September 23, 2017

Media, CSOs can help keep companies honest: business watchdog

 Ms Vicky Bowman, director of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, shows media the Pwint Thit Sa Project’s second report on  transparency of Myanmar enterprises at Orchid Hotel in Yangon on Monday.— Photo: Ye Myint
Ms Vicky Bowman, director of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, shows media the Pwint Thit Sa Project’s second report on transparency of Myanmar enterprises at Orchid Hotel in Yangon on Monday.— Photo: Ye Myint

Yangon, 20 July — Local media and civil society organizations need to help identify companies that are failing to deliver on their promises to the public, the head of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business said Monday.
More thorough coverage would enable the public to “compare what (company) websites say with media reporting and voices of CSOs,” MCRB Director Ms Vicky Bowman said at the launch of the Pwint Thit Sa project’s Transparency In Myanmar Enterprises second report 2015 in Yangon.
“I would like to call on local media and CSOs to do check whether the promises have been delivered well or broken, and inform the MCRB of the findings,” the director told the The Global New Light of Myanmar.
According to the centre’s second report, Serge Pun and Associates (SPA) was listed as the most open Myanmar company while second and third place belonged to Max Myanmar and KBZ companies.
The report said SPA jumped to first place from ninth last year, Max Myanmar moved to second from third, but KBZ, which was previously ranked first, fell to third place.
The leading transparent companies made actual financial data including taxes and environmental and social impact assessments available to the public, it said.
The MCRB said its study compared public information on 100 major companies and scored them on corporate governance and business practices concerning anti-corruption, organizational transparency and human rights, health, safety and the environment.
It bases scores on information published by the companies, and is not an assessment of their actual performance, added the MCRB.
“Thirty-nine of 100 companies surveyed have no website and around 40 more who have group to subsidiary websites publish little or no corporate governance and sustainability information,” said Ms Bowman, formerly the British Ambassador to Myanmar.
Smart, Parami, and Myanmar Petroleum Resources Limited (MPRL) in the country’s oil and gas service sector are showing themselves to be transparency leaders among their Myanmar peers, she said.
The MCRB also made a recommendation to the government for non-financial information to be published by larger Myanmar companies and an annual sustainability report by investing companies granted permits by the Myanmar Investment Commission, she added.
The MCRB, a Yangon-based initiative funded by a number of European countries, aims to improve knowledge, capacity and dialogue concerning responsible business in Myanmar. Its first report on transparency came out in 2014, and it expects to repeat its survey in 2016. GNLM

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