UK-based EIRIS Conflict Risk Network has launched a new service designed to help investors make judgments about how companies are managing the risks related to doing business in conflict-ridden Myanmar.
The enterprise, which provides research into corporate environmental, social and governance performance, launched “Investment Watch: Burma/Myanmar” in conjunction with the first anniversary of the US government’s Burma Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements that took effect recently.
The service will identify companies in their portfolios that are investing or considering investing in Myanmar and assess the risks associated with investments in the Southeast Asian country by particular companies, EIRIS said.
The organisation said the service will interpret and leverage reports submitted under the “Reporting Requirements” and develop institutional policies related to investment in Myanmar.
The Reporting Requirements mandate US corporations making new investments of $500,000 or more in Myanmar to report on their operations, policies, procedures and impacts.
“While the first year of implementation offers important lessons, there are significant limitations in the impact of the Reporting Requirements to date,” said EIRIS Conflict Risk Network Director Kathy Mulvey.
“Some companies may be taking an overly narrow view of the investments that are subject to reporting.”
The Reporting Requirements will remain in effect only as long as the US Government’s national emergency with respect to Myanmar continues. On May 15, President Obama issued an Executive Order continuing the national emergency for one year.
“The need for information and analysis of corporate activity in Myanmar has only increased with the lifting of sanctions. Those seeking to invest responsibly in the country and those who continue to avoid investment in Myanmar need research to identify corporate involvement and to assess corporate policies, systems and reporting,” EIRIS Conflict Risk Network Advisory Board member Bennett Freeman said.
“By identifying specific risks associated with operations in the country at this critical time, Investment Watch: Burma/Myanmar will be an indispensable resource, enabling institutions that seek to invest responsibly not only to make informed decisions but also to conduct enhanced due diligence regarding how companies respond to specific human rights challenges,” said Shin Furuya, VP, Responsible Investment Research, Domini Social Investments, also a member of EIRIS Conflict Risk Network’s Advisory Board.