Declaration urges companies with business in Myanmar to take action

The Norwegian asset manager Storebrand and three other organizations have released a joint declaration pleading companies with business in Myanmar to take action, given the risk of human rights violations under the military dictatorship, IPE writes in a recent article.

The joint declaration urged firms to plan their activities in Myanmar and use their leverage to support human rights and was signed by several Nordic and European pension investors including the Swedish pension fund AP7, Swedish Folksam, KLP in Norway, P+ AP Pension, and PKA from Denmark, the Dutch architects’ pension fund Velliv, the group staff pension fund of Italy’s Unicredit and Dutch pension funds PGB and VLEP.

According to the declaration, the UN warned in 2018 and 2019 about risks to firms operating in Myanmar and especially those firms with ties to the military’s two largest conglomerates, MEHL and MEC. By contributing to violations of human rights, firms are exposing themselves and their investors to material legal, financial, and reputational risks, the declaration said.

According to Kamil Zabielski, head of sustainable investment at Storebrand Asset Management, the Norwegian asset manager has conducted due diligence on companies with operations in Myanmar over the last few months in an attempt to document which companies have links to the Myanmar military junta and with that potential human rights violations.

“Now, through a global mobilization of investors and capital, we are calling on all companies with links to Myanmar to take immediate action to identify and mitigate any risk of contributing to human rights harms,” he said. The initiative with the declaration is to raise awareness of the human rights situation and augment due diligence through collaboration, Kamil Zabielski said.

“Sharing of resources and collaboration will make it easier for investors to engage companies and exercise more leverage,” Kamil Zabielski added.

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