Download here our latest production on Myanmar’s environmental stakes
Myanmar is experiencing an encouraging and fast process of democratization, which will lead to a rapid development of the country, and significant foreign investment
However, if the overnight reforms come along with extractive economic and political institutions, this development might lead to severe social injustice and great ecological damages like everywhere else in Asia.
This is why we need to spread the principles, tools and solutions of sustainable development among the three main stakeholders of development: the Myanmar civil society, political leaders and companies.
* * *
Before Asia’s rice granary, today rich of a variety of natural resources, Burma is a country with a strong economic potential, inviting investment, entrepreneurship and commerce. However, in a world of wavering economic growth models and on a continent that does not offer stable and satisfying alternatives, Burma’s path is to be chosen with a lot of precaution. Except for a slight importance given to corporate social responsibility (CSR), little time is spent to consider how to trigger the country’s endogenous, inclusive and sustainable development.
The economic roadmap followed according to the “business as usual” model promises a chaotic and ephemeral development. The meticulous organization, which takes place around the extraction of petrol, gas, hydro-electricity, gold, copper, precious stones and teak, is detrimental to the environment and the neighboring societies. The toxic waste, industrial pollution and the transformations in the scenery, resulting from large scale agricultural and industrial exploitations threaten the survival of symbolic sites like the Inle Lake, with fatal consequences for health and the survival of the local populations. This approach is not only dangerous but also ephemeral given that it relies on the selling of resources to foreign countries, leaving behind sterile and degraded Burmese soils and creating a rent decoupled from the system of sustainable production. The rents obtained with the depletion of natural resources give the illusion of profit, whereas real economic activities are disregarded.
Today, economic sectors with the potential to create a useful and responsible economy for the country must be promoted. A green and inclusive growth is possible by associating business, job and profit opportunities with a system of sustainable development. In rural areas, instead of an agro-industrial export-orientated approach, a sustainable agriculture enables to consider above all food security and the development of local populations. Organic fertilizers and pesticides, the preservation of local production, the diversification of cultures and agro-forestry enable to restore diversity and fertile soils whilst simultaneously increasing returns. Technological innovation in terms of irrigation, solar energy, and financial services like microfinance or micro insurance, can also be used to promote a reasonable agriculture that can generate production and investment opportunities for small-scale exploitations. It is in this sector that the activities led by “Green Lotus” are most developed. In partnership with key players, we are building a network to promote responsible agricultural opportunities.
Furthermore, for Green Lotus, all the conditions are gathered to make rural exodus one of the country’s future worst nightmares. We have at heart to act in favor of a sustainable urbanisation. Water sanitation, waste processing and public transport are three major priorities which represent at the same time an opportunity to value an investment and expertise from foreign companies. For instance, in coordination with local institutions and governments, the private sector can contribute to the development of waste management by combining three missions at the same time: upstream limitation (packaging, management of surpluses), rational downstream management (sorting, recycling), and finally a valorisation of waste through an industrial and energetic use (bioreactors) fitting Burmese needs.
Such investments are at the same time sustainable and profitable given that they make the costs of raw materials, of energy and fuel, and of healthcare lower, while reducing pollution and improving people’s quality of life.
These business opportunities, emanating from the country’s need to develop, must be promoted with creative, adapted and relevant entrepreneurship and investment. With this vision in mind, Green Lotus has taken on the role to create interactions between different strong forces of the civil society, the private sector and political institutions to unite their actions and promote a national endogenous and sustainable development.