The purpose of this paper is to explore the basis for, and ramifications of, applying relevant human rights norms – such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – to the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). In doing so, the paper seeks to contribute to scholarship on the political legitimisation of the IASB’s structure and activities under prevailing global governance conditions.
The paper explores three distinct argumentative logics regarding responsibilities for justice and human rights vis-à-vis the IASB. First, the authors explore the basis for applying human rights responsibilities to the IASB through reasoning based on the analysis of “public power” (Macdonald, 2008) and public authorisation. Second, the authors develop the reasoning with reference to recent attempts by legal scholars and practitioners to apply human rights obligations to other non-state and transnational institutions. Finally, the authors develop reasoning based on Thomas Pogge’s (1992b) ideas about institutional harms and corresponding responsibilities.
The three distinct argumentative logic rest on differing assumptions – the goal is not to reconcile or synthesise these approaches, but to propose that these approaches offer alternative and in some ways complementary insights, each of which contributes to answering questions about how human rights obligations of the IASB should be defined, and how such a responsibility could be “actually proceduralised”.
The analysis provides an important starting point for beginning to think about how responsibilities for human rights might be applied to the operation of the IASB.
The authors would like to thank participants at the 26th International Congress on Social and Environmental Accounting Research for their helpful comments on a very early draft of this paper.
McPhail, K., Macdonald, K. and Ferguson, J. (2016), "Should the international accounting standards board have responsibility for human rights?", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 594-616. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-03-2016-2442Download as .RIS
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