Initial situation / Problem
In many countries in South and Southeast Asia, the textile and clothing sector makes a significant contribution to economic development. This is also the case in Myanmar: with over 500 factories, according to the Myanmar Garment Manufactures Association (MGMA), employing more than 500,000 people, it is an important industry.
While the apparel sector in Myanmar is growing rapidly, employees are still benefiting little from this development. However, socially and environmentally responsible development of the sector will inevitably have a positive impact on workers in the apparel industry.
SMART Myanmar actively promotes and supports the sustainable production of clothing "Made in Myanmar" with the aim of increasing the international competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in this sector. The aim is to develop and institutionalise successful practices in Myanmar that were developed and implemented in the first phase of SMART from 2013 to 2015.
Further project objectives are the promotion of women in industry and the bringing together of local banks, SMEs and the Myanmar central bank for the introduction of "Green Finance" products. In addition, SMEs are to be made aware of compliance with international standards and consumers are to be made aware of sustainable consumption.
Main areas of activity:
The concrete activities of SMART Myanmar include:
- Capacity building of MGMA to provide business services to garment factories and increase their representation of interests.
- Implementation of factory improvement programmes to increase sustainable production in Myanmar for over 200 clothing factories
- Development of two smartphone apps (Shwe Job and Satyone Superstar) on the topics of labour law, occupational safety and health protection. (here link to success story Sunday Cafes)
- Promotion of a community centre for women (Sunday Café II), which provides education, exchange and support for women workers in the garment industry. (here link to success story Sunday Cafes)
- Improving access to green finance for small and medium-sized enterprises, conducting advocacy campaigns with the central bank
- Branding and communication initiative "Made in Myanmar" for consumers in Europe and Myanmar
- Trade fair visits in Europe and matchmaking (B2B) in Europe and Myanmar
- Increase cooperation between stakeholders to ensure compliance with international social and environmental standards.
The expected impacts of the project extend far beyond the borders of Myanmar. Thus, it is expected that clothing exports from Myanmar to the EU increase by 300% by 2019 compared to 2015. The demand for sustainably produced clothing should increase in Myanmar and in the EU. In addition, waste production and energy consumption in 100 clothing factories should be reduced by 20% and water consumption by 15%.
At least 150 garment companies are to improve working conditions and train 15 local Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) service providers. Further training will be provided in green finance, public procurement and loan applications. New business opportunities, such as joint ventures between Myanmar factories and European brands, as well as increased stakeholder dialogue, are expected to consolidate the establishment of a sustainable apparel industry in Myanmar.
By mid-2018, more than 9,000 managers and workers from over 270 factories had already participated in SMART's factory programs, workshops and conferences.
Target groups and beneficiaries:
- Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA)
- Myanmar Banks Association (MBA)
- Myanmar Ministry of Commerce (MoC)
- SMEs and workers in the garment industry
- Banks and the Central Bank
- Multinational retail chains and consumers in Myanmar and Europe
- Public sector clients in Myanma
“The best thing I learn from SMART Myanmar project is to increase my awareness to think more from workers' perspective, how to make the communication easier for them. I start to reflect our orientation training to make it more effective, we are planning to provide refresh training with more catchy, simple posters and explanations, it's great to have the worker survey to know more about their concern and needs, it's very beneficial for us.”.
Quote by Compliance Manager of Myanmar Ha Hae, a factory who participated in the
SMART Social Compliance Academy™