15 July 2021
We have gradually started to place new orders again with our suppliers in Myanmar. With our decision we want to avoid the imminent risk of our suppliers having to close their factories which would inevitably result in unemployment for tens of thousands of garment workers. Today, more than 50,000 people rely on jobs at our suppliers for their livelihood. Without buyers ordering products, there will be no garment industry in Myanmar.
We are of course deeply concerned about the situation in Myanmar and we continuously conduct thorough due diligence. Prior to our decision to gradually start placing new orders we were in close contact with a broad range of stakeholders, including UN agencies, human rights experts as well as trade unions. We have also been in dialogue with trade unions and other brands through the ACT platform. Although we are acutely aware any advice on this complex matter involves a delicate balancing-act of different considerations, we came to the conclusion that a preferred way forward does involve international companies staying and continuing doing business.
While we have resumed placing orders, we refrain from taking a decision on our long-term presence in the country and will continue to closely monitor developments.
We are aware of increased challenges in relation to fundamental human rights, such as freedom of association, and we have raised this concern with suppliers as well as trade unions, brands and human rights organisations. Through ACT we have developed and implemented specific processes to support protect workers as well as employers in Myanmar. In this difficult and complex situation, we cannot stress enough the importance that all stakeholders work closely together to tackle any issues. Partnership and transparency will be key.