Unilever and UNGC partner to mobilize collective action in Sri Lanka


Unilever Sri Lanka together with the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Sri Lanka hosted a discussion on public-private sector partnerships to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at The Hilton, Colombo, recently.

The first event of its kind, the forum brought together C-suite executives from both the public and private sector, stakeholders from the academia, media and non-government development agencies. Austin Fernando, Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka too was present at the event. In line with Goal 17 - Partnerships for the goals - the organizers sought to highlight the need for a strong commitment to partnerships and cooperation to drive the nation forward and help realize the SDGs.

Carl Cruz, chairman, Unilever Sri Lanka welcomed the invitees and delivered the inaugural keynote address of the evening. Highlighting some of the pressing issues faced by the world, he stressed on the need for collective action to foster sustainable development. He spoke about how the company places sustainability at the core of its business model and works by the simple philosophy of ‘Doing well by Doing Good’. He further went on to share instances of initiatives undertaken in partnership with communities and other stakeholders where win-win collaborations have been made. He also updated the audience on the progress made by Unilever, both globally and locally, in the 6 years since the launch of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, the company’s blueprint for sustainable equitable business.

Dr. Rohan Fernando, Director, Head of Business Development and Plantations, Aitken Spence PLC and chairman of UNGC Sri Lanka, followed Carl. Drawing on his extensive experience across the Aitken Spence group, mentioning the success stories of Heritance Kandalama hotel and the Aitken Spence carbon neutral printing facility. Being far sighted and patient has paid dividend with these sustainable business ventures, because they have added value to both the community and the business. He also touched on work done by other UNGC members around the country.

Director - Group Human Resources, MAS Holdings, Shakthi Ranatunga delivered the final keynote address of the day. Educating the forum on MAS’ strategic social and environmental sustainable initiatives, he highlighted the importance of forging private and public partnerships to achieve sustainable goals. He pointed out that state sector stability and reach should be complemented by private sector agility and efficiency when rolling out initiatives.

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