September 18, 2014

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CSR Press Release

Investment Watch: Burma/Myanmar Service Examines Conflict Risks

U.S. Reporting requirements in effect for a year

Submitted by: EIRIS Conflict Risk Network

Categories: Socially Responsible Investing, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: May 19, 2014 – 08:26 AM EST

 

WASHINGTON, May 19 /CSRwire/ - 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 is launching Investment Watch: Burma/Myanmar, a new service designed to help investors make sound judgments about how companies are managing the risks related to doing business in the conflict-affected country.

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 analyzed 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 summarized in an Investment Watch: Burma/Myanmar Briefing Paper available online.

“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.”

The Reporting Requirements will remain in effect only as long as the U.S. Government’s national emergency with respect to Burma continues. Last week, EIRIS Conflict Risk Network sent a letter to President Barack Obama recommending renewal of the national emergency. On May 15, President Obama issued the Executive Order continuing the national emergency for one year.

“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. 

EIRIS Conflict Risk Network unites institutional investors, financial service providers and related stakeholders calling upon corporate actors to fulfill their responsibility to respect human rights and to take steps that support peace and stability in areas affected by genocide and mass atrocities. The Network’s goal is to increase such behavior by corporate actors and thereby reduce conflict risk.

EIRIS (www.EIRIS.org) is a leading global provider of independent research into the environmental, social and governance (ESG) and ethical performance of companies. With 30 years’ experience of conducting research and promoting responsible investment strategies, EIRIS now provides services to more than 200 asset owners and asset managers globally.

For more information, please contact:

Kathy Mulvey EIRIS Conflict Risk Network Director
Phone: 202-495-2971
Phone 2: 617-327-3087
Twitter: @ConflictRisk
Stephen Hine EIRIS Head of Responsible Investment Development
Phone: +44 (0)20 7840 5716

 

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