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13 Sep 2023

Myanmar: Oberalp Group remains in Myanmar; says due diligence is still possible

"Oberalp remains engaged in Myanmar", September 2023


Despite the difficult circumstances, we opted to continue our collaborations. Our decision is the result of careful consideration and based on 3 pillars: first, how our operations work; second, what organizations working in Myanmar are reporting and the projects they are currently carrying out to improve workers’ lives; and third our partnerships. 

The bottom line is, that the due diligence is more difficult than it used to be, but it is still possible. 


Our suppliers have informed us that it is possible to do business without interference from the military. Furthermore, based on our long history of working with them and careful assessment, we can say that they already have good social compliance systems in place. Through open and transparent conversation, they assure us that it is possible to continue producing in the country and that they will continue to respect and improve workers’ conditions in the company, provide all necessary information, and grant access to third party experts to carry out audits. [...]


Our sourcing staff are in permanent contact with the factory.  We also have two Myanmar Quality Controllers who are visiting the facilities almost daily and confirm that it is still possible to work in the country if efforts are stepped up to deal with the difficult conditions. 


Reports that address the situation for workers and economy of the country confirm that due diligence is more difficult than it used to be, but it is still possible. The data also clarify doubts about the financing of the armed forces as a result of operations in the country by international brands, showing that the garment sector is not a significant source of income for the military junta. It can therefore be excluded the indirect link between us, our partners, and the military.  

Furthermore, the factories we work with are not owned (either wholly or partially) by either of the two military-owned economic conglomerates; and the land where the two factories operate is located on industrial zones that do not belong to the military either. 


Local stakeholders and projects with years of experience on the ground, who have collaborated with factories and especially with workers, and conducted interviews with both, are urging us not to leave. “By engaging as a company in discussions with local labor rights groups on wages and labor conditions you can have leverage. By leaving the country, it is difficult to see how you can have an influence on local conditions” (Karina Ufert – CEO EuroCham Myanmar).