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Standard Chartered Sri Lanka globally recognised for gender equality with EDGE Certification

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Standard Chartered Sri Lanka has been certified at the second highest level of the three-tiered Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) Certification – “Move: Showcasing Progress”, marking a first for Sri Lanka. The Bank’s EDGE Certification, the process of which was supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) under the IFC-DFAT Women in Work programme, helps recognise its strategic commitment to creating a gender-equal workplace that benefits employees, customers and partners.

Launched at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2011, EDGE, is the leading global assessment methodology and business certification standard for evaluating corporate commitment to gender equality. Supported by IFC, a licensed partner of EDGE Certification, Standard Chartered Bank’s workplace gender equality performance was assessed and evaluated against global and industry benchmarks. This certification recognises the Bank’s People and Diversity & Inclusion Strategy to be a strong and effective institutional framework of policies and practices that showcase progress in equal representation, pay equity and equitable career flows.

Additionally, Standard Chartered offers several programmes that promote equality in the workplace, introducing a fair pay charter, employee support groups and mentoring programmes among others which led to achieving 50:50 gender balance in the workforce, 100% maternity return rates and 50% new women recruits. The Bank’s participation in the two-year IFC-DAFT Women in Work, SheWorks partnership, further enhanced these endeavours.

In some of the key highlights noted during the validation process, Standard Chartered was highly commended on areas such as equal access to leadership development opportunities, strong framework of policies and procedures, inclusivity of the work environment, balanced gender composition in management positions and flexible work conditions.

Bingumal Thewarathanthri, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Sri Lanka, commenting on the Bank being certified at the EDGE Move level said, “In an ever-changing corporate world, where competitiveness among firms have reached new heights and as the world moves towards adapting new ways of working, we at Standard Chartered continuously strive to ensure equality among our workforce, which is our greatest asset. We believe investing in the wellbeing of our workforce promotes empowerment and aids our employees to passionately engage in assigned duties. Therefore, this internationally recognised accreditation marks a significant milestone in our global journey towards positioning Standard Chartered as a thought leader for gender equality.”

Ransi Dharmasiriwardhana, Head of Human Resources & Country Chair, Diversity & Inclusion, Standard Chartered Sri Lanka stated, “At Standard Chartered Sri Lanka, we take great pride in our strong Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) culture, it is in our DNA and at the heart of our business. I am so proud that Standard Chartered Sri Lanka is one of two markets in our entire global network to have received this certification, a clear indication of the unique culture we have in Sri Lanka. Our success is driven by our exclusive benefits, robust systems, cutting edge policies and comprehensive procedures at all stages of the employee life cycle which has enabled a strong platform for equal opportunities, strong performance and professional growth for all our employees irrespective of their differences. We will continue the implementation of these best practices and build on the existing great work environment that promotes, empowers and most importantly takes care of our people!”

“Strengthening women’s role in the workplace not only helps to unlock opportunities for increased business impacts for a company, but also paves the way for economic growth and development in a country. For Sri Lanka, there is no better time for it than now as we work towards a resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Victor Antonypillai, Acting Country Manager for IFC Sri Lanka and Maldives. “We are delighted that Standard Chartered Bank – an IFC SheWorks Sri Lanka partner – is moving towards this direction by stepping up their efforts in promoting an equal and inclusive workplace. We believe that this feat will encourage more Sri Lankan companies to commit to gender equal workplaces in the future.”

Further to being Great Place to Work® certified for the third consecutive year in 2021, the Bank was recently named one of the 10 ‘Best Workplaces™ for Women in Sri Lanka’ for implementing multiple initiatives to support the advancement of women in the workplace.



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Passport Office collaborates with banks to boost international monetary transfers from migrants

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Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal hands over a new account to a young migrant worker which he opened at the new HNB counter at the Passport Office yesterday, where Jonathan Alles, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of HNB was present. Pic by Thushara Athapaththu

by Sanath Nanayakkare

People’s Bank, National Savings Bank , Sampath Bank, Hatton National Bank and Commercial Bank of Sri Lanka yesterday established new banking counters at the Department of Immigration and Emigration, at ‘Suhurupaya’, Battaramulla.

