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M&S to make "responsible exit" from sourcing in Myanmar

Tom Shearsmith
11 October 2022

Marks and Spencer (M&S) has announced that it will be making a "responsible exit" from sourcing in Myanmar.

Over the next six months, Marks and Spencer will continue to work closely with relevant stakeholders including the Ethical Trading Initiative throughout the consultation process, to ensure that its suppliers adhere to national laws and human rights are upheld.

Last month, the Ethical Trading Initiative urged retailers sourcing from Myanmar to reassess their presence in the country after publishing a report which said that its internationally recognised code of labour practice had not been met. This means that it is not possible for businesses to apply normal human rights due diligence in Myanmar and that there is evidence of gross human rights abuses in the garment manufacturing sector.

The ETI said in its report: "Should companies choose to exit Myanmar they must do so responsibly, and in consultation with social partners. The impact of exiting Myanmar on workers and their families, needs to be a clear focus in this consultation."

In a statement, the retail giant said: "At Marks & Spencer, ethical trading is core to the way we do business. We have continued to monitor the market closely in Myanmar, through our partnership with the Ethical Trading Initiative, as well as on-the-ground audit process.

"The findings from the Myanmar Enhanced Due Diligence Sectoral Assessment demonstrate that it is impossible for our Global Sourcing Principles to be upheld. We do not tolerate any human rights abuses within any part of our supply chain and are now working towards a responsible exit from Myanmar, in line with our Responsible Exit Policy, which will see a full exit by March 2023."

"We are also looking at what additional measures we can put in place to mitigate the effects of the decision on the individual workers in Myanmar."

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