New EIRIS service enables investors to manage conflict-related investment risks in Burma/Myanmar
In conjunction with this week’s first anniversary of the U.S. Government’s Burma Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements taking effect, EIRIS Conflict Risk Network, part of global ESG ratings and research agency EIRIS, is launching Investment Watch: Burma/Myanmar. The new service is designed to help investors make sound judgements about how companies are managing the conflict risks related to doing business in Burma/Myanmar. This coincides with the recent announcement that the US Government’s national emergency with respect to Burma will continue.
The first service developed since Conflict Risk Network joined EIRIS in 2013, Investment Watch: Burma/Myanmar will enable subscribers to:
- identify companies in their portfolios that are investing or considering investing in Burma/Myanmar;
- assess the risks associated with investments in Burma/Myanmar by particular companies;
- interpret and leverage reports submitted under the Reporting Requirements; and
- develop or update institutional policies related to investment in Burma/Myanmar.
The Reporting Requirements mandate U.S. corporations making new investments of $500,000 or more in Burma to report on their operations, policies, procedures and impacts. EIRIS Conflict Risk Network has analysed and assessed the reports submitted in the first year of the Reporting Requirements, as well as information from companies whose activities are not covered by the requirements. Key conclusions from this analysis are summarised in an Investment Watch: Burma/Myanmar Briefing Paper.
“While the first year of implementation offers important lessons, there are significant limitations in the impact of the Reporting Requirements to date,” says EIRIS Conflict Risk Network Director Kathy Mulvey. “Some companies may be taking an overly narrow view of the investments that are subject to reporting.”
On 15 May 2014 President Barack Obama issued the Executive Order to continue the US Government’s national emergency with respect to Burma, meaning that the reporting requirements remain in effect. Last week, EIRIS Conflict Risk Network sent a letter to President Barack Obama recommending renewal.
“The need for information and analysis of corporate activity in Burma/Myanmar has only increased with the lifting of sanctions. Those seeking to invest responsibly in the country and those who continue to avoid investment in Burma/Myanmar need research to identify corporate involvement and to assess corporate policies, systems and reporting,” notes EIRIS Conflict Risk Network Advisory Board member Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President, Research and Policy for Calvert Investments.
“By identifying specific risks associated with operations in the country at this critical time, Investment Watch: Burma/Myanmar will be an indispensable resource, enabling institutions that seek to invest responsibly not only to make informed decisions but also to conduct enhanced due diligence regarding how companies respond to specific human rights challenges,” says Shin Furuya, VP, Responsible Investment Research, Domini Social Investments, also a member of EIRIS Conflict Risk Network’s Advisory Board.