While it seems that the ASEAN region is advancing due to the thriving economies of several member countries, the living conditions of a significant part of the population prove that some developing nations within the region, have yet to experience the benefits of economic growth and technological advancements of its neighboring countries. This project aimed to provide opportunities to disadvantaged ASEAN communities in Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam, allowing them to gain access to appropriate knowledge and affordable technologies which have helped other ASEAN countries achieve economic development and transformation.
ASSIST in partnership with Bayer Thai, implemented an Integrated Social Economic Model (SEM) that facilitated economic transformation through food security, mitigating post-harvest losses and improving the quality and preservation of agri / aqua-cultural products coming from the bottom of the pyramid communities. The farmers were also introduced to financial linkages that connected the farmers directly to markets.
The project implemented the WeCARE Sustainability Scorecard approach that had the three dimensions of – Society (enhancing livelihood, community cooperation and social harmony), Economy (reducing post-harvest losses and improving earning capability), and Environment (energy efficient technologies and eco-friendly materials).
Myanmar’s recent political shift has given rise to a market-oriented economy and the performance of the import and export sector is underpinned by increasing production and industrial development. The food sector is the one at the forefront, representing 63.51% of the overall industrial sector in Myanmar. Hand-in-hand with this development comes the call of international and local organizations for better conditions in the food industry and adoption of international food safety standards.
Bureau Veritas together with ASSIST, is working to raise awareness about food safety through introducing food safety requirements based GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and HACCP scope to the fruits processing industry in Myanmar; to minimize risks to business and consumers and ensure that products uphold international quality standards. This would also benefit factories, enabling them to produce better products, increase production and enjoy increased sales and exports.
This project will engage industry owners and fruit companies to engage with each other and generate commitment to implement and promote food safety standards and resource-efficient practices in the industry. Training programs will capacitate food safety experts and create local consultants on GMP and HACCP to provide guidance for 20 fruit processing factories in compliance with standard requirements. These factories will also receive training on compliance, assessment visits, and certification.
As part of the initiative to develop H&M’s “Green Industry” strategy for the garment supply chains of Cambodia & Myanmar, ASSIST conducted a mapping of the existing stakeholders on renewable energy.
ASSIST conducted mapping studies and generated reports on solid waste, renewable energy, and water saving technologies. The reports provided a description of the subject’s current conditions in the country, the existing stakeholders and key players and the national solutions/technologies available. The reports also offer a more detailed analysis of the subject specifically in the context of the country’s garment industry and recommend relevant actions for the sector. Following those 6 reports (3 in Cambodia, 3 in Myanmar), H&M requested ASSIST replicate the studies in Vietnam.
The European Commission (EC) was to launch a “Responsible Value Chains in Asia” project in Q1 of 2017 targeting China, Myanmar, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Following discussions between different EC services, a formulation mission was to be carried out with a view to help in refining priority activities to be conducted under the action, including with regards to geographic and sectoral conditions. The overall objective of the action is to support CSR/RBC practices and approaches in relevant Asian trading partners with a view to enhancing market access opportunities and strengthening an international level playing field for EU responsible businesses in the region.
ASSIST, as part of the formulation mission, produced a concept note, an Action Fiche and a mission report based on the briefing session, desk research and interviews with relevant national and international stakeholders. Information sources included documentation of sessions with FPI, DG Trade and other EU stakeholders, country-specific strategies by the European Commission and its Member States, country and regional priorities like those from the ASEAN and SAARC, and documents coming from OECD, ILO, and UN agencies. Fieldwork in Myanmar and the Philippines were also conducted to interview national stakeholders.