SMART Myanmar was honored to be requested by Chief Minister of the Yangon Region, U Phyo Min Thein, to facilitate visits to the factories whom the project has worked with. Through SMART Myanmar, the EU supports Myanmar’s garment industry to increase its competitiveness, environmental protection standards and social responsibility – in order to make the sure the label “Made in Myanmar” stands for sustainable production and fair working conditions.
Out of 23 factories that have completed the intense factory improvement program, the SMART Social Compliance Academy™, SMART decided to organize tours of one locally factory and one JV factory, to demonstrate the variety of production, the opportunities and the challenges which the industry faces.
Myanmar Synergy was the first factory of the two that were visited by the Chief Minister on 11th January 2017. This factory is a joint investment from Korea and Myanmar, with exports to Europe, Japan and Korea. Myanmar Synergy has worked with SMART Myanmar and several of the project’s programs since 2014 and achieved a milestone by expanding its exports to the European market in 2015/16. The second visited factory was Shweyi Zabe garments from Shwe Pyi Thar, a fully locally owned factory, which also started working with European brands after participating in SMART’s social compliance program. Both the local factory and the JV factory presented and explained the challenges they face as manufacturers, difficulties in improving the industrial zones and governance procedures in the industrial zones in general.
The SMART team also shared their insights regarding the limitations of industrial municipal waste disposal services in areas such as waste collection and categorization of the waste effectively (eg: how/where to dispose of solid waste and hazardous wastes in a safe manner).
The EU Ambassador and Yangon Chief Minister both offered remarks agreeing to continue to promote the continued responsible and sustainable development of Yangon’s industrial zones.