The purpose of this paper is to explore how and why international advocacy NGOs (iaNGOs) use counter accounting as part of their campaigns against oil companies operating…
The purpose of this paper is to explore how and why international advocacy NGOs (iaNGOs) use counter accounting as part of their campaigns against oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to reform problematic regulatory systems and make visible corporate practices that exploit governance and accountability gaps in relation to human rights violations and environmental damage.
This arena study draws on different sources of evidence, including interviews with nine iaNGOs representatives involved in campaigns in the Niger Delta. The authors mapped out the history of the conflict in order to locate and make sense of the interviewees’ views on counter accounting, campaigning strategies, accountability and governance gaps as well as their motivations and aspirations for change.
The evidence revealed an inability of vulnerable communities to engage in relevant governance systems, due to unequal power relationships, corporate actions and ineffective governance practices. NGOs used counter accounts as part of their campaigns to change corporate practices, reform governance systems and address power imbalances. Counter accounts made visible problematic actions to those with power over those causing harm, gave voice to indigenous communities and pressured the Nigerian Government to reform their governance processes.
Understanding the intentions, desired outcomes and limitations of NGO’s use of counter accounting could influence human rights accountability and governance reforms in political institutions, public sector organisations, NGOs and corporations, especially in developing countries.
This paper seeks to contribute to accounting research that seeks to protect the wealth and natural endowments of indigenous communities to enhance their life experience.
By interviewing the preparers of counter accounts the authors uncover their reasons as to why they find accounting useful in their campaigns.