For the first time in Sri Lanka, the private sector and public sector will form collaborative partnerships that will spearhead economic, social and environmental prosperity. The brainchild of CSR Sri Lanka, this initiative is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
This collaboration will introduce and implement transformative CSR (Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility) business strategies, that creative a conducive environment for rapid and sustained growth in different sectors.
Dr. Wayne Visser, founder of CSR International, and Director of the think tank “Kaleidoscope Futures”, is visiting Sri Lanka at the invitation of CSR Sri Lanka, to address key corporate heads and senior government policy makers. He will provide practical guidelines on how to achieve a paradigm shift in their businesses, to align them to specific national priorities.
The private sector is widely recognized as the “engine of growth”, while the public sector is the “regulator” of this growth. With both sectors working in tandem, the result will be tangible benefits in the form of better practices and the development of products and services that can transform people’s lives, add value to the environment, and generate more revenue for Sri Lanka. In short, it would promote a “self-sustaining economy” in keeping with current global trends.
The first step is to develop a framework for collaboration, where the private sector can grow and succeed with the support and regulation of the public sector, in an environment without fear or favour. Moving away from old, purely profit-making ventures, businesses would generate income responsibly and both private and public sectors would ensure that all stakeholders are informed, motivated and empowered to participate.
Chandula Abeywickrema, Chairman of CSR Sri Lanka says “ Our goal is to create a more inclusive, social and economic development in Sri Lanka and drive sustainable business growth to impact society and the economy. Therefore, collaboration, cooperation and partnerships between the private and public sectors are essential and critical “.
According to him, one potential area for collaboration is in Sri Lanka’s education sector. The education system is academic-based and turns out white collar workers in excess of the country’s needs. Each year, 450,000 students sit for their “O” Levels. Only 250,000 qualify for “A” levels. Of the 150,000 students each year who pass their “A” Levels, only 20,000 can enter universities. What happens to the rest? Education must be aligned to national needs in terms of employment.
The private and public sector can work together to change the mindset of people, increase vocational training, improve income for non-skilled workers and promote the “dignity of labour” which is seen in developed countries, where everyone, irrespective of their education earns a decent salary.