The initiative is intended support the Central Bank’s ongoing effort to boost the country’s foreign reserves by offering migrant workers access for safe, official remittance channels from the time they obtain new passports or renew their passports for international jobs.

Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka who was the chief guest of the opening ceremony said,” A lot of Sri Lankans go overseas for jobs and send their hard-earned money to Sri Lanka. Sometimes they face various issues when remitting money. So we thought we should provide the opportunity for them to open an account as they obtain their passports at the passport office which they can operate with greater ease and trust when sending money to their families from abroad. The Controller of Immigration and Emigration, his staff, the officials at the Central Bank and at other relevant banks worked in unison to establish their counters here just within a week. This shows that government institutions can collaborate with the private sector and quickly accomplish any task for the benefit of the country and its people. Our hard-working migrant workforce will enjoy the convenience and reliability of this service. As a result of it, more foreign money will flow into the country and the nation will reap benefits from it,” he said.

Workers’ remittances have been a key pillar of Sri Lanka’s foreign currency earnings that has nearly 100 per cent of domestic value addition, providing a substantial cushion for external sector resilience of the country. Workers’ remittances have covered around 80 per cent of the annual trade deficit over the past two decades, and strengthening remittances inflows to the country brings several socio-economic benefits including the smooth supply of forex inflows to the formal banking system.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka established a new department named ‘Foreign Remittances Facilitation Department’ with effect from November 3, 2021 to facilitate and streamline workers’ remittances inflows to the country.

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SLT-MOBITEL powered SLIOT Challenge 2020 and IESL RoboGames 2020 fostering innovation

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SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT, Telecommunications and Mobile Services Provider was the proud sponsor of SLIoT Challenge 2020 and IESL RoboGames 2020, championing innovation in Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics to reward and further develop a pipeline of tech talent and critical skills among Sri Lanka’s youth. The winners of the competitions were honoured at a special ceremony held recently.

SLIoT Challenge 2020 and IESL RoboGames 2020 was a collaborative effort between SLT-MOBITEL, the Department of Computer Science & Engineering of the University of Moratuwa and the IT and Computer Engineering Sectional Committee of Institution of Engineers of Sri Lanka (IESL). Recognising the value of promoting digital inclusion among youth and to develop new generation technology concepts, SLT-MOBITEL sponsored the event for the fourth consecutive year. Both competitions encourage technological innovation among youth which in turn provides avenues for SLT-MOBITEL to capitalize on its futuristic thinking towards a connected future.

The SLIoT Challenge 2020 theme centred around the current pandemic ‘Overcoming COVID-19 with IoT’ and over 77 submissions were received. SLT-MOBITEL comprehends that IoT is being widely embraced with the number of connected devices growing rapidly. SLT-MOBITEL recognizes that driving an IoT competition for Sri Lankan youth allows students to unleash their potential in the IoT domain and acts as a gateway to support the country’s evolution towards digital transformation.

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Akshata launches unique new tea blends

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Akshata brand, a pioneer in promoting health and wellness the traditional way presents herbal tea alongside honey/jaggery as an alternative to sugar, redefining tea consumption.

Akshata ‘Ranawara’ herbal tea which promotes clear skin and health benefits for the body is dedicated to Queen Soma Devi who was acclaimed for her beauty, bravery, and sacrifice to save King Valagamba in 77 BC.

Managing Director of Grains N Green, Roshan Perera says, “In addition to the myriad of health benefits, consumers are encouraged to experience a taste of nostalgia with each sip of Akshata herbal tea. Today’s health-conscious consumers increasingly buy items that support their nutrition and fitness. Sugar is no longer included in this list due to its negative impact on one’s health. That’s why we have introduced healthy alternatives for sugar. Putting honey or jaggery in tea is a much healthier choice than using sugar as it does not raise blood sugar levels as quickly, and with our product you can get the tea as well as

the sweeteners all in one pack. This saves time, money, and is a healthier alternative to drinking tea with sugar.”

Akshata herbal tea with bees honey/Jaggery is available at Spar and Glomark supermarkets and can also purchase online at askshatastore.com

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