by Sanath Nanayakkare
The Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK Sri Lanka) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF Sri Lanka) recently launched a timely initiative in Sri Lanka named ‘Sustainable supply chains as driver for global competitiveness’.This initiative will help Sri Lankan companies to have broader and easier market access to the EU by adhering to EU’s strictly documented compliance with certain sustainability standards related to social and environmental aspects.
The programme is designed to raise awareness of Sri Lankan exporters on the need for sustainability related documentation in order to increase global competitiveness of Sri Lankan products and services to gain broader market access to not only the EU but to the US market as well.The initiative will comprise a series of training sessions, assessments and certification especially targeting the sectors of apparel/textile, rubber, and food/agriculture.
The Consultancy of former Human Rights Commissioner of the German government Markus Loening will train representatives of the Sri Lankan companies on how to comply with global and EU related sustainability standards. In fact, many Sri Lankan companies already comply with these standards but are unaware of the requirement of formal documentation.
MAS Holdings COO Shirendra Lawrence, the keynote speaker of the event explained how absolute compliance with sustainability standards helped MAS become the largest apparel company in South Asia as well as a global leader.Ambassador Denis Chaibi- Head of EU Mission to Sri Lanka and the Maldives speaking at the event underlined the importance of the ongoing regulation process on sustainability standards in the EU and its member countries. He said that Sri Lankan exporters can export a wide range of products to the EU duty-free under the EU’s GSP+ trade facility, subject to its human rights, environment, labour, social and other stipulated standards.German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka Chief Delegate Andreas Hergenroether said, “Through this programme, we want to support Sri Lankan exporters to obtain broader market access to EU. Today sustainability standards are a top priority in the minds of the consumers in the EU countries. Maybe they are partially politically driven, but they are also more and more customer and industry driven. Besides the existing official legally binding standards, European importers require more and more consumer driven standards like Fairtrade, Compliance +, Good Manufacturing Practices, etc.”Hubertus von Welck, Head of Friedrich Naumann Foundation Sri Lanka emphasised the need to restart the economy and overcome the adverse impacts of the pandemic.
“For this we will support Sri Lanka. We will support your export-driven entrepreneurship to strengthen their compliance standards set out in the ‘UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’. This will help Sri Lankan products and services to be well- accepted in the markets of advanced economies and thereby increase Sri Lanka’s export earnings,” he said.
HNB partners Hayleys Agri for offers on Kubota, Agrotech, Farmtrac agriculture machinery
(from left) Hayleys Agriculture Sales Manager Sunil Gamini, Hayleys Agriculture General Manager Sumith Herath, Hayleys Agriculture Director Lushan Abesekara, Hayleys Agriculture Director Amjad Rajap and Hayleys Agriculture Managing Director Jayanthi Dharmasena with HNB Deputy General Manager- Retail and SME Banking Sanjay Wijemanne, HNB Head of Micro Finance Vinodh Fernando, HNB Head of Personal Financial Services Kanchana Karunagama, HNB Head of Leasing Niluka Amarasinghe, HNB Assistant Manager- Leasing Roshan de Silva and HNB Business Development Executive- HNB Leasing Mahesