Colombo Club gets its first lady chairperson
The Colombo Club was inaugurated more than 150 years ago by the British for English and Scottish gentlemen resident in Sri Lanka to meet, relax and recuperate. For close to a 125 years it remained the exclusive habitat for gentlemen as ladies were precluded from becoming members. In 1995 the first lady member was admitted followed over the years by other ladies.At the last Annual General Meeting of the Club, history was made as the Club elected a lady member to the Chair for the first time.
In proposing her name to take over the Chair, Immediate Past Chairman Kumar Jayasuriya stated that “the Colombo Club is now poised to create history. In our 150 plus year history, members of the fairer sex were not admitted to membership in the first 125 years of our existence. This injustice was corrected in 1995. We have thereafter steadily progressed on the path of gender neutrality and within a matter of 25 years have reached the pinnacle of that endeavour which is the election of our first Chairperson.
“It is my great privilege to be associated with this historical event by proposing from the Chair the name of Ms. Anushya Coomaraswamy as the Chairperson of the Colombo Club for the ensuing year, having been nominated to this office unanimously by the General Committee of the Club. Anushya has served on the Committee since 2006 and has held the offices of Honorary Treasurer, Honorary Secretary and Vice Chairperson respectively over the last six years and is eminently suited to hold this office. I am sure that the fortunes of the Colombo Club are in very safe hands.”
Anushya Coomaraswamy is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants of the UK. She has been the Group Finance Director of John Keells Holdings PLC – at the time the first woman to be appointed to the Board of a blue chip company in Sri Lanka. Thereafter she joined the Ministry of Finance as an Advisor, primarily on Fiscal Policy for a short period, during which time she also served as the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission and as a member of the Public Enterprise Reforms Commission.
She currently serves as an Independent Non Executive Director on the Board of Printcare PLC.Having served on the Boards of Transparency International (Sri Lanka) and the Centre for Policy Alternatives, she is currently on the Boards of the Law and Society Trust and the Women and Media Collective.
In accepting the position, Miss Coomaraswamy said that “In a world where women are still to be fully recognized and given their rightful place, the Colombo Club has been progressive and that must be acknowledged, appreciated and commended. And for me personally I thank you for your confidence.”
The premises of the Club having been recently refurbished she looks to maintain the high standards set by her immediate predecessors, Nigel Austin and Kumar Jayasuriya, to involve greater participation of its membership while providing a service to members that is of the highest standard. She would also look to promote increased participation of women, who still seem to perceive the Club as being an institution that is predominantly for gentlemen!
Dulux colours Architect 2023 exhibition with vibrant and engaging presence
Dulux -Sri Lanka’s, a leading manufacturer of paints and coatings – is celebrating the successful close of its participation at Architect 2023, also taking home an award for the ‘Best Trade Stall with Innovative Use of Colour’.
Organised by the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects -and now in its 41st year- this year’s edition of the Architect 2023 annual trade fair took place from February 24-26 at the BMICH, and witnessed greater participation from leading companies and entrepreneurs actively involved in the various construction and architecture sectors; both locally and internationally, a company news release said.
“Dulux established a strong presence at the event with a spectacular exhibit themed Colour Futures ’23, featuring its 2023 Colour of the Year: Wild Wonder. Visitors to the stand were able to explore the four colour palettes, Lush, Buzz, Raw and Flow, inspired by the nature-influenced theme, with Dulux colour experts on hand providing unique trade insight, and also advising visitors on how best the shades can be implemented into their own work and living spaces,” it said.
“The popular mascot, “Dulux Dog” was also present to playfully engage with exhibition attendees and brighten up the vibrant Dulux stall even further. The Dulux exhibit proved widely popular among attendees to Architect 2023, due to its powerful display of colour in both interior & Exterior spaces. “
“Architect 2023 was a great opportunity for Dulux to learn from fellow trade professionals, and also to introduce visitors to the latest trends and insights from the global paints and coatings landscape,” said Upendra Gunawardhana, Head of Marketing at AkzoNobel Paints Sri Lanka. “We’ve maintained a strong long-standing relationship with the SLIA, and have every intention of being back again next year as well.”
