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Hayleys Group launches flagship project ‘Kirulu’ to lead biodiversity conservation efforts

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Iconic diversified Sri Lankan conglomerate Hayleys PLC announced the successful completion of Phase I in its flagship biodiversity conservation initiative ‘Kirulu’, focused on restoring biological ecosystems and preserving natural habitats within High Conservation Value Areas (HCVAs).

The project’s first phase led by the Hayleys Plantations sector’s Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC (TTEL), a driving force of the Group’s historic biodiversity preservation agenda, is focused on ecosystem restoration and maintaining biological corridors across the hill country. Following an initial tree-planting programme of 1,000 saplings, TTEL will use GPS mapping to analyze ecosystems and ecological behavior at identified sites, and ensure the sustenance of plant nurseries and field projects while monitoring progress through frequent biodiversity assessments.

Hayleys Group CFO and Head of Group Sustainability, Choliya De Silva said: “In August 2021, the UN Report on Climate Change 2021 warned of a ‘code red for humanity’ highlighting significant environmental disruptions across the globe. A month later, the World Economic Forum called out the need for significant work to be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reverse biodiversity loss and invest in renewable energy and climate financing.

“Sri Lanka is blessed with rich, vibrant ecosystems. Project Kirulu is our united, integrated commitment as a Group to leverage our business synergies and diverse network of talented sustainability representatives towards protecting these indigenous and threatened species. There is no better time to come together to shape a greener future for our nation and support global biodiversity commitments.”

The second phase of the project is set to expand biodiversity conservation to adjacent areas of importance, including rainforest reservations and waterfall ecosystems and will see more Hayleys Group companies uniting to drive momentum around conservation efforts.

As the project’s technical partner, the Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka will offer advisory services, while the University of Wayamba will engage its students to conduct annual biodiversity assessments of areas covered under the project.

“We are pleased to join hands with our valued partners, and nine Hayleys Group Sectors, to conserve and support our nation’s rich ecosystems. We have set an ambitious target for 2030 to enhance biodiversity in areas spanning five times the size of the area occupied by the Hayleys Group sites today, and Kirulu is one way of taking this blueprint to reality,” De Silva explained.

Notably, these biodiversity conservation efforts by Sri Lanka’s largest diversified conglomerate supports Sri Lanka’s pledge to the “Bonn Challenge” to restore 200,000 hectares of degraded and deforested land as part of a global 2030 target of 350 million hectares.

Today, biodiversity conservation forms a key part of the Hayleys Group’s ESG framework in addressing environmental sustainability. In 2020 Hayleys Plantations became the first plantations business globally to officially commit to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Sector has established biological corridors to develop a self-sustaining model for ecosystem restoration by connecting agricultural land with natural forests.

Hayleys Fabric, the Group’s textile manufacturing pioneer, led conservation efforts by voluntarily reserving close to 9 acres of wetland and 20 acres of rubber estate adjoining its site as respective Green Belt and Wetland Biodiversity Zones under the guidance of the Central Environment Authority in the last financial year. Teams spanning the diverse world of Hayleys have also engaged in efforts to plant 44,500 saplings during the same period in partnership with community organisations and external stakeholders.

A centerpiece of the Sri Lankan economy, the Hayleys Group maintains a global presence across five regions with business interests spanning a total of 16 diverse sectors. Accounting for USD 600 million of the country’s foreign earnings and 4.2% of the nation’s total export income, Hayleys is a champion of sustainable innovation, and represents one of Sri Lanka’s most prominent success stories.



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‘Dollar reserves in SL plummet drastically, putting the economy in jeopardy‘

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Key personnel at CNCI forum

By Steve A. Morrell

Sri Lanka’s dollar reserves have declined from $ 7.15 billion in 2019 to $ 2.8 billion currently. The President conceded economic failures although reasons for such failure were not explained, chairman, National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) Canisius Fernando said.

Fernando added recently at a forum: “Forex reserves are insufficient to expedite payment of import bills. More so that cost incurred on container traffic for imports and or exports was on a rising spiral. In comparison to cost of container shipping recorded at $ 2,800 earlier, it is now $ 12,000, indicating a rise in multiples of 250.

“Additionally, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP +) affecting our trade with EU countries, placed Sri Lanka’s reputation at a risk, meaning that countries could veer away from Sri Lanka prompted by a possible inability to honor our trade commitments. The clear example being trade with the US. Rather than await goods and services transactions with Sri Lanka, that could invariably take three months, US economists and their trade sector opted to transact trade with countries in close proximity to US shores.

“Dearth of container traffic and rising cost for on- loading and off- loading of cargo seriously affect trade imbalances. Consequently, the credit worthiness of the Sri Lankan economy is affected, which in turn seriously affects the GDP.

“Worker wages which were static because of trade shut- downs caused demands for increased wages. Wage demands of Rs 1,500 from employees became a major phenomenon in most sectors. The question at issue was the hypothetical position of business establishments of about 4000 employees demanding increased wages. This would cause closure of those companies resulting in unemployment.

“The proverbial domino effect of such repercussions would cause further chaos in the economy.

“There was no proper policy in most sectors. Suspension of the import of fertilizer and consequent confusion would, in the short run, result in famine and food shortages. Already this was evident in the public panic caused by having to stand in line to purchase essentials. That the crisis is upon us and the question of a quick solution is not feasible in the current context of the economy.

“Foreign investors are lured by the possibility of cheap labour in Sri Lanka to establish their businesses here, but in this instance too, this is only a hypothetical situation but not the reality.”

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Supuni Products gives back by way of welfare initiative, helps to uplift the needy patients with chronic illnesses

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Supuni Products first started in 2016 when the business proprietor, Supuni Lakmalie along with her husband only had Rs. 150 as investment. With that small amount, they purchased kollu (lentils) and kurakkan and ground them using a grindstone. This was the beginning for them and today, Supuni Products is a booming enterprise that specializes in ground spices and cereal, operating from the town of Nildandahinna, Walapane. Their products are of very high quality and 100% natural and consists of 15 different spice and cereal products including chilli, coriander, turmeric, pepper, curry powder, kurakkan, lentil (kollu) etc.

In 2018, Supuni Products received the opportunity to supply kurakkan flour and cereal to be included into the Poshana Malla, which is a nutrition package prepared for pregnant women, instigated by the government. The success of their business was such that they were able to gain an equity of over Rs. Four million during the past three years.

As part of a welfare initiative, they have also pledged to allocate one rupee for every kilogram of product sold, towards supporting patients with financial difficulties and require emergency surgery and for those with chronic diseases. While having had to run a business in the confines of their own home, the grant offering they received from the enterprise project allowed them to complete construction work of their new factory. She now hopes to expand the business, improve their supply chain, and create new employment opportunities.

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Dialog Enterprise offers Dell Technologies Cloud IaaS in Sri Lanka

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Dialog Enterprise, the corporate solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, is working with Dell Technologies Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) in Sri Lanka to offer Dell Technologies Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions to customers to innovate and scale rapidly, reduce costs and increase performance of business-critical infrastructure.

“Together, with our combined forces, we bring the only hybrid multi-cloud partnership in the country, giving access to private clouds as well as to our existing public cloud, and for on-premises infrastructure, robustly powered by Dell Technologies and VMWare. Envisioning a one-stop multiservice solution for all enterprise requirements, we strive continuously to keep to the changing landscape strengthening the cloud play in the arena,” said Navin Pieris, the Vice President – Enterprise Business and Large Enterprise Sales, Dialog Axiata PLC.

Rather than making capital investments in hardware, storage and servers to maintain them, enterprises can harness and scale IaaS resources when needed, paying only for infrastructure services they consume. Mitigating and allowing for any threat of data loss, the cloud partnership also offers cyber recovery as a service with a guaranteed uptime of 99.95%, end-to-end management of data centers and 24×7 support with zero operational burden on the customer. Ensuring the same standardization, self-service, automation and analytics capabilities that exist in the public cloud, the partnership facilitates secure private clouds for customers along with servers, storage and customized enterprise, private and/or public cloud solutions as required by enterprises.

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