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U.S. Companies Report on Burma/Myanmar Investments

By EIRIS Conflict Risk Network  •  July 2, 2014

Reporting Requirements Spur Disclosures, But Questions Remain

(Washington, D.C.)—Today, the second set of annual reports pursuant to the U.S. Government’s Burma Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements was published. The reports include disclosures related to human rights, workers’ rights, the environment, anti-corruption, land acquisition, revenue transparency and military communications.

“We welcome the newly submitted reports, and look forward to engaging with these companies and others on how they are managing the risks associated with doing business in Burma/Myanmar,” said EIRIS Conflict Risk Network Director Kathy Mulvey. Institutional investors under the umbrella of EIRIS Conflict Risk Network played a pivotal role in the development of the Reporting Requirements.

The Reporting Requirements took effect in May 2013, mandating U.S. corporations making new investments of $500,000 or more in Burma to report on their operations, policies, procedures and impacts. Reports are due 180 days after the $500,000 threshold is reached, and thereafter annually on July 1.

Three reports were published today, two by companies that had previously reported (The Coca-Cola Company and The Capital Group Companies) and one by Four Rivers, a holding company focused on real estate development in Burma/Myanmar. There have now been twelve submissions in total. EIRIS Conflict Risk Network is carrying out a detailed assessment of these reports through its Investment Watch: Burma/Myanmar service, launched in May 2014 to help investors make sound judgments about how companies are managing the risks related to doing business in the conflict-affected country.

“Some of the reports submitted to date provide valuable information to investors seeking to identify corporate involvement in Burma/Myanmar; assess corporate policies, systems and reporting; and conduct enhanced due diligence regarding how companies respond to specific human rights challenges in the country,” noted Mulvey. “However, the omissions may be as revealing as the submissions. Several reports fail to provide critical information, and some companies may be taking an overly narrow view of the investments that are subject to reporting.”

EIRIS Conflict Risk Network analyzed and assessed the reports submitted in the first year of the Reporting Requirements, as well as information from companies whose activities are not covered by the requirements. Key conclusions from this analysis are summarized in anInvestment Watch: Burma/Myanmar Briefing Paper available online.

The Reporting Requirements will remain in effect only as long as the U.S. Government’s national emergency with respect to Burma continues. On May 15, President Obama issued anExecutive Order continuing the national emergency for one year.

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EIRIS Conflict Risk Network unites institutional investors, financial service providers and related stakeholders calling upon corporate actors to fulfill their responsibility to respect human rights and to take steps that support peace and stability in areas affected by genocide and mass atrocities. The Network’s goal is to increase such behavior by corporate actors and thereby reduce conflict risk. In May 2014, EIRIS Conflict Risk Network launched Investment Watch: Burma/Myanmar, a new service designed to help investors make sound judgments about how companies are managing the risks related to doing business in the conflict-affected country. For more information on Investment Watch: Burma/Myanmar, please contact Kathy Mulvey atKathy.Mulvey@eiris.org.

EIRIS (www.EIRIS.org) is a leading global provider of independent research into the environmental, social and governance (ESG) and ethical performance of companies. With 30 years’ experience of conducting research and promoting responsible investment strategies, EIRIS now provides services to more than 200 asset owners and asset managers globally.

Media Contact:
Kathy Mulvey: Kathy.Mulvey@eiris.org

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