More factories have graduated from Smart Myanmar Social Compliance Academy

MTH_1984SMART Myanmar has trained additional six additional factories after the successful pilot programme of the social compliance academy which started one year ago, in September 2014.

The academy is an innovative approach for social responsibility via an individualized learning environment through lectures, case studies, multimedia sequences and exercises to help develop targeted solutions for the challenges participants face. The academy also advices factories by in-factory consultancies including compliance assessments, joint development of a corrective action plan for each factory and 2 follow up visits in each factory. By this, the academy aims to improve the factories’ management systems and procedures to maintain good working conditions in the long term rather than choosing just a “quick fix” approaches to be competitive in the European market where emphasis is on social responsibility.

The SMART Myanmar social compliance academy meets the demand of emerging industries such as Myanmar’s garment industry. The industry grows rapidly and the local businesses in the industry have to catch up with market by emphasising on the business relevance of good working conditions and strengthening the middle management skills.

With the support of international partners and local experts, SMART Myanmar has also been educating the businesses with the requirements of the international buyers to enable them to survive in global markets. In addition SMART Myanmar has introduced the local factories to responsible EU buyers in order to keep the momentum of achieving a healthy industry that creates many job opportunities.

The European Union Ambassador H.E. Mr Roland Kobia attended the closing conference of the SMART Myanmar Social Compliance Academy held at Shweyi Zabe Garment Manufacturing Co.Ltd in Shwe Pyi Thar. The venue of the conference has provided an opportunity to see a local garment factory and to observe the achievements resulting from the Compliance Academy presented by three Myanmar factories that participated in the academy together with the other invited factories.

“Garment has quickly become Myanmar’s main export after oil and gas. The value of exports of the sector has more than doubled in less than 2 years and is projected to grow exponentially, also thanks to the trade preferences granted by the EU – one of Myanmar’s main customers. This is a huge opportunity for the economy and for the development of the country if we all take responsibility for the fact that the benefits are shared among all people, including the most vulnerable. Through the SMART Myanmar project we share international experience and we support local companies meeting the consumer requirements for products that are good for the environment and for the people. This is key for the success of the “Made in Myanmar” label, in the world and at home.” said EU Ambassador Roland Kobia.

The second SMART Myanmar Compliance Academy was well received by all participants. Daw Aye Aye Han from Shweyi Zabe Garment Manufacturing Co.Ltd stated that “We have learnt the requirements to enter the European Market with the help of SMART Myanmar project”.

Following their participation in the Academy, the focus group factories reported noticeable achievements on various areas. All of them made improvements on their internal policy establishment especially for HR and Health & Safety management.

The internal capacity of the SMART project team has similarly been strengthened by their participation in activities and site-visits of the Academy. This paves the way for the long-term development of local capacity in this specialised field of services around sustainability. This is important because the local industry will benefit from experts’ knowledge in areas which it currently lacks. SMART Myanmar will continue to train master trainers on social and environmental compliance to service the whole garment sector.

In order to make the business community aware of the importance of compliance issues and to inform them about the criteria, SMART Myanmar will conduct a “SMART Award 2015” – to recognise progress in Social Compliance at the 2nd Annual MGMA Factory Awards Dinner on 24 October 2015.

The “SMART Award 2015” focuses on three key areas: Working Conditions, Special Benefits and Workers’ Participation and Communication.