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ESG Viewpoint: Managing conflict risk: Our engagement with companies in Myanmar

In the wake of February 2021’s military coup, we explore how companies operating in Myanmar are dealing with financial, legal and social risks.
December 2021
Lorraine Hau

Lorraine Hau

Associate, Responsible Investment

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While widely out of the news right now, since the Myanmar military held a coup against the country’s democratically elected government in February 2021, coupled with the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country is facing a humanitarian crisis. The suppression of pro-democracy protestors and the persecution of the Rohingya minority resulted in sanctions, asset freezing and protests in efforts to stop financing the military or any linked operations. These implications have already undermined the substantial economic development that Myanmar has built, with the World Bank forecasting a 18% contraction in the economy this year. Companies operating in Myanmar, particularly those with links to the military, are increasingly exposed to financially material business, legal and social risks. As responsible investors, we are actively responding because of our fiduciary duty to protect the value of clients’ assets and to address the clear violations of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

What are we doing?

We have engaged 9 companies across the energy, consumer staples and discretionary, communication services, real estate and industrials sectors on their role in Myanmar. Companies in the consumer-facing sectors have not been responsive to outreach, whereas the energy sector has generally been more responsive.

At a glance

  • Efforts to stop the financing of the Myanmar military or any linked operations have undermined substantial economic development.
  • Companies operating in Myanmar, particularly those with links to the military, are increasingly exposed to financially material business, legal and social risks.
  • We have engaged 9 companies across the energy, consumer staples and discretionary, communication services, real estate and industrials sectors on their role in Myanmar.
  • We will continue to engage companies to understand the evolving impact of their operations and stakeholders on the conflict and vice versa, focusing how companies can avoid complicity in human rights abuses and abide by international standards.

Interested in learning more? Discover how we are working to ensure companies are avoiding complicity in human rights abuses with our latest ESG Viewpoint. Download the full viewpoint to discover more.

Use our handy glossary to look up any technical terms you are unfamiliar with.

Risk warnings

Views and opinions have been arrived at by BMO Global Asset Management and should not be considered to be a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any companies that may be mentioned.

The information, opinions, estimates or forecasts contained in this document were obtained from sources reasonably believed to be reliable and are subject to change at any time.

Use our handy glossary to look up any technical terms you are unfamiliar with.

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ESG Viewpoint: Managing conflict risk: Our engagement with companies in Myanmar

In the wake of February 2021’s military coup, we explore how companies operating in Myanmar are dealing with financial, legal and social risks.