Increasing sustainability reporting in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh

Friday, 29 March 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

From left: Senior Coordinator GRI South Asia Ms. Rubina Sen, Director GRI South Asia Dr. Aditi Haldar, First Secretary (Development) Australian High Commission Sri Lanka Dr. Thomas Davis, GRI Chief Executive Tim Mohin, CSE Head of Research and New Products Nishantha Hewavithana, and Dhaka Stock Exchange Managing Director K.A.M. Majedur Rahman.


Over 500 businesses in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are being supported to report on their sustainability impacts following the launch of new guidance. ​

GRI has provided technical input to guides produced by the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) and the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), which they will share with all their listed companies, providing recommendations on best practice for sustainability reporting.

The two publications were launched yesterday as GRI Chief Executive Tim Mohin hosted an event in Sri Lanka, entitled ‘Sustainability Reporting for Sustainable Development’. The session was attended by senior representatives from listed companies from the region, stock exchanges, professional organisations and international bodies.

“More and more companies are starting to realise that sustainability reporting is not only a business opportunity, it’s a business necessity. Reporting on their impacts promotes transparency, which in turn helps them anticipate risks and informs decision making,” Mohin said. 

“These new guides for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which will be promoted to more than 500 listed companies across the region, will have an important role in supporting them to unlock the many social, environmental and economic benefits of greater transparency. As GRI’s event in Colombo sets out, sustainability reporting has a crucial role in supporting sustainable development, helping companies understand and communicate their impacts on critical issues for the communities where they operate, such as climate change, human rights and labour relations,” Mohin added.

CSE CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike said: “We are encouraged by the growing commitment of Sri Lankan entities towards communicating their sustainability performance. We encourage Sri Lankan listed companies to take considerable strides towards making sustainability reporting an effective and standard practice.”

“The second version of our guidance document to listed companies on communicating sustainability integrates perspectives and standards of GRI, which is set to add considerable value to users of the publication,” he added.

BSE Managing Director K.A.M. Majedur Rahman said: “It is unquestionable that many environmental, social and governance factors impact on the ability of companies and their investors to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity. From a regulatory point of view, DSE will play a vital role in monitoring the sustainability reports through which listed companies’ economic, environmental and social impacts and decisions will be reflected. 

We look forward to continuing improvements in sustainability disclosure in corporate reporting in Bangladesh.”

While in Sri Lanka, Mohin’s engagements include meetings with: the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka; the Stock Exchanges of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India; and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

The GRI’s ‘Sustainability Reporting for Sustainable Development’ event took place at the Hotel Kingsbury in Colombo, in collaboration with the CSE, and included a panel discussion on how sustainability reporting can drive change in South Asia. Participants included GRI’s South Asia director Dr Aditi Haldar as well as the CEO of the CSE and the DSE managing director. 

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, the International Finance Corporation, the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka and the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh were all represented.

The Colombo Stock Exchange has 297 listed companies, while there are 303 companies listed with the Dhaka Stock Exchange.