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ComBank once again awarded as the South Asian Bank with the largest number of climate finance transactions



Commercial Bank’s Managing Director/ CEO Sanath Manatunge (second from left) receives the award from the IFC’s FIG Portfolio Manager for South Asia  Joon Young Park in the presence of Commercial Bank’s Chief Operating Officer S. Prabagar (extreme left) and IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka Alejandro Alvarez de la Campa.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has reaffirmed Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s status as the South Asian financial institution to record the highest number of climate finance transactions in fiscal year 2022, awarding Sri Lanka’s benchmark private sector bank the prestigious Climate Assessment for Financial Institutions (CAFI) award in respect of the year.

The CAFI Award for climate reporting was conferred on Commercial Bank for successfully completing 314 climate finance transactions that met IFC’s climate eligibility criteria. The CAFI tool was used to assess climate eligibility and measure the climate impact of investments.

The only Sri Lankan bank to be accorded this accolade, Commercial Bank won the same award for fiscal year 2021 as well, alongside the climate impact award that acknowledged the Bank’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction.

Commenting on this recognition, Commercial Bank Managing Director/CEO Sanath Manatunge said: “This award positions Commercial Bank as a consistent leader in climate financing and attests to our commitment to sustainable financing which is at the heart of responsible banking. We will continue to promote sustainable economic growth in this region and address challenges posed by climate change through our green financing and climate financing initiatives.”

IFC’s Global Director – Financial Institution Group Tomasz Telma said: “We are pleased to recognise our clients’ dedication and transparency in reporting their climate investments. CAFI is a critical platform for reporting progress in the fight against climate change by linking finance to impact which ensures that the financial services industry can measure and quantify the climate impact of their investments using transparent and globally recognized methodologies.”

IFC awarded Commercial Bank after tracking data on climate financing submitted by its clients in the South Asia region using CAFI – a digital, web-based platform introduced by IFC to help banks and other financial institutions assess climate eligibility and to measure the development impact of the projects they finance. Commercial Bank uploads data on its green projects and green loans and leases granted to the CAFI platform as a practice. Using CAFI, the Bank can verify whether a project meets internationally agreed-upon criteria for climate finance and ensure that climate metrics and eligibility criteria stay in line with IFC’s definitions for climate-related activities and the common principles for climate mitigation finance tracking.

The Bank finances projects that focus on renewable energy, energy and resource efficiency, waste management, emission reductions, smart agriculture, green buildings among others under its Green Financing activities. The Bank’s Green Financing is geared towards the fight against climate change, meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 7 and 12: Affordable and Clean Energy, and Responsible Consumption and Production.

Commercial Bank was a pioneer in adopting a social and environmental screening process in its lending activities and was the first bank in Sri Lanka to develop a Green Financing taxonomy. It also revolutionised digital banking by introducing features in its ‘Flash’ mobile application to measure and offset customer impact on the environment.

IFC introduced the CAFI Climate Impact Awards in 2021 to recognise, by region, the financial institutions that have achieved the largest disbursements, largest expected GHG reductions, highest number of climate finance transactions booked, and those that exceeded their transaction target by the largest percentage. The CAFI Awards acknowledge IFC financial sector clients’ investments going into climate activities and the responsibility shown to report on their climate commitments.

To date, IFC clients have used CAFI to report more than US$ 9.9 billion of climate loans disbursed; annual avoidance of more than 24.7 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions; 41.4 terawatt hours of renewable energy generated; 2.4 million square meters of green area built; and 2.3 million cubic meters of water saved.

Commercial Bank’s Green 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. A mangrove restoration project in Koggala and a marine turtle conservation initiative in Panama are further examples of the Bank’s commitment to environmental conservation. The Bank has also funded the reforestation of a 100-hectare swath of degraded habitat belonging to the Kandegama forest in the Dimbulagala range of the Polonnaruwa District.

Commercial Bank is Sri Lanka’s first 100% carbon neutral bank, the first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for 12 years consecutively. The Bank operates a network of 269 branches and 943 automated machines in Sri Lanka. Commercial Bank is the largest lender to Sri Lanka’s SME sector and is a leader in digital innovation in the country’s Banking sector. The Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.


Oil prices rise as Saudi Arabia pledges output cuts – Opec+




(picture BBC)

Oil-producing countries have agreed to continued cuts in production in a bid to shore up flagging prices.

Saudi Arabia said it would make cuts of a million barrels per day (bpd) in July and Opec+ said targets would drop by a further 1.4 million bpd from 2024.

Opec+ accounts for around 40% of the world’s crude oil and its decisions can have a major impact on oil prices.

In Asia trade on Monday, Brent crude oil rose by as much as 2.4% before settling at around $77 a barrel.

The seven hour-long meeting on Sunday of the oil-rich nations, led by Russia, came against a backdrop of falling energy prices.

Total production cuts, which Opec+ has undertaken since October 2022, reached 3.66 million bpd, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

Opec+, a formulation which refers to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, had already agreed to cut production by two million bpd, about 2% of global demand.


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Manpower services agency wins accolades for its contribution to foreign employment sector



Siraj Cafoor, Managing Director of Siraj Manpower Services receives the award

Its MD says. ‘go abroad only if you can work hard’

Siraj Manpower Services, one of Sri Lanka’s leading foreign employment agencies, was honoured with the Three-Star Award at the ‘Golden Awards’ 2023, organised by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE). This award ceremony was organised to honour foreign employment agencies that have made a significant contribution to the development of the foreign employment sector, which is a major source of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka. Siraj Cafoor, Managing Director of Siraj Manpower Services, was presented with the award at the award ceremony which was held at the BMICH in Colombo under the patronage of Minister of Foreign Employment and Labour Manusha Nanayakkara.

Having been established in 2002, Siraj Manpower Services ( has earned a reputation in the field of foreign employment by winning the trust of customers for more than 20 years. It has been offering job opportunities in the Middle East countries such as Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia as housekeepers, drivers, sanitation workers, labourers and also jobs related to the apparel industry. All these workers are entitled to approved salary scales certified by the SLBFE.

“We always stand for the safety of workers who go abroad through our organisation. We work to solve the problems that arise in relation to the contracts that the workers have entered into. I must mention something special to those who go abroad for employment. That is, you should keep in mind that you go abroad only to work. Go abroad only if you can work hard. You have to remember that you are going abroad to earn some more money and achieve the advancement of your family.” said Siraj Cafoor.

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Direct flights between Istanbul and Katunayake to commence from August



A special discussion between Turkish Ambassador – Demet Sekercioglu and Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation – Nimal Siripala de Silva took place last week at the ministry office. The aim of the discussion was to seek authorization to commence direct flights from the Turkish Capital Istanbul to Katunayake, Sri Lanka. The Chief of Turkish Airlines’ South Asia Office Fathi Bozkurt was also present during the discussion.

Currently, Turkish Airlines connects with Sri Lanka through a route that includes a stopover in the Maldives, resulting in an additional travel time of one and a half hours. The delay caused by this routing is not favored by travelers, as emphasized by the Ambassador.

The Chief of Turkish Airlines requested for time and space to be allocated in order to initiate direct flights between Istanbul and Katunaike, thus providing convenience for Turkish tourists and travelers who prefer visit Sri Lanka.

The Minister announced that the request would be forwarded to the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka and the Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited. The aim is to establish direct flights between Istanbul and Katunayake starting from August this year.

Turkish Airlines, a renowned airline with a fleet of over 100 aircraft, offers flights connecting Europe’s Vancouver and New York. The Chief of Turkish Airlines said that the new service would not only benefit European travelers but also encourage them to travel to Sri Lanka.

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