Maersk enables businesses in Myanmar to global trade
The A.P. Moller-Maersk Group contributes to continuous growth and development in
Myanmar. Using a framework consisting of UN Guiding Principles of Human Rights and
Business, the due diligence process not only aims at minimizing risks but also to
build business and enable trade.
Following speedy reforms, Myanmar was opened for business in 2012 with companies
from the US, Europe and beyond. Maersk also eyed the opportunity to do business in
Myanmar. They received their permanent license to operate container business activities
in the country by February 2014. Maersk is aware of the risks in a market, which was
influenced by the intense focus of NGOs and the media.
The presence of Maersk in Myanmar goes back to 1992. Up until recently Maersk has
kept a low profile because of the years under harsh military junta. Until 2011 the
risks of violating human rights were considered too high in the context of the very
sensitive political environment. Due to the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights
and Business (hereafter: UN Guiding Principles), which were launched in 2011, this
has changed and they decided to make a change."We started to ask ourselves, whether
it is possible to turn our approach to risk management up-side down? Instead of a
doing-no-harm approach, we decided to investigate how to implement UN Guiding Principles
and to use them as a framework for a doing-good approach", says Jens Munch Lund-Nielsen,
Head of Emerging Market Projects, Group Sustainability, who has been part of the process
from the very beginning.
The UN Guiding Principles as a practical tool
Maersk was among the first in the world to implement the UN Guiding Principles
and had to co-create answers and solutions in partnerships with leading Human Rights
organisations, networks and governmental bodies.
We try not to talk about human rights since it is rather abstract. We take the
UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights to an operational level and in our business
context it has mainly to do with health and safety-issues, aspects of labour rights
and corruption continues Jens Munch Lund-Nielsen, Head of Emerging Market Projects,
Maersk formed an internal risk guide helping own companies globally to handle with
risks related to their industry by screening business partners and by checking that
own employees live up to internal policies.
Further to dialogues between Maersk, The Danish Institute for Human Rights and
the Institute for Human Rights and Business was the foundation of a resource centre
on responsible business in Myanmar. The purpose is to guide companies, NGOs and governments
on responsible business conduct in Myanmar. In July 2013 "The Myanmar Centre for Responsible
Business" was a reality and ready to begin its work from their office in the outskirts
Building a future in Myanmar: Enabling trade and sharing knowledge
Maersk provides knowledge, expertise and technical support to business partners
making Myanmar better equipped to enter the global market economy in the future. In
Maersk’s business safety is at the core and in Myanmar, Maersk is working closely
together with local business partners to increase knowledge and awareness in order
to promote a safe working place. At terminals and depots the operational staff was
among the first to wear safety equipment.
While a milestone has been reached there is a lot of work to do in the process.
Myanmar Country Manager from Maersk Line and MCC Transport, My Therese Blank, is convinced
-that the most important way in how we are creating value for Myanmar is our contribution
to enabling trade and to improve the competitiveness of the country in comparison
with the other SEA countries.
Read more about A.P. Moller - Maersk CaseThe A.P Moller Maersk Group's Sustainability Report 2012 - Going for GrowthThe A.P Moller Maersk Group's Sustainability Report 2013Maerskpress.comThe Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business