ACCA reaffirms ComBank as Best among Sri Lankan banks for Sustainable Reporting
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon was declared the best among all Sri Lankan banks in sustainability reporting at the Sri Lanka Sustainability Reporting Awards for 2022 presented by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Sri Lanka.
As the winner in the ‘Banking’ category Commercial Bank was recognised for being one of the most transparent, accountable, and responsible entities in the country. The award was presented for the Bank’s 2021 Annual Report titled ‘Beyond a shape, beyond a colour’ which among other aspects, explores the Bank’s evolving operating context in which social and environmental concerns are brought to the centre of its corporate agenda.
Prepared in line with the International <IR> framework, this Annual Report also presents the Bank’s social and environmental impacts as per the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards: Core option. Additionally, it reports on the Bank’s contribution towards the UNDP Sustainable Development Goals.
The Report also features a dedicated section on ‘Business model for sustainable value creation’ and discloses information on loans screened through the Bank’s Social and Environmental Management System (SEMS), paper reduction and recycling initiatives, increased usage of renewable energy, and switching to energy-efficient appliances under the section on ‘Natural Capital.’ Indicators of value derived in this category include reduced energy consumption in gigajoules, number of facilities subjected to SEMS screening, number of new solar panel installation locations, number of internet banking and mobile banking users, and solar power generated as a percentage of energy consumption.
Commercial Bank’s high standards in comprehensive reporting area result of the Bank’s commitment to being a responsible financial entity and shaping its work ethics around sustainable business practices, the Bank said. Last year too, Commercial Bank topped the ACCA awards in the Banking category, in addition to winning the overall award for the Best Sustainability Report of 2020.
Notably, Commercial Bank’s 2021 Annual Report also won four awards including a Gold for ‘Interior Design,’ and a Bronze for ‘Interactive Annual Report’ at the 2022 edition of the MerComm ARC Awards which is the world’s largest annual report competition.
The Bank’s sustainability initiatives include lending to support sustainable and green operations, migrating customers to paperless banking, improving efficiency in the use of energy, water and other resources in its own operations and supporting community initiatives that help conserve habitats and the environment. Its support to a mangrove restoration project in Koggala and marine turtle conservation initiative in Panama are examples of its commitment to environmental conservation.
The Bank pioneered a mandatory social and environmental screening process for its project lending activities and was the first bank in Sri Lanka to venture into Green Financing. It also revolutionised digital banking by introducing features in its ‘Flash’ mobile application to measure and offset customer impact on the environment.
Ex-Pack Corrugated Cartons PLC prioritizes psychological wellbeing in view of Women’s Day
In view of the marking the International Women’s Day, Ex-Pack Corrugated Cartons PLC held an insightful event at their state-of-the-art factory premises in Kelaniya, highlighting the importance of psychological wellbeing and how Ex-Pack is taking up measures in ensuring an enabling environment for its 300 strong workforce, based on its wider DEI policies.
Various global studies have shown that women are impacted at much higher rates than men when it comes to mental illnesses. The session celebrated their achievements and life stories, and shared some eye-opening tips, facts, know how’s, to-dos, and various other influential factors including the dire need to change our perspectives on women’s roles, health and wellness. This also touched upon the emotional and social aspects of wellbeing too.
This year’s theme is centered on #EmbraceEquity, and Ex-Pack is no stranger when it comes to pursuing gender equality in an industry that has been traditionally dominated by male. As one of leading corrugated cartons manufacturer in Sri Lanka delivering end-to-end packaging solutions to both local and international clientele, and a subsidiary of Aberdeen Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, Ex-Pack actively encourages more female participation.
‘With this year’s theme being #EmbraceEquity, we take great pride in being an ambassador and role model in our industry. We go beyond just equal opportunities to pro-actively collaborate with everyone, to ensure that our talented women have every possible resource at their disposal and are given all the required support to succeed both professionally and personally,’ said M. Zulficar Ghouse, Managing Director- Ex-Pack Corrugated Cartons PLC
Ex-Pack has long been engaged with providing equal career opportunities, and both men and women
are respected, rewarded and compensated equally. The company also has an open-door policy for all employees. Women empowerment stems directly from the top leadership, recognizing that women and their strengths are crucial to both the company and the overall economy.
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