US Govt’s Burma Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements - reports, comments, guidelines & company responses

The Burma Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements and civil society responses

Following a series of public consultations, the US Government’s Burma Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements took effect on May 23, 2013. Civil society groups welcomed the Requirements, while remaining concerned about the risks of investment in the country, gaps in the reporting framework, and the need to make the requirements stronger.

The full text of the Reporting Requirements is available here.

Latest development, July 2014

More company reports are now available in the US Embassy website. These include reports by Western Union, Capital Group Companies, Coca-Cola, Four Rivers and Clipper Holdings.

According to EIRIS Conflict Risk Network Director Kathy Mulvey, “Some of the reports submitted to date provide valuable information to investors seeking to identify corporate involvement in Burma/Myanmar; assess corporate policies, systems and reporting; and conduct enhanced due diligence regarding how companies respond to specific human rights challenges in the country. However, the omissions may be as revealing as the submissions. Several reports fail to provide critical information, and some companies may be taking an overly narrow view of the investments that are subject to reporting.” Further details on the work of EIRIS Conflict Risk Network related to the reporting requirements are available here

October 2013

In October 2013, EIRIS Conflict Risk Network (CRN) sent letters to US companies Coca-Cola, Ford and GE urging them to submit thorough and accurate reports under the Reporting Requirements; and to Capital Group, urging it to resubmit its report for being “grossly inadequate”. (See below.) EIRIS CRN emphasized that reports should include identified risks and impacts, and any preventative or mitigating steps taken; detailed disclosures on business partners, related entities and supply chains; and all aspects of “new investment” in Burma regardless of its/their form or makeup. Business & Human Rights Resource Center invited the companies to respond. Links to the letters and responses are provided below:

-       Capital Group: [PDF] letter & DOC] company response

-       Coca-Cola: [PDF] letter & [PDF] company response

-       Ford: [PDF] letter & [DOC] company response

-       GE: [PDF] letter & [DOC] company response and [DOC] press release

July 2013 

The first five reports were submitted pursuant to the Requirements. Those companies were: Capital Guardian Emerging Markets DC Master Fund, Emerging Markets Growth Fund, Inc., Crowley Marine Services, Inc., Hercules Offshore, Inc., Capital Guardian Emerging Markets Restricted Equity Fund for Tax-Exempt Trusts.

In response, civil society groups issued comments that include criticisms of the company reports and the requirements themselves: 
-       “First Myanmar Investment Disclosures Present Opportunities and Challenges”, EarthRights International, 10 Jul 2013
-       [PDF] “Re: Burma Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements”, Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment [letter to President Barack Obama], 5 Sep 2013

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Capital Bank & Trust, Capital Investment and Crowley Marine Services to respond to the EarthRights International and the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment statements. The Capital Bank & Trust and Capital Investment response is available here. Crowley Marine Services did not respond.

Frequently Asked Questions

On September 23, 2013, the US Department of State released Frequently Asked Questions intended to provide guidance to individuals or corporations seeking to invest in Myanmar.

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