Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) strongly supports the framework strategy created by the IndustriALL Global Union and urges any fashion companies operating in Myanmar, intending to cut ties, to follow suit.
Following the military takeover in February 2021, Myanmar’s garment industry is still struggling to continue effective operations since the takeover. It has continued to harm the country’s economy, especially those sectors heavily dependent on international trade, such as the garment industry.
Given how volatile the situation in Myanmar is, ETI advises any brands that source there to get familiar with these guidelines.
The framework defines a business exit agreed with employees’ representatives that guarantees the protection of workers’ rights, sufficient severance payment to those impacted, and assures that cases of workers’ rights violations that are still open would be remediated.
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The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) were examined in an independent assessment commissioned by ETI. It raised extremely serious concerns and the assessment aimed to answer three key questions:
- To what extent can companies in the sector monitor, prevent, mitigate, and provide access to remedy (where appropriate) on severe human rights impacts that the sector may be involved with in Myanmar in the current and developing context?
- What are the requirements of the UNGPS and OECD guidelines for companies when considering whether to continue sourcing or withdraw from Myanmar in the current context?
- And what would constitute responsible exit?
ETI believes the final question is now answered by the Framework Principles agreed by IndustriALL Global Union with input from garment brands.
ETI states: “All brands that continue to source from Myanmar should do so in line with the UNGPs, which requires transparency on their reasons continued business in the country and on extra measures taken to identify and mitigate human rights risks, and ensure remediation when violations occur.”