Myanmar Business Coalition on Aid and MCRB sign partnership to create a countrywide network of ‘Myanmar Business Coalition on CSR’ (MBC-CSR) offices
Myanmar Business Coalition on Aid (MBCA) and the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB) today signed an MoU setting out their intention to work together to establish a network of business-led corporate social responsibility (CSR) offices in major cities in Myanmar.
The offices will build on MBCA’s existing network of 7 offices. The two organisations will jointly fund a pilot project that will see offices established in Yangon, Mandalay and Myitkyina in 2014. Further offices will join the network, subject to funding.
The purpose of these offices is to build awareness by local companies of responsible business practices and strengthen their capacity to adopt them. The Offices will also support networking at the local, national and international level between businesses who are committed to CSR. This will, inter alia, support and increase Myanmar business’ commitment to the 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact and support the emerging UN Global Compact Local Network in Myanmar.
Speaking in the margins of a meeting on the UN Global Compact held at the Union of Myanmar Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), which was addressed by Union Minister U Soe Thein and the visiting Vice-Chair of the Global Compact, Sir Mark Moody Stuart, MBCA Chairman Martin Pun said: ‘This partnership will help to build CSR understanding nationwide, and support a commitment which MBC and the UMFCCI made to President U Thein Sein. I believe that we can build on the model of local business-led coalitions on HIV/AIDs to generate momentum for responsible business practices across the nation’.
Vicky Bowman, Director of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business said ‘MCRB is delighted to support this partnership with funding, training and technical expertise. We are keen to see multistakeholder dialogues on responsible business issues spread well beyond Yangon. Building the capacity and understanding of local businesses is essential if we are to see constructive discussions between them, local civil society and local government in support of sustainable economic growth”.
The two organisations define Corporate Social Responsibility as “the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society”. This is in line with the definition adopted by the EU in its October 2011 policy on CSR. They take the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the UN Global Compact and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises as important reference points.
Myanmar Business Coalition on Aid (MBCA), founded in 2002 by Martin Pun as Myanmar Business Coalition on Aids, is a business-led organization acting to engage companies into social and environmental initiatives in Myanmar. Its 7 offices country-wide mobilize businesses to engage with health, social and environmental causes.
Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB) is a Yangon-based initiative funded by the UK, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands and Ireland, based on a collaboration between the UK-based Institute of Human Rights and Business, and the Danish Institute for Human Rights. The Centre was established to provide an effective and legitimate platform for the creation of knowledge, capacity and dialogue concerning responsible business in Myanmar, based on local needs and international standards, which results in more responsible business practices. It is a neutral platform working with businesses, civil society and government.
Pending availability of funding to run a nationwide network of CSR offices, the partnership will commence with pilot offices in Yangon (within Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) at the MBCA office), Mandalay (in MBCA office) and Myitkyina (hosted by a local MBCA business partner). The intention is to recruit and have the two field offices (Mandalay, Myitkyina) staffed and operational by March 1, 2014 with the Yangon office, which will be focused on network management and programming, operational immediately.