The staff of Hemas Holdings PLC recently commemorated World Environment Day 2017 with Otara Gunawardena speaking on this year’s global theme ‘Connecting People to Nature’.
Her inspiring address to the audience was based on her personal experience on environmental issues Sri Lanka faces in the current context.
She spoke of her strong sense of patriotism in declaring herself primarily as a Sri Lankan irrespective of all the labels she has been associated with. She described the sense of worth in being called a Sri Lankan and hastened to emphasise the plight of the environment, which has taken a toll on the natural beauty and landscape of this country.
“I believe we are at a critical point in time in Sri Lanka, where we have pushed the natural world too far, and are now suffering the consequences. I think this is only the beginning of more severe environmental impacts that we will have to face, if we continue to do the same thing and travel the same path as we have done before”, she said.
She concluded that awareness creates change and requested those present to change their perception of success and personal choices. Since we all need nature to thrive and survive, she invited them, to join her in her quest to protect our beautiful natural heritage and provide a better future for all who live here today.
“World Environment Day is only a symbolic day to commemorate what nature has given us. We need to take this concept forward by living it on a daily basis… by doing the right thing and respecting nature. Living with nature should be a way of life. As a Company we are committed to minimising our impact on the environment and encourage all our staff to be sensitive to the environment around us”, said Shiromi Masakorala, General Manager Group, Sustainability and Corporate Communications.
Hemas commemorated the day in parallel with special events organised at all locations across the group. The Company’s ‘Abhimana Champions’ played an instrumental role here in taking the message to its colleagues across the company’s different sectors.
A one-minute AV by Julia Roberts (in English and Sinhala) was screened at all locations to communicate that nature does not need people but that people need nature. This was followed by an inspiring speech made by a staff member at each location where a tree was also planted to mark World Environment Day 2017
All members of Hemas staff took a solemn pledge to immediately refrain from using plastic lunch sheets. They also unequivocally agreed to totally stop using plastic bottles both at home and at their workplace. This was also in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the Meethotamulla garbage dump tragedy.
In a further endeavour to bring about greater awareness, all members of the staff were given illustrated leaflets with guidelines and tips on how each one can help save and protect the environment.
Hemas has a very strict Group Environmental Policy which is monitored on a monthly basis by all sectors. The Hemas Green Club consisting of environmental enthusiasts across Group was launched to take this policy forward and brings in a hands-on approach within the Group.
Among the key objectives of the Club are the reduction of carbon footprints through new innovations, the building of environmental awareness among employees and introduction of best practices, to make a visible behavioural change in employees towards mother nature, etc.