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Fashion brands investigating situation in Myanmar following UN report exposing military business ties

Author: Shaun Turton, Nikkei Asian Review, Published on: 26 August 2019

Supplier lists disclosed by clothing companies and reviewed by the Nikkei Asian Review revealed several well-known brands sourcing from factories inside two industrial zones that, according to the U.N, are owned by military conglomerate Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd...

"Esprit will be taking immediate action by stopping all future orders made to the Perfect Gains factory in Myanmar," the company wrote in an email, saying it was previously unaware of the military link. "Esprit will continue to closely monitor this concerning situation."

H&M said it would investigate the report's findings. In an email, they also said the company had held recurrent meetings with the Myanmar government during the past two years to stress the "importance and urgency" of following U.N. and European Union recommendations.

"H&M Group takes seriously the matters raised and we are at this moment going through every section of the report to be able to draw any conclusions and determine what actions are necessary and appropriate," the email stated.

"We are fully committed to using our influence beyond our formal and legal responsibilities to make sure we respect and promote human rights throughout our business."

BestSeller also said it would look into the report to "assess if we need to take any specific actions due to the findings." C&A and Next did not return requests for comments...

"Ethical trading is fundamental to how we make our clothes and all our suppliers must adhere to our Global Sourcing Principles," a [Marks & Spencers] spokesperson said in an email response.

"We regularly audit all of the factories we work with across the world, including those in Myanmar. We continue to monitor the market closely both through our conversations with the ETI and our on-the-ground auditing." ...

Neither MEHL nor Wise-Pacific responded to requests for comments...

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Related companies: Bestseller C&A Esprit H&M Marks & Spencer Next