Myanmar: Swedwatch reports inadequate human rights impact assessments in jade extraction operations; Volvo responds

Swedwatch's report, "Overlooked and Undermined: Communities affected by jade mining operations in Myanmar, and the responsibilities of companies providing machinery,"  concludes, among others, that companies providing machinery were not "able to demonstrate adequate efforts to identify, mitigate or prevent risks associated with the use of its equipment, specifically as regard to adverse impacts on human rights and the environment in the nations mining areas.”

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Volvo, Komatsu, and Caterpillar to respond. Volvo's response is linked below. Komatsu and Caterpillar did not respond.

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Company non-response
8 October 2018

Caterpillar did not respond

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Caterpillar to respond to the allegations raised in Swedwatch's report. Caterpillar did not respond.

Company non-response
8 October 2018

Komatsu did not respond

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Komatsu to respond to the allegations raised in Swedwatch's report. Komatsu did not respond.

Company response
8 October 2018

Volvo's response

Thank you for providing Volvo Group with the opportunity to respond to a report by Swedwatch related to the use of Volvo machinery in Myanmar’s jade mines.

As acknowledged in the report, Volvo Construction Equipment (“Volvo CE”) engaged constructively with Swedwatch during the preparation of this report. It is important for us to clarify that Volvo CE does not have any own operations or employees in Myanmar...Volvo CE requires its private dealer in Myanmar to comply with all applicable laws, regulations and sanctions. The private dealer also has its own Code of Conduct, including a statement on respect for human rights.

...Volvo CE is currently considering Swedwatch’s findings and recommendations in the report within its Responsible Sales process.

 

Download the full document here

Article
20 June 2018

Myanmar: Swedwatch report urges mining machinery providers to conduct human rights due diligence to prevent & mitigate adverse impacts

Author: Swedwatch

"Machinery providers fail to recognize human rights risks in Myanmar's jade mines," 20 June 2018

Irresponsible jade extraction has led to extensive human suffering and environmental degradation in Myanmar’s conflict-affected Kachin state. The use of heavy mining equipment, manufactured by companies such as Caterpillar, Komatsu and Volvo Construction Equipment, has enabled extraction to take place at an unprecedented speed. A Swedwatch report finds that the companies rely on insufficient human rights safeguards regarding risks associated with the use of their equipment.

Though it is clear that none of the companies reviewed in the report can or should be held accountable for the complex situation in Kachin, Swedwatch’s report indicates that the three companies fail in their compliance with the UNGPs...None of the companies are able to demonstrate adequate efforts to identify, mitigate or prevent risks associated with the use of its equipment, specifically as regard to adverse impacts on human rights and the environment in the nation’s mining areas...[T]wo companies state that they lack possibilities to control the end use of sold products throughout their lifecycle. However, the companies’ responses indicate that none of them have tried to identify where or how its products are used in Myanmar...

...Swedwatch urges the companies to conduct ongoing human rights due diligence in Myanmar and other high-risk markets in order to identify how the use of their products affects people and the environment. The process should be conducted with a gender perspective and should follow the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct or an equally recognized guidance...

Read the full post here