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Siam City Cement Group and IUCN Continue Partnership to Support SCCC Group’s Sustainability Ambition 2030 and Biodiversity Conservation in Asia

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Siam City Cement Group (SCCC Group) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) extended their partnership for another three years by formalizing a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently to support the implementation of the INSEE Sustainability Ambition 2030 targeting Net Positive Impact (NPI) on biodiversity at sites where SCCC Group operates.

The goal of the partnership is to avoid and minimize biodiversity loss to the maximum extent possible. Over the next three years, SCCC Group and IUCN will cooperate to design and implement biodiversity offsets to compensate for any unavoidable impacts of SCCC Group’s quarrying and cement production processes in its plants in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Cambodia, thereby contributing to sector-wide improvements in the cement and related industries in the region.

The MoU was formalized by Aidan Lynam, Group CEO of SCCC Group and Mr. Dindo Campilan, PhD, Regional Director for IUCN Asia and Hub Director for Oceania at the SCCC Group Headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, with country representatives from Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Vietnam joining online.

Aidan Lynam said “Biodiversity has been established as one of the key pillars in INSEE’s Sustainability Ambition 2030, a long-term strategy in which we are committed to actionable targets which are aligned with the business needs. IUCN can therefore play an integral part in challenging and supporting our plans for the achievement of mutually shared objectives.”

During the period of the first MoU (2018-2021), SCCC Group worked with IUCN to reduce biodiversity loss and rehabilitate impacts from its operations. For example, in Sri Lanka, Siam City Cement (Lanka) partnered with IUCN and monitored wildlife to assess the impact of quarry rehabilitation in Aruwakkalu. Sought technical assistance from IUCN coral experts for the coral reef re-propagation project off the coast of Unawatuna, and was selected as a private sector partner to collaborate with IUCN in a reforestation project within the Kanneliya Forest Reserve. In Thailand, Siam City Cement Plc. works with the Bio-Diversity Network Alliance (B-DNA), the country’s first national business and biodiversity platform, coordinated by IUCN, to build business awareness and capacity for sustainability, and to network and collaborate on biodiversity conservation. Vietnam and Cambodia plants too, have carried out similar high impact projects.

“This continued partnership and the integration of biodiversity conservation into the Group Company’s sustainability ambition clearly demonstrates SCCC Group’s true commitment to biodiversity. Together, we can establish the standards and guidelines that offer solutions balancing the needs of society, business and nature.” said Dr. Dindo Campilan.



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Renewable energy producers say they can generate more power if govt and CEB support

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From Left: Manjula Perera, Wind Power Developers Association Secretary, Thusitha Peiris, Small Hydro Power Developers Association President, Lasith Wimalasena, Ground Mounted Solar Developers Association President, Chamil Silva, Bio Energy Developers Association President, Kushan Jayasuriya, Solar Industries Association President.

by Sanath Nanayakkare

In the backdrop of dwindling foreign currency reserves and capacity shortages, the only logical solution for Sri Lanka to take is to adopt renewable energy as the primary source of energy production, Manjula Perera, Secretary of the Wind Power Developers Association said in Colombo yesterday.

He said so speaking at a press conference held at the Hilton Colombo Residencies, convened by the associations of local entrepreneurs who have invested in the development of wind power, small hydro power, ground mounted solar power and bio energy.

Notably, the associations reiterated the fact that they want only the policy support and that they can provide themselves with necessary funding for the projects if the government, CEB and related line ministries act together to remove the bottlenecks which are there for no clear purpose.

“Sri Lanka is currently facing an acute energy crisis, primarily due to the country’s reliance on imported fossil fuel. The solution to this is for the country to move on to more renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, bio-gas, biomass and hydro power. Renewable energy also presents a host of other benefits both socially and economically as well,” Manjula Perera said.

“Renewable energy can be generated using Sri Lanka’s ample natural resources. This would also offer some relief to Sri Lanka’s diminishing foreign reserves as renewable energy does not need to rely on fuel imports,” he noted.

‘However, one of the main issues which the renewable energy sector faces is the government approval process which can take years to complete. This process needs to be streamlined and implemented in an efficient manner as possible. Renewable energy developers also run into a myriad of challenges from the CEB that has delayed approval and grid connections, sometimes attributed to incorrect technical analysis. Bringing correct knowledge and international best practices to the CEB will help sort out these issues,” he pointed out.

Riyaz Sangani, Past President of Hydro Power Developers Association said, “Our goal as the renewable energy sector is to help the government and the people overcome the current energy crisis in the country. We believe that the key to this is to increase co-operation between the government and the private sector. Only then will we be able to successfully overcome all obstacles and make the switch to renewable energy.”

“There are currently a total of 294 private sector renewable energy developer projects which have been commissioned. These projects have combined capacity of 718.334 megawatts (MW). The total number of projects needs to increase drastically, for the country to truly reap the full benefits of renewable energy,” Thusitha Peiris, Small Hydro Power Developers Association President said.

He said that small hydro power projects have been brought to a halt for years now, and today the need is ever more acute for local entrepreneurs to be allowed to restart investing in this sector in a conducive operating environment.

“Another issue that has hampered the success of the renewable energy sector is the importation restrictions imposed on the sector, which has made it difficult to obtain the machinery necessary,” the associations said.

“In addition to the immediate benefits which the country will receive, renewable energy sources also pose less of a risk to the climate and environment. This will help protect the environment and ensure that the country’s development will not be hindered by any environmental issues in the future,” they observed.

“There have been many local and foreign investors who have shown interest in investing in renewable energy for Sri Lanka. These investors need to be shown that it is a worthwhile investment and that hindrances will be minimal. Only then can Sri Lanka overcome its socio-economic woes and continue with development,” they pointed out.

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Cargills Online becomes first ecommerce platform to integrate LANKAQR

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From left: Prabhu Mathavan - Executive Director, Cargills Bank, Roshan Dilruk – Operations Manager, Cargills Online, Asanka Mahanama – Senior Manager - IT, Cargills (Ceylon) PLC, Namal Rajapaksa, Minister of Youth & Sports, Minister of Development Co-ordination and Monitoring and State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development, Yohan Samuel- Delivery Agent, Cargills Online, D Kumaratunge- Assistant Governor, Central bank of Sri Lanka, Asoka Pieris - Managing Director, Cargills Retail, Cargills (Ceylon) PLC and Sanjeewa Premawaradana - General Manger - IT, Cargills (Ceylon) PLC

Cargills Online has become the first and currently the only e-commerce platform in Sri Lanka to integrate LANKAQR for delivery thereby providing greater convenience to its customer base together with its wide merchandise offering. LANKAQR is a project initiative from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to ensure all QR codes and QR based transactions in Sri Lanka are standardized and interoperable.

How many of us have ordered groceries online and not received most of the order? Cargills Online revolutionised the grocery supply chain in Sri Lanka by introducing the dark store to solve this issue. Cargills Online offers the freshest produce and one of the range of products, providing a convenient, hassle-free delivery where customers can order weekly groceries in less than 2 minutes. Deliveries are efficiently carried out by professional delivery agents with consistent on time delivery. The dedicated customer experience team ensures that higher customer satisfaction at all times. In addition to LANKAQR, Cargills Online also offers cash and card on delivery and online payments. Cargills Online can be accessed via the App available on Android & iOS and the website https://cargillsonline.com/. Customers can use the mobile app or visit the website and select LANKAQR as the payment method. When the Cargills team delivers the order, the customer can use any payment app to make the payment using LANKAQR. Even if the payment option is selected as “Card On Delivery” or “Cash On Delivery”, the customer can pay via LANKAQR once the goods arrive.

Namal Rajapaksa – Minister of Youth & Sports, Minister of Development Co-ordination and Monitoring and State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development stated, “Sri Lanka is currently undergoing a revolution as we aim to deploy the latest technology so that we can increase financial inclusion in the country, strengthen trade and drive the economy towards prosperity. I am excited to see Cargills Ceylon coming forward to support us in this national effort. LANKAQR is one such initiative that we have conceptualized with the support of the Central Bank and Lanka Clear. A notable fact is that LANKAQR was entirely developed by using Sri Lankan expertise.”

From left: Senarath Bandara – Managing Director /CEO, Cargills Bank, Ranjit Page – Deputy Chairman / Group CEO, Cargills (Ceylon) PLC, D Kumaratunge – Assistant Governor, Central bank Of Sri Lanka, Ajith Nivard Cabraal – Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Yohan Samuel- Delivery Agent, Cargills Online, Sanjeewa Premawaradana – General Manger / IT, Cargills (Ceylon) PLC, Asanka Mahanama – Senior Manager – IT, Cargills (Ceylon) PLC and Roshan Dilruk – Operations Manager, Cargills Online

Ajith Nivard Cabraal – Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka commented, “The Central Bank of Sri Lanka introduced LANKAQR in partnership with LankaClear to fast track Sri Lanka’s journey towards becoming a cashless society while also boosting financial inclusion. SMEs are the engine of growth in the country and it is important for us to give them all the resources and support necessary to achieve their fullest potential. I thank Cargills Ceylon for joining hands with us to take this technology to its large, island wide customer base.”

Asoka Pieris – Managing Director Cargills Foods Company (Pvt) Ltd, “Cargills’ continued commitment and passion to improve the lives of all Sri Lankans led us to Cargills Online and ensured that customers can continue to purchase groceries at home while still enjoying the supermarket experience. By integrating LANKAQR, our valued customers will have even more flexibility when it comes to paying for their goods. We are proud to be the first and currently the only e-commerce platform in Sri Lanka to integrate LANKAQR for delivery.”

LANKAQR was introduced by the Central Bank together with licensed financial institutions and LankaClear (Pvt) Ltd with the aim of moving Sri Lanka towards a less-cash society and increasing financial inclusion across the country. LANKAQR allows customers to make payments, directly from their bank accounts to accounts of merchants or service providers, using payment apps of LANKAQR certified financial institutions. LANKAQR is a low-cost digital payment solution, which primarily targets small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

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Brantel appointed Sri Lanka distributor for ‘Oukitel’ and ‘Blackview’ smartphones

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Brantel Lanka Limited, the company that built the E-tel mobile phone brand in Sri Lanka, has secured the distributorship of two other smartphone brands that are in popular use in 80 countries worldwide, including in European hotspots.

With the appointment as the authorised distributor for the China manufactured ‘Oukitel’ and ‘Blackview’ smartphones, Brantel will initially retail select models of these warranty-backed phones which are known for their durability, exceptional battery life, high Random Access Memory (RAM) and Read Only Memory (ROM) capacities, superb cameras and the latest features including secure biometric authentication.

With both these brands, Brantel continues with its strategy of providing specifications and performance that match the latest smartphones in the market without the price tag associated with leading global brand names, the Company said.

Among the Oukitel models Brantel Lanka will offer is the C21 which is powered by a P60 octa-core processor that results in maximum operational speed and is known for its pro camera with an unprecedented 20 MP hole punch that enables the taking of high-quality selfies. Another is the entry level Oukitel C19 model which comes in vibrant colours and offers a 6.49-inch immersive HD+ experience in addition to impressive computing power. From Blackview, the company will offer the octa-core 4G fashion smartphone Blackview A90 model in multi colours and the quad camera, ‘budget king’ Blackview A80 Plus model. These models can be purchased at the Brantel showroom, by visiting www.brantelonline.com or its dealers island-wide. Online shoppers can enjoy discounts up to 15% and island-wide delivery, the company said.

Established in 2007, Oukitel is owned by a national high-tech company in China with an advanced and experienced Research & Development team, dedicated production crew, and technical services. Oukitel has a global presence including in countries in Europe, Asia, North and South Americas and has successfully developed over 130 distributors from 60 countries worldwide.

Blackview has an 8,500 square-meter factory in China and its customer base is spread across 80 countries and regions including Russia, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Ukraine, France, Italy, Turkey, Algeria, Colombia and South Africa. It has more than 100 authorised agents in over 80 countries and regions.

Brantel Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. delivers technology and value-added services to more than 2,000 business customers. The Company partners with leading technology brands from around the world to simplify and accelerate sales channels. With expert sales and technical support teams it has serviced its customers for the past 18 years from its branches and dealers island-wide.

Brantel’s range of products from leading global manufacturers include copper and fibre network cables, passive network components, solar inverters, PV modules, point-of-sale thermal printers, and digital smart board solutions. Brantel is also the national distributor for E-tel Mini Computers, Android smartphones, tablets and feature phones and Corning products in Sri Lanka.

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