On 6 December, the EU launched a new programme to improve social and environmental standards in Myanmar's garment sector. SMART Textile & Garments will work with more than hundred garment and textile factories in Yangon, Mandalay, Bago, Pathein and other regions. With engineers and local and European experts the project will deliver on-site assessments and trainings on topics such as human resource management systems and workplace communications, occupational safety and health, chemicals & waste management, and energy efficiency.
"Since 2013, Myanmar's garment sector has witnessed a staggering export oriented growth. The garment industry has served largely the European market and created job opportunities for thousands, mostly women. SMART Myanmar has proven to be an extremely relevant programme in accompanying Myanmar's apparel industry's shift to more sustainable practices," said Pedro Campo Llopis, Deputy Head of Development Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Myanmar. "Europe is one of the world's largest consumers markets and European consumers pay a lot of attention to where the products they buy come from and how they are produced. Sustainable production and respect for international labour standards are therefore important topics in the EU's trade relations with Myanmar and this makes our cooperation with the Myanmar garment sector through the SMART Textiles & Garments programme so important," Mr Campo Llopis underlined.
Several international retailers have agreed to support the new programme to boost performance within their Myanmar-based supply chains, including H&M, Bestseller and C&A.
The EU funded SMART Myanmar project has been working with garment factories since 2013 to promote sustainable consumption and production of garments “Made in Myanmar” – a concept with emphasis on resource efficiency and social responsibility. In cooperation with the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association SMART Myanmar conducted training and consultancy programs with 299 garment, textile and footwear factories since 2016, implementing thousands of improvements related to safe workplaces, effective HR management and energy efficiency.
SMART Textiles& Garments builds on SMART Myanmar and will expand training and capacity building programs for social and environmental performance to more than hundred garment and textile factories in different locations across the country.
SMART Textile & Garments is implemented by sequa, from Germany, in cooperation with the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM), amfori from Belgium and the Centre For Economic and Social Development (CESD), a research & policy institute in Myanmar.