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CSR Lanka holds forum ‘Beyond Corporate Strategy Towards Sustainable Business’


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CSR Lanka organised a forum on ‘Beyond Corporate Strategy Towards Sustainable Business’ on 18 July at the Lighthouse Auditorium and Lawns.The eminent panel was comprised of widely known professionals in the country namely Ali Sabry, Dr. Sharmala Kumar, Dr. Nirmal De Silva, Dr. Rohantha Athukorala and Moderator of the Forum was Gayani De Alwis. 

Social integration is an essential element in the quest for peaceful social relations among the community to have a conducive business environment. Society recovering from the current situation in the country shows that inhabiting collaboration and integration are fundamental elements to keep day to day businesses and future business climate sustainable. 

Considering the current business environment in the country, CSR Lanka organised the forum to improve and strengthen the current climate, to create positive change and provide pathway to reintegration which would create sustainable business environment for all. 

CSR Lanka was formed in May 2013 with the pioneering initiative of United States Agency for International Development known as (USAID) and equally committed seven corporate leaders from Sri Lankan leading corporates. 

With the number of multi stakeholder collaborations from the corporate sector and multilateral agencies, the leadership of CSR Lanka is committed engage the Sri Lankan corporate sector on economic, social and environmental transformation that can impact Sri Lanka’s people, economy and the environment. 

To that effect, the Board of Directors of CSR Sri Lanka signed a charter pledging to practice and spearhead their mission of providing strategic guidance and necessary resources to create long term sustainable value of CSR efforts of the corporate sector.

Dr. Nirmal De Silva, aThought Leader, Mentor, Impact Investor, Serial Entrepreneur, Advocate of Women and Youth Empowerment, opening the session stated that if Sri Lankan businesses are to successfully navigate during turbulent times then they need to focus on five key aspects i.e. mindset, creating value, collaboration, resilience and keeping up the pace. 

He suggested that as a solution for the current economic situation;encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset at all levels of the organisation will be useful. This will help generate innovative ideas and solutions to problems that will help differentiate themselves from the rest. Dr. De Silva reiterated the need to focus on execution as opposed to mere planning during these times. 

Dr. Shamala Kumar, a senior lecturer and business psychologist, attached to the Department of Agricultural Economics and Business Management at University of Peradeniya, addressed how organisations must buffer against external threats caused by events such as those during and after 21 April. 

She stressed the need to cultivate pluralism as a core organisational value and for strong leadership that upholds such values at times of crises. In the event that negative incidents, which victimise individuals or groups, occur at the organisation, proactively addressing such incidents and protecting victims should be prioritised. In such instances, how institutional processes allowed such incidents to occur must be critically examined to ensure that in the future unhealthy reactions to external crises become less likely.  

Speaking at the Forum Clootrack for Sri Lanka and MaldivesPresident/CEO and Sri Lanka Tourismformer Executive ChairmanDr. Rohantha Athukorala said that post-Easter Terror Attack, Sri Lanka has got a golden opportunity to reposition the country and develop a new identity in the global market place. 

The best-case study in the world of tourism is Rwanda, Croatia, Bhutan and Estonia. All these countries developed a new positioning with a global marketing campaign which resulted in attracting a higher spending set of travellers. 

This is what Sri Lanka must do with strategic planning he said. “But unfortunately, we see that since 2015 we are yet trying to kick start a marketing campaign for tourism that will not materialise is the latest data stemming from the media. The industry has no option but take leadership and drive strategy is my view voiced,” Dr Rohantha Athukorala.

President’s Counsel and Practitioner in Civil Law, Commercial Law, Administrative and Fundamental Rights LawAli Sabry,sharing his thoughts, said integration and living in harmony should be taught and practice from small age and should start from our own homes. He said that we have been facing in this nature of turmoilfrom the past as a country and every 10 years we always had some incident which threw us another 10 years backwards. 

Therefore, as a country, as all of us as Sri Lankans should get up and move forward. He shared an example which directed audience perspective in to positive thinking and urgency to move forward. He said in Vietnam, 1975 during the era of civil war, 50 % of their population died due to starvation but today they are the second largest country exporting rice to other countries. He further said, if country like Vietnam can move forward from worse situation to a great success why as Sri Lankans we cannot?

Concluding the forumCILT Sri LankaChairperson, WiLAT Global Vice Chairperson and WCICBoard Member Gayani De Alwis said that time and time again, be it the tsunami, or the 30-year-old conflict Sri Lankans have shown, that “we have the ability to wade through turbulent times and come back strongly as a resilient nation”. 

Each and every one of us should think positively with one Sri Lankan identity to take our country forward. She concluded by saying country will know of your existence only when you contribute to the country and urged everyone to take actions for the betterment of the country.

The forum was well attended by employees of the CSR Lanka Member companies, from other reputed corporates of the country, Entrepreneurs and other members from various NGOs. At the end of the session participants had the opportunity to engage asking questions, to share their thoughts and interact with speakers. 

 


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