NORDICS - GES Investment Services has announced it will increase its engagement with investors in companies in Burma to prevent them becoming complicit with violations of human rights.

Presence in 'high risk' countries like Burma requires companies to "have a well-functioning risk management system with the aim to avoid becoming part of the regime's oppression," Magnus Furugård, president and managing director or GES, explained.

'High risk' countries, as termed by GES, are investment markets where governments are incapable of taking responsibility or unwilling to, which leads to setbacks in economic and social development, breeding crime and long-term violence.
So far GES which advises the Swedish buffer funds and other Nordic pension providers on ethical investment, had engaged with investors in companies that have been officially associated with violations of human rights in Burma.

"But no precautionary engagement has been conducted in order to reduce the risks for companies of becoming involved in such violations," GES stated.

Furugård stressed it was positive that companies are present in high risk countries "as they contribute with investments for welfare and know-how transfer from more developed societies to less developed ones".

However, GES now wants to engage with those companies least prepared for the risks arising from a presence in such markets.

"Our clients are very concerned about the development in the country and naturally see a connection between the political risks and the financial," said Furugård.