own ESG consulting firm.

 

Apart from her professional career, Savannah enjoys horse riding, rock climbing, and spending time in nature.

 

Having represented South Africa for equestrian vaulting at a young age, she is now training to become a competitive horse rider again, after choosing not to compete for the duration of her studies.

IRAS is recruiting

November 2022

IRAS is currently seeking to fill at least one position for our Johannesburg office, noting the following:

Ours is a very small company and our offices are in an expanded work-from-home environment in Parkhurst, where the atmosphere is structured around being "highly relaxed", inclusive of a "come as you are" dress code (while in office...business casual for most client facing activities).

Due to the nature and size of our company, IRAS is in a unique position to offer junior associates the opportunity to quickly develop the skills and knowledge required to participate in client-facing work in direct partnership with our highly experienced team leader.

Compensation is based on level of experience, with a reasonably aggressive escalation of earnings plan for persons starting out as interns. Our goal is to be competitive within the market while maintaining our own level of economic sustainability balanced with strategic competitiveness within our field.

Salaries (excluding interns/trainees) are supplemented by shared revenue bonuses on a quarterly basis if/when pre-determined revenue targets are achieved.

Our work hours are from 08h00 to 17h00 with an hour lunch break. However, due to the nature of our client engagements, working beyond normal hours is to be expected (and required, within reason). In many cases, such as when travel to/from client locations occurs over weekends, consideration is automatically given to the provision of "leave in lieu" (i.e., compensation in the form of additional days off).

Annual Leave is four weeks per annum, of which a minimum of three weeks is guided by the December/January holiday period. All leave outside the year-end shut down period must be planned in advance, and any/all leave not taken during a calendar year from date of employment will be lost. 

Two weeks (10 days) of study leave per annum, over and above annual leave, is made available to any/all employees working towards a second (or subsequent) degree at a local university.

Ongoing self-enrichment and/or awareness training is required of ALL employees - inclusive of the Managing Partner - and forms a key component of any/all bonus and/or salary increase considerations. This form of learning is expected to occur outside normal working hours.

ESG/Sustainability Analyst (1)

Individuals seeking to expand their knowledge and experience beyond their first post-varsity job are invited to submit a brief CV (maximum of 2 pages) to michael@iras.co.za.

The job consists of analysing information collected and collated by our SDTI research and translating the information into guidance material required to inform the advisory and/or assurance services IRAS provides to its clients.

Prior consulting experience is required, preferably in the ESG/Sustainability space, and with specific experience in the provision of independent third-party assurance over the ESG/Sustainability content within integrated annual reports and/or sustainability reports. 

Key skills include the ability to effectively utilise both Word and Excel, while demonstrating the ability to pay very close attention to detail (ATD). 

Research Interns (as/when opportunities arise)

Individuals seeking that 'first real job' upon completion of an undergraduate degree at the Bachelors and/or Masters level are invited to submit a brief CV (maximum of 2 pages) to michael@iras.co.za.

The job consists of completing Sustainability Data Transparency Index (SDTI) gap analyses to collect and collate data from ALL of the companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), and then ultimately translating that data into information used in various client engagements.

 

All relevant training is provided on-the-job.

Key skills include the ability to effectively utilise both Word and Excel, while demonstrating the ability to pay very close attention to detail (ATD).