The partnerships revealed at the event were a result of the inaugural Unilever-UNGC forum held earlier this year that engaged members of the public and private sector, academia, media and non-government development agencies on how they could work together on helping Sri Lanka achieve the goals.
A wave of sustainable business projects are set to be rolled out through these partnerships. Aitken Spence Holdings, Commercial Bank PLC, Dialog Axiata PLC, MAS Holdings and Unilever Sri Lanka have pledged their support to drive these projects. Members of the projects’ working committees met after the media conference to discuss the road map for each project. Aligning the project goals to the wider national agenda, the teams finalized the immediate next steps.
Carl Cruz, Chairman, Unilever Sri Lanka said, “The country’s goals around the 2030 SDGs cannot be achieved through the efforts of any single entity, acting alone. We need to rally each other up, go outside our comfort zones and work together to help the nation realize its vision.
We firmly believe that adopting sustainable models both in civil service and in business while mobilizing collective action will help bring longer lasting, wide spread positive change. This is the only way in which we can ensure that we move ahead as one, without leaving anyone behind. And we are delighted to have found likeminded partners in the UNDP and the UNGC to work with on this journey. We are excited about the journey ahead as we work with them and other partners who have come forward in support this mission to see these projects to fruition.”
Mr. Austin Fernando, Secretary to H.E. the President of Sri Lanka, said, “While the government continues to work towards bringing about sustainable development, we need to understand that this cannot be done without the involvement and support of the private sector and all other stakeholders. H.E President Maithripala Sirisena too has time and time again stressed on the importance of public-private partnerships in fostering national development through economic growth.
Commending Unilever, UNDP and UNGC for their efforts in shaping such partnerships, I look forward to seeing the progress of the projects being rolled out by them together with Aitken Spence, Commercial Bank, Dialog and MAS.”
Mr. Jorn Sorensen, UNDP Sri Lanka Country Director stated, “This is the start of a new movement. By connecting businesses with governments and the development partners, we can create an environment that unleashes the potential of the private sector because investing in the Sustainable Development is a win-win. As such, the private sector is an important strategic partner for UNDP in achieving its vision to help countries eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities and exclusion within broader sustainable development.
UNDP is pleased to be a catalyst in convening the relevant stakeholders to support Sri Lanka achieve sustainable human development, because strong partnerships help us deliver stronger results that improve people's lives”
Mr. Jegan Durairatnam, Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Commercial Bank PLC; Mr. Shayam Majeed, Group Chief Corporate Officer, Dialog Axiata PLC; Shakthi Ranatunga, Director - Group Human Resources, MAS Holdings; and Dr. Rohan Fernando, Chairman of United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Sri Lanka shared their views on the forum, its outcomes and the way forward.
Unilever also announced its partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to host a high-level private sector forum on sustainable human development every year, starting from 2018. This is part of their efforts to further strengthen discussions around public-private sector partnerships, continue the dialogue with private sector, provide a framework for cooperation and facilitate greater collaboration.
Unilever Sri Lanka is one of the biggest FMCG companies in Sri Lanka, with 29 market leading brands in categories such as Home Care, Personal Care and Foods. Established in Sri Lanka in 1938 with brands such as Sunlight, Lux and Pears. Unilever’s corporate purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace, and the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan sets out to decouple the company’s growth from environmental impact, while increasing its positive social impact.
The Plan has three big goals that by 2020 will help improve people’s health and well-being, reduce the company’s environmental footprint, and enhance livelihoods across its value chain. For more information about Unilever, please visit www.unilever.com.lk.
About United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. www.lk.undp.org
About United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)
UN Global Compact (UNGC) is the World’s largest corporate citizenship initiative; this movement currently holds over 9,500 signatory companies from 162 countries, all working towards aligning strategies and operations with the core values of sustainable development, and taking actions that advance societal goals. These signatories are guided by Ten Principles of the UNGC which are universal ideologies on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. The vision of UNGC is to mobilize a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders to create the world we want. To make this happen, the UNGC supports companies to:
- Do business responsibly by aligning their strategies and operations with the Ten Principles; and
- Take strategic actions to advance broader societal goals, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with an emphasis on collaboration and innovation.
Global Compact Local Networks advance the initiative and it’s Ten Principles at the country level: Global Compact Network Sri Lanka was launched in 2011 and includes participation of all key corporates in the country. Local Networks help companies understand what responsible business means within different contexts and facilitate learning, policy dialogue, collective action and partnerships. Through the local networks, companies can make connections with other businesses and stakeholders and receive guidance to put their sustainability commitments into action. Local Networks are independent, self-managed entities, and act as a point of contact for UN Global Compact signatories in a country.