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ComBank wins Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2021

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Commercial Bank Managing Director/Group CEO S. Renganathan (second from left) receives the award from the Chief Guest, Norwegian Ambassador Ms Trine Jøranli Eskedal. Also in the picture (from left) are Commercial Bank’s Group Chief Marketing Officer Hasrath Munasinghe, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman Vish Govindasamy, the Bank’s Chief Operating Officer Sanath Manatunge and Assistant General Manager Services Chinthaka Darmasena.

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC was declared Sri Lanka’s ‘Best Corporate Citizen’ in 2021 by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) on Tuesday night, achieving the pinnacle of recognition for sustainability and good corporate citizenship in the country’s corporate sector.

The coveted ‘Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2021’ was presented to Sri Lanka’s benchmark bank at an awards gala attended by the cream of corporate Sri Lanka, in recognition of the Bank’s status as the sustainable champion of the local corporate world.

Commercial Bank also won the award for the Finance sector at the awards for ‘Sector Based Sustainability Champions,’ the ‘Governance’ certificate in the category awards for ‘Consistent Commitment and Continuous Improvement’ and was second runner-up for the newly-introduced award for ‘Demonstrated Resilient Practices for COVID-19 Context,’ in addition to receiving an award for being among the Top 10 Best Corporate Citizens in Sri Lanka.

“Sustainability is the cornerstone of our corporate ethos and influences everything we do,” Commercial Bank Managing Director and Group CEO S. Renganathan commented. “This is demonstrated by the fact that we are Sri Lanka’s first fully carbon neutral bank. Commercial Bank is therefore elated to win the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award for 2021. This will be a stimulus for an even deeper commitment to best practices in sustainability at every employee level.”

The Finance sector award recognises Commercial Bank’s position as the most progressive banking institution in the country and its commitment to preserving the environment through responsible lending protocols. The Bank’s multifaceted 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.

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. The Bank has also achieved the momentous feat of becoming the largest lender to the SME sector and is a leader in digital innovation in the country’s banking sector.



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John Keells launches Digital Learning Initiative to support online education of school children

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John Keells Foundation (JKF) launched the pilot of John Keells Praja Shakthi Digital Learning Initiative on 11th November 2021 in Ranala. As a medium-term response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project aims to facilitate online based learning of disadvantaged school children who are preparing for public examinations in the midst of the pandemic and mitigate the increase in inequalities in accessing educational opportunities.

The pilot project involves the distribution of a total of 100 Samsung A8 tabs and data packages to selected O’Level and A’Level students in John Keells Praja Shakthi locations in Colombo 2 and Ranala for the duration of the respective course of study. JKF is partnered in this initiative by Deutsche Bank as co-funder and John Keells Office Automation (JKOA) and Dialog Axiata PLC as suppliers of devices and data packages respectively at concessionary rates. Elephant House was the logistics partner for the Ranala event.

During the simple event held at the Elephant House Factory in Ranala in compliance with COVID-19 protocols, 50 tabs were distributed to selected O’Level students from four government schools, namely, Dedigamuwa K.V, Dewamitta M.V, Munidasa Kumarathunga Vidyalaya and Philip Thilakawardhane M.V.

Addressing the gathering, JKF’s Head of Operations, Ms. Carmeline Jayasuriya said, “John Keells Foundation decided to initiate this project taking into account the numerous hardships faced by school children, especially in examination years, to pursue their education amidst the pandemic including school closures and the challenges in accessing online education due to the unaffordability of devices and data. We are delighted to be partnered by responsible corporates such as Deutsche Bank, JKOA and Dialog Axiata in this pilot initiative. Whilst all of us consider this as an investment on the education of our youth, we firmly hope that you, the beneficiary students, will optimize this opportunity to pursue your educational endeavours responsibly.”

The event was also graced by Chathura Mihidum, Divisional Secretary, Kaduwela, Ms. Anuradha Samarakoon, Divisional Education Director, Ranala, Daminda Gamlath, John Keells Group President – Consumer Foods, Sanjeewa Jayasundara, CCS’ Head of Operations – Supply Chain, Pasan Jayasinghe – Vice President Deutsche Bank and Harsha De Zoysa – Senior Sector Manager, Large Enterprise, Dialog Axiata PLC.

The distribution to Colombo students took place on 22nd November at Cinnamon Grand, the logistics partner for the event.

The project is designed so that tabs will be re-pooled after the completion of the recipients’ study course to benefit another cohort of deserving students. To ensure the due use of the device and enhance the impact of this intervention, JKF will be monitoring the educational progress of the students through the school principals as well as backend mechanisms.

John Keells Praja Shakthi is a sustainable community empowerment project initiated by JKF in and around the John Keells Group’s business locations through strategic interventions. The multistakeholder collaboration on the new project is a testament to the strength of partnerships in empowering communities through sustainable initiatives.

Education is one of the six focus areas of John Keells Foundation – the CSR entity of John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH), a company listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange operating over 70 companies in 7 diverse industry sectors. With a history of over 150 years, John Keells Group provides employment to over 14,000 persons and has been ranked as Sri Lanka’s ‘Most Respected Entity’ for the last 16 Years by LMD Magazine. Whilst being a full member of the World Economic Forum and a Participant of the UN Global Compact, JKH drives its CSR vision of “Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow” through John Keells Foundation and through the social entrepreneurship initiative,

‘Plasticcycle’, which is a catalyst in significantly reducing plastic pollution in Sri Lanka.

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Brandix secures 7th Exporter of the Year Award

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Leading Sri Lankan apparel manufacturer Brandix was named ‘Exporter of the Year’ for the 7th time, winning the Award for 2019/20 at the 24th Presidential Export Awards 2019/20 and 2020/21. Organised by the Export Development Board, the event was held under the patronage of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The company celebrated the collective effort of its 60,000 Associates in cementing its position as the highest contributor to the national economy across all categories of exports during this period.

In addition to the title award for the year 2019/20, Brandix’s other awards included ‘Contributor from the Regions to the Export Supply Chain’, ‘Best Performing Exporter in Emerging Markets’ and the Sectoral Award for ‘Best Exporter Award – Apparel – Large Category’. For the period of 2020/21, the company also secured the Overall Award for ‘Contributor from the Regions to the Export Supply Chain’ award. Moreover, Brandix’s joint venture partner InQube Global was recognized with an Overall Award for the first time as the ‘Emerging Exporter of the Year’ for 2019/20.

Ashroff Omar, Group Chief Executive Officer, Brandix expressed gratification for the recognition. “Brandix’s DNA includes our values of respect, integrity, teamwork, and excellence and we believe that this inspires our team of 60,000 employees to deliver inspired solutions to world-renowned brands every day. We owe our success to the many hands and innovative minds that have shaped Brandix to be the leader in apparel it is today, and we are humbled to be able to support the national economy while uplifting livelihoods of thousands and driving sustainable development in the process.”

The Presidential Export Awards are the most prestigious awards presented by the President to exporters in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the export sector and to the economic development of the country. The Awards for the year 2019/20 and 2020/21 were presented in two main categories with 12 overall awards, as well as 53 sectoral awards for products and services for each financial year.

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Dialog Enterprise extends Smart Fleet Management Solution to Perera & Sons 

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Keeping abreast with the very latest digitisation developments in supply chain management, Dialog Enterprise, the corporate solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, extended Smart Fleet, a practical solution for fleet management to Perera and Sons (P&S).

Dialog’s Smart Fleet solution enables the monitoring of key environmental conditions and also vehicle telematics ensuring the safety of goods, the fleet and the staff. Equipped with temperature sensors, real-time data is made available for monitoring and decision making. The solution is a Global Positioning System (GPS) driven, cost-effective IoT solution providing end-to-end visibility to the entire transportation process by gathering diagnostics and operating information from commercial vehicles.

Smart Fleet facilitates scheduling and monitoring of the entire order delivery process, with the possibility of assigning upcoming jobs/orders based on real-time vehicle availability. Its geofencing feature ensures that the fleet remains within specified boundaries, with alerts enabled for notification if and when vehicles move out of allotted boundaries and reach high-risk or locked down areas during the pandemic, while real-time system alerts are triggered in the event of an emergency or if the vehicle deviates from its assigned task.

“We are happy to support Perera & Sons to further augment their operations with the very latest in technology to ensure safety and reliability. This marks the first step in creating a smarter operational eco-system at P&S using our analytics-led suite of Smart solutions. Dialog Smart Fleet enables them to manage, monitor and improve the efficiency of their commercial fleets, while collecting and analysing data to optimise resources in pursuit of increased productivity”, said Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Executive of Dialog Axiata PLC.

“We maintain a relentless focus on keeping our supply chain as efficient as possible. The pandemic brought about a paradigm shift which we are also adapting to. Our vision has always been to adapt to changing times and so we hope that we will make the best of this strategic partnership with Dialog Enterprise in successfully managing our fleet and protecting our goods and thereby providing our customers with the best of service. We foresee this Smart Fleet solution contributing significantly in helping us move forward efficiently with our vision”, said P&S’s Managing Director Gihan Perera, a fourth-generation member of the family-owned enterprise.

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