Accolade for human rights accounting (Issue 16, 2011)

Ken McPhailProfessor Ken McPhail from the La Trobe University School of Accounting has been given the esteemed honour of delivering the annual CPA Australia Kate Stanton Annual Research Lecture for 2011.

The lecture – Accounting for Human Rights – will be delivered on Wednesday 24 August at the University of Tasmania and again on Thursday 25 August in Launceston to CPAs from around the country.

Following the release of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by the UN’s Special Representative on Business and Human Rights earlier this year, there has been an increased focus on both the positive and negative impact of business activity on human rights. 

This shift is reflected in current business practice with a recent survey of Fortune Global 500 companies indicating that nine out of ten respondents had human rights principles in place. 

Yet, to date, corporate accountability for human rights has received very little attention within the accounting profession.

Professor McPhail will discuss the relevance of this new focus on corporate accountability for human rights for the accounting profession. 



The lecture will cover:

  • An introduction to the emergence of corporate accountability for human rights including key institutional developments and reporting frameworks.
  • Corporate accountability for human rights within the Australian context, with particular reference to the mining industry, first nation rights and the development of a sovereign wealth fund.
  • An introduction to current human rights reporting practices by corporations.
  • Human rights issues in the outsourcing of public service provision and local council procurement.
  • An exploration of whether human rights needs to be incorporated into the professional accounting curricula.

The Kate Stanton Annual Research Lecture has been running as an annual event for academics, teachers, students, accountants and the business and government community in Tasmania since 1990. The CPA Australia in conjunction with the School of Accounting and Corporate Governance present the lecture in memory of Kate Stanton, a CPA who worked closely with the Tasmanian community helping young students and accountants to advance their careers.