Corporate Accountability in ASEAN

Ms. Ashley Pritchard 11 October 2013

Defining Corporate Accountability and CSR
Corporate Corporate Social Accountability: Responsibility:
Belief: Corporations have responsibilities beyond generating profit for their shareholders  Voluntary & Unregulated

Confrontational & Enforceable  Corporate behavior influenced by pressure exerted by social and governmental actors

Brunei Darussalam Cambodia Indonesia Laos Malaysia Myanmar Philippines Singapore Thailand Vietnam



Disparities in ASEAN Human Rights Instruments

“Some industries are not suitable to be located in Thailand. That is why they decided to set up there in Dawei.”
- Former Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Dawei Deep Seaport project

Human Rights Violations from Extractive Industries in ASEAN
Right to an Effective Remedy  Economic and Social Rights  Civil and Political Rights  Right to Security of the Person

Environmental harm causes further Human Rights violations
Access to natural resources are central to livelihoods of majority of rural population in ASEAN  Extractive Industries pollute water, cause deforestation, animal , fish and human depletion, leading to more serious human rights violations

Resource Curse in ASEAN?

Resource Curse: Paradox that countries and regions with an abundance of natural resources, tend to have less economic growth and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources

Gems Oil and Gas Timber
Hydro and Energy

Rubber and Palm Where Machines Made to Extract Everything Come From

Extracting in ASEAN

2012 Exports: Laos

2012 Exports: Indonesia

2012 Exports: Brunei Darussalam

2012 Exports: Myanmar

Timeline of Domestic Reform
May 2013: Myanmar receives worst ranking in world for Revenue Watch Institute (RWI) November 2012: Passed the Foreign Investment Law March 2013: Myanmar passes new foreign direct investment law.

July 2012: Announcement of plans to later adopt EITI

March 2012: Passed Labor Organization Law. Signed agreement with ILO on Eradication of Forced Labor


March 2012: Enacted Farmland Law and Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management Law.

International Developments
June 2013: ILO lifted all remaining restrictions on Myanmar May 2013: U.S. released Burma Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements and issued Joint Statement on Good Governance and Transparency in the Energy Sector April 2012: EU suspends most sanctions, keeping arms embargo April 2013: EU permanently lifts trade, economic and individual sanctions on Myanmar in response to political reforms


November 2012: U.S. allows import of any product of Myanmar – except jadeite + rubies


July 2012: U.S. eases sanctions – allowing U.S. companies to invest and provide financial services.

But is it REALLY Reform?

1. Who are these laws actually protecting? 2. Recent and ongoing Business and Human Rights Cases: • Shwe gas pipeline • Dawei Special Economic Zone • Myitsone Dam • Monywa Copper Mine 3. May 2013 Revenue Watch Initiative Report

Why CSR Is Not Enough
TVIRD, a Canadian mining company, states on its website that the company is “committed to exploration and mining practices that promote transparency, responsible stewardship of the environment, and the inalienable rights to life, dignity, and sustainable development in its host communities.” Siam Commercial Bank’s CSR Policy states that it will “abide by environmental laws and regulations, implement effective safety and environmental management measures to prevent negative impacts on local communities, and promote employees’ awareness of and concern for the environment.”

Corporate Accountability Success Stories
Advocacy against Nestlé's formula milk for infants established the WHO’s global infant formula marketing standards


In 2003, the WHO enacted a global tobacco treaty known as the FCTC

International Voluntary International International Organizational Mechanisms Organizational • Global Compact Mechanisms Mechanisms • OECD Guidelines
• United Nations • International Labour Organisation • Special Rapporteur

ILO International  UN Standards and Norms  Special Rapporteur

• ISO 26000 • Forest Stewardship Council • Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) • Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) International Organizational Civil Society Mechanisms:

• Ruggie Framework • Declarations

• Watchdog ILO, UN and SR • Reporting Mechanisms • Corporate Hall of Shame • Public Protests, News Articles, Gatherings and Peaceful Sit-ins

Myanmar, For Your Consideration…
1. 2.





Ratify Existing International Law and Treaties Acknowledge the state’s existing duty to protect and promote human rights and adopt a human-rights based approach within State jurisdiction Ensure a reporting and remedy system to seek justice for violations Ensure clear communication and advocacy of human rights law Ensure that BIT, FTA and other forms of investment policy are drafted to reinforce - not undermine – national laws and policies on Human Rights protection Move away from CSR towards CA by:
1. 2.

Establishing an extractive industries accountability mechanism Mandate FPIC on extractive or environmentally disruptive projects

For Business in Myanmar…
1. 2.



5. 6. 7.

Before entering Myanmar businesses should have in place well-articulated safeguards Respect human rights at all times, including when the State fails to uphold its human rights obligations, and act to reinforce good governance rather than undermine it Commit to Corporate Accountability through a publicly available policy Ensure access to independent grievance and redress mechanisms Respond to inquiries of CA and abuse Train and motivate staff on Human Rights Commit to consultative processes, participatory development planning and stakeholder engagement (Move beyond FPIC)

Best Business Practices





Understand the country and investment context Engage credibility and transparency Manage risks and impacts responsibly Support national development In instances where abuse is reported, properly investigate, offering redress mechanisms and work to improve


“Growing momentum to promote investment in Myanmar must be matched by commitments from states to fulfill their international legal obligations and from corporations to meet their responsibility to respect human rights.”
– John Ruggie and Mary Robinson


Ms. Ashley Pritchard Pritchard.Ashley.E@