Nordic Investors Focus on Myanmar HR Violations

    Stockholm (NordSIP) –  77 Asset managers representing over €3 trillion euros in capital issued a joint statement calling on companies to mitigate risks of contributions to human rights violations in Myanmar. The initiative is led by Storebrand Asset Management, in collaboration with the Investor Alliance for Human RightsDomini and the Heartland Initiative.

    The signatory list includes the following 11 other Nordic financial institutions: AP7, AP Pension, East Capital Group, Folksam, Handelsbanken Asset Management, Nordea Asset Management, P+, PKA, SEB Investment Management, Storebrand Asset Management,  Swedbank Robur Fonder AB and Velliv.

    The purpose of the initiative is to raise awareness of the human rights situation in Myanmar and increase due diligence through collaboration. This initiative follows Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM)’s decision in May to exclude Honeys Holdings Co Ltd, a Japanese company due to concerns over worker rights in two factories it owns in Myanmar.

    Storebrand, one of the leading investor signatories of the statement noted that it has divested from companies in Myanmar due to human rights concerns during the decade prior to the recent military coup.

    “In the last months Storebrand has been conducting due diligence on companies with operations in Myanmar to try to establish which have links to the military junta and potential human rights violations. Now, through a global mobilisation 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,” says Kamil Zabielski, Head of Sustainable Investment at Storebrand Asset Management.

    “Sharing of resources and collaboration will make it easier for investors to engage companies and exercise more leverage. We see this initiative as an opportunity for the private sector to show leadership by assisting Myanmar’s transition to peace, justice, and democracy,” Zabielski adds.

    SEB IM, which owns shares in multinational companies which through collaborations, subsidiaries or partnerships have operations in Myanmar focused on the need for companies to identify their risks in the current situation, take action to protect their staff and as far as possible combat human rights violations. “The investor initiative is a way of clarifying expectations on the companies in which we invest,” explains Elisabet Jamal Bergström, Head of Sustainability, Governance and Staff, SEB Investment Management.

    “As investors we assume that the companies in which we invest follow international norms and conventions. Through the initiative we can draw attention to and influence the companies concerned which operate in the country,” says Patrik Jönsson, Senior Sustainability & Engagement Specialist, SEB Investment Management.

    Image from Wikimedia Commons

    Filipe Albuquerque
    Filipe Albuquerque
    Filipe is an economist with 8 years of experience in macroeconomic and financial analysis for the Economist Intelligence Unit, the UN World Institute for Development Economic Research, the Stockholm School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies. Filipe holds a MSc in European Political Economy from the LSE and a MSc in Economics from the University of London, where he currently is a PhD candidate.

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