BESTSELLER HAS SUSPENDED OPERATIONS IN MYANMAR AND URGES EU TO TAKE ACTION
Since 19 March, BESTSELLER has suspended its collaboration with suppliers in Myanmar and urges the European Union to develop clear guidelines for how companies should conduct themselves when economic sanctions are imposed.
(This press release was made public to Danish media 18 April 2021 - read the Danish version here)
“We cannot imagine anything worse than if our company, in any way possible, should contribute to the situation Myanmar now finds itself in. In fact, our work in the country to date has been about the exact opposite – contributing positively to the country’s development, both economically and politically.”
“The situation in Myanmar has taken a turn that we can never support. We haven’t ordered goods from the country since 19 March and we will not resume business there until the country is on the right track again,” states Anders Holch Povlsen, CEO and OWNER, BESTSELLER.
“We urge the European Union’s foreign ministers to draw up guidelines for how European companies should respond and – not least – how we, in the most ethical and responsible way, can withdraw from locations where sanctions require it.”
“Our biggest concern is the 48,000 factory workers that work at the 36 factories that we and other companies have business with. Their livelihoods rely upon a stable democracy that can secure jobs and development through trade.”
“We have been criticised for trading with three specific factories that were previously mentioned in a United Nations report. We have continued to do business with them because – after thorough investigation – none of the parties involved have concrete evidence or reason to believe that these factories have relations with or are friendly towards the military. At the first sign of genuine evidence, we would stop immediately – just as our own policies require. There is no doubt that the easiest thing in the world would be to stop all business – especially when we are only talking about three factories – but we feel that we have a responsibility to try and investigate the situation thoroughly and establish what is really going on, and subsequently try to improve or remedy the situation. That is what is expected of us as global corporate citizens and out of respect for the people involved, and that is what we believe is the right and responsible thing to do.”
“Naturally, we will fully respect the sanctions that are expected to be announced on Monday. We feel that we have a societal responsibility towards the many workers in Myanmar and hope that the country gets back on track as quickly as possible, and we stand ready to help the country and resume trade there as soon as it is possible.”
“By 10 May, we will present a report that describes the extent of our work in and contribution to Myanmar. There should be no doubt that we in BESTSELLER always seek out the most responsible path.”