November 27, 2018
Tom Coward, Team Leader, DFID Myanmar Inclusive Growth and Livelihoods team
Dawei Township, Tanintharyi Region
-check against delivery-
Thank you honoured guests.
My name is Tom Coward and I lead the UK Department of International Development’s inclusive growth and livelihoods work here in Myanmar.
I just wanted to make a few short remarks about why we’re here, the importance of the project that we are launching today and why the British Government through DFID is so keen to invest in inclusive businesses like Dawei Golden Land and the work they are doing with WWF.
Firstly, why invest in businesses like Dawei Golden Land rather than the more usual work of a development organisation like DFID?
Well because through our experience in countries around the world, DFID knows that we can accomplish a huge amount by investing in inclusive businesses and achieving real positive changes right across a country and economy through working with business.
We know that a business can be a force for good in its community through improving incomes and providing steady employment or by treating with respect those it trades with or employs.
This is why DFID is so keen to be working in States and Regions across Myanmar to support new innovative businesses and ensure that all areas of this great country benefit from investment and economic growth.
And this is also why the British Government through its programmes like DaNa, is working here in Myanmar to support projects like this one.
Because by investing in sustainable new models of inclusive business in areas like rubber production we believe we have the potential to help the transformation of the Myanmar economy, creating jobs and raising incomes.
Doing business well and in an inclusive way and by doing so providing new economic opportunities for people across Myanmar.
Because this project and businesses like Dawei Golden Land are not only focused on looking after their profit margin, but also in providing real solutions to long term problems of conservation and sustainability alongside the problems of poverty and the prosperity of the broader community.
In this new project WWF and Dawei Golden Land are working together to try and act as a catalyst for the transformation of the rubber value chain in Tanintharyi.
Globally premium international buyers are increasingly committing to only purchasing sustainable rubber. This is rubber that meets “zero deforestation” requirements, rubber that is traceable to existing forests and not new forests in conservation areas .
And this project is part of a broader pilot being run by WWF to promote sustainable global supply chains in rubber and which seeks to network producers with premium international rubber buyers, such as Michelin and Toyota.
Given Dawei Golden Lands unique position as Tanintharyi’s largest private sector actor in rubber production the hope is that this project can demonstrate both the profitability and feasibility of sustainable zero deforestation rubber here in Myanmar.
By working with suppliers at source, they will produce high quality rubber at scale for the first time in Tanintharyi.
And in doing so they not only hope to reduce the environmental impact of rubber production on farmers and on the environment but they will do so while ensuring that the incomes and livelihoods of famers are protected.
Supporting sustainable zero deforestation rubber, while also supporting poorer farming communities in an example of exactly the type of inclusive businesses and growth that DFID are so keen to support.
And the British Government through DFID is making these types of investments in other similar businesses in agriculture, textiles and financial services.
And we are doing this across almost every region of Myanmar because we believe that it is through responsible and inclusive growth that a country becomes truly prosperous.
This is why DFID is so keen to be working across the States and Regions to support and invest in inclusive businesses investments like this one.
Supporting economic growth across all of Myanmar to create jobs and opportunities for everyone.
So I want to thank you all for your support of this new project and hope that you will all take the opportunity to work alongside Dawei Golden Land and WWF as they grow and thrive here in Dawei.
And we hope that in working with each other to support sustainable zero deforestation rubber all those who work in the sector in Myanmar will benefit.
Thank you again for your time.