As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiative,USAID-supported CSR Sri Lanka collaborated with CSR Netherlands (MVO Nederland), supported by the Netherlands Embassy and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency,to conduct a three-day workshop focusing on transforming businesses in ways that are socially responsible.The workshop was held in Colombo and designed to assist Sri Lankan industries in the agriculture, tourism and apparel sectors in adoptinginternational sustainability best practices in business.
As a first step, discussions were held with business leaders on a number of different topics:sustainability challenges and solutions, co-creatingsectorsustainability agendas, and defining opportunities for international collaboration.
During these discussions, led by Dutch experts MVO NetherlandsSenior Advisor in Sustainable & Inclusive Business (Food & Agriculture) Gerard Teuling and MVO NetherlandsSenior Sustainable & Inclusive Business Developer (Textiles & Garments) Michiel van Yperen,CSR Netherlands shared with Sri Lankan Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) business ownersinternational best practices and innovative solutions to various sectoral challenges in the areasof sustainability and inclusiveness.
Discussions focused on soliciting inputs from the private sector and other experts about how SMEs can have a positive socialimpact, especially on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. As a result of these discussions, CSR Netherlands and CSR Sri Lanka will help facilitate joint ventures between the Dutchand Sri Lankan companies in order to implement sustainability best practices.
A key focus ofthe collaboration between the two organisations is creating sustainable and inclusive Sri Lankan SMEs thatcanthen tie up with like-minded businesses in the Netherlands and Europe, which will help the Sri Lankan SMEs to better be able to compete in the international market place.