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October 5, 2022

Danish complaints authority recognises Bestseller’s due diligence in Myanmar

Danish apparel company Bestseller is pleased with the positive verdict from complaints authority NCP Denmark following a complaint and says it has recognised its efforts to carry out responsible production in Myanmar.

By Laura Husband

NCP Denmark has spent the last year reviewing Bestseller’s procedures and work to ensure responsible production conditions in Myanmar based on a complaint that has now been rejected.

NCP Denmark’s decision reads: “Based on the feasibility study, NCP Denmark assesses that the company has carried out thorough, systematic and ongoing risk-based human rights due diligence. NCP Denmark therefore finds no reason to investigate the circumstances of the complaint further. On this basis, NCP Denmark has decided to reject the complaint.”

Bestseller has welcomed the news and its director for global sourcing, Michael W. Schultze says: “We are of course happy with the decision, which – like the impartial review from 2021 and our ongoing dialogue with experts – confirms that we take our responsibility seriously, work thoroughly and systematically with our due diligence and that we are generally aware of the responsibilities and commitments, we have when working in countries.”

Schultze refers to the independent report and evaluation Bestseller conducted last year on its due diligence to ensure responsible production in Myanmar.

Bestseller explains the report was conducted by one of Europe’s leading authorities on human rights and showed it had complied with all sanctions, and that three of its suppliers had not cooperated with the military in Myanmar, which was a claim at the time.

Sourcing apparel in Myanmar has proven to be challenging since a military coup took place in February 2021.

Bestseller points out it has condemned the coup and, in its work to ensure responsible production, has also been conscious of avoiding direct or indirect support for the military. Among other things, Bestseller says it is this systematic work the NCP has assessed and taken a position on in its decision.

Last month (13 September), the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) encouraged garment brands and retailers sourcing from Myanmar to reassess their presence in the country after a report found human rights violations are taking place.

At the end of August, the International Labour Organisation issued a report saying the military takeover in Myanmar has taken a severe toll on trade unions and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) providing services to workers and migrants.

The report titled: ‘Riding out the storm: Organizational resilience of trade unions and civil society organizations following the military takeover in Myanmar’  highlights how the targeted persecution of trade unions and CSOs, including arbitrary arrests, detentions, acts of violence, raids on homes and offices, seizure of equipment, threatening phone calls, interrogations and surveillance, have substantially limited their ability to operate.

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