By Zahara Zuhair
The perception of people in general about the private sector that it is only profit motivated and it over exploits any given opportunity should be changed, according to Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) CEO/Secretary General Mangala Yapa, who recently addressed a seminar aimed at guiding the corporates on the process of applying for ‘Sustainability Awards 2015’, which is held to recognise the importance of corporate sustainability in Sri Lanka.
“Private sector is for profit, but not for profit at any cost, but for fair and reasonable profit. A business does not sustain or survive if it doesn’t have profit, as there will be no funds available for reinvestment or business continuity,” he said.
The CCC believes that it is about time to change this negative perception on people’s mind and the awards in a way will help to showcase to the public what the private sector can do towards sustainability.
“It is the time we do it because Sri Lankan private sector needs to emerge out from what it is today and take the economy forward,” he said.
Many awards have been lined up to recognise best performers in corporate sustainability initiatives in Sri Lanka which is conducted for the 12th consecutive year by the CCC.
There will be two types of awards -- Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability and the Best Projects Sustainability Award.
The Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award assesses the interactions of a corporate entity, private or public, listed or unlisted, with its stakeholders: environment, employees, customers, suppliers, community, government and shareholders and applications will be called under two categories for this award.
Triple Bottom Line Awards will take into account the three dimensions: environmental sustainability (planet), social sustainability (people) and economic sustainability (profit).
“We want the best corporate citizens to have practices which discourage company employees/management from engaging corrupt practices in order to improve their businesses,” said Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standards Monitoring Board former Director General Ajith Ratnayake.
He also said that they review the contribution done towards the national and regional development by corporates, specially to the growth in low-income areas.
“We know that in some areas in the country, there is not enough private sector presence to bring out the necessary use of the resources available in those areas. So we encourage you to go to those areas and utilize the resources,” he said.
Speaking on the employee relations, former Senior Assistant Secretary Upali Athukorale said with regards to employee relations at the work place they look into aspects such as, if the corporates have a human resource policy/guideline and most importantly the dialogue between the employee and the management as well the policies that have been taken for the retention of the employees.
Company Director/Consultant Eardley Perera speaking on the communication aspects said consumers should be well informed by corporates.
“The Consumer Affairs Authority recently suggested that all car advertisements should have the price indication. Some companies advertise cars by one advertisement indicating five models available and then make one statement saying it is available from 5.5 million upwards. That is just hiding behind the rules and regulations that are expected to be followed,” he noted.
The Best Projects Sustainability Award, the second type of award, which was initiated in 2007, is an attempt to recognise and encourage the noble efforts of the private/public sectors in specific projects relating to environment (planet) and society (people). It covers a wide arena of activities such as education, training, community services hosted for low-income
people, infrastructure, environmental preservations, etc.
It was also noted that the award scheme is absolutely independent and the CCC will not have any direct involvement in it.
In addition, an award will be presented to the best presented application as well.