CSR Sri Lanka’s Topical Discussions Series with Corporate Leaders (Forum 1)

“Impact of Natural Disasters to business sustainability and responsibility of corporates”

CSR Sri Lanka bring together more than 50 corporate leaders and sustainability representatives from private sector companies in a forum to discuss the impact of climate change to business sustainability and responsibility of corporates. The forum assembled at the Conference Room 6 of Galle Face Hotel Colombo last Friday 27th October 2017 from 5.00pm to 7.00pm. The keynote address of the event was delivered by Professor Buddhi Marambe, the Chairman of Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture (PGIA), University of Peradeniya and of the National Experts Committee on Climate Change Adaptation (NECCCA), Ministry of Environment. The session was moderated by CSR Sri Lanka Director Mr. Mahesh Wijewardene, Director Sales and Commercial of Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC. This is the first of a series of topical discussions with corporate leaders to be organized by CSR Sri Lanka to enlighten the private sector on contemporary issues relevant to improving sustainability of businesses.

Climate change is a global concern calling for everyone’s attention and CSR Sri Lanka sought to enlighten and engage the leaders in the corporate sector to blaze a trail in response to this timely concern. These discussion forums are organized by CSR Sri Lanka to sensitize and motivate responses amongst decision makers in the private sector to take effective steps forward with regards to the prevailing matters.

Professor Buddhi Marambe discussed climate change in a global aspect as well as from the country’s perspective and emphasized on the responsibility each country and individual have in contributing towards a better future for all. He clarified on the largely misunderstood concept of “greenhouse effect” which is often blamed as the main cause for climate change but in truth, is the natural phenomenon without which the world will not be livable, since that’s what maintains the temperature on the earth’s surface. He further explained that it’s the “expanded or enhanced greenhouse effect” which has occurred due to human actions which is now causing the global warming with the rapid increase in the releasing of greenhouse gases that began with the industrial revolution in 1850s and is continuing to this day. Professor Marambe also explained about the National Experts Committee on Climate Change Adaptation (NECCCA) which comes under the Ministry of Environment and is Chaired by him and the committee’s future plans towards getting together the public and private sector collectively to address the climate change issues. His session also delved into the Paris Agreement, the current statistical data comparison on green gas emission percentages between developed and developing countries, the stats on the rising global temperature, increase in natural disasters due to global warming, drastic changes in the rain seasons and cycles and so on.

The discussion was facilitated with a presentation of the private sector responses addressing issues of sustainability in the real world, which was conducted by Elpitiya Plantations PLC, a subsidiary of Aitken Spence Plantations PLC which was presented by General Manager Mr. Al Haj M Ishafir Izzadeen and Head of Business Sustainability Division, Mr. Priyantha Dissanayake.

The forum concluded with an open discussion moderated by Professor Buddhi Marambe who responded to a number of questions and concerns raised by the corporate leaders and sustainability representatives in the respective audience.