This paper aims to set the scene for an emerging conversation on the Rights of Nature as articulated by a philosophy of law called Earth Jurisprudence, which privileges the whole Earth community over the profit-driven structures of the existing legal and economic systems.
The study used a wide range of thought from literature relating to philosophy, humanities, environmental economics, sustainable development, indigenous rights and legal theory to show how Earth Jurisprudence resonates with two recent treaties of Waitangi settlements in Aotearoa New Zealand that recognise the Rights of Nature.
Indigenous philosophies have become highly relevant to sustainable and equitable development. They have provided an increasingly prominent approach in advancing social, economic, environmental and cultural development around the world. In Aotearoa New Zealand, Maori philosophies ground the naming of the Te Urewera National Park and the Whanganui River as legal entities with rights.
Recognition of the Rights of Nature in Aotearoa New Zealand necessitates a radical re-thinking by accounting researchers, practitioners and educators towards a more ecocentric view of the environment, given the transformation of environmental law and our responsibilities towards sustainable development.
This relates to the application of Earth Jurisprudence legal theory as an alternative approach towards thinking about integrated reporting and sustainable development.
This paper forms part of a special section Accounting’s contributions to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, guest edited by Jeffrey Unerman and Jan Bebbington.The authors would like to acknowledge (1) Research Assistant Xiangzhou Wang (2) Funding received from Massey Business School 2018 (MURF Funding RM 20625).
Barrett, M., Watene, K. and McNicholas, P. (2020), "Legal personality in Aotearoa New Zealand: an example of integrated thinking on sustainable development", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 33 No. 7, pp. 1705-1730. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-01-2019-3819Download as .RIS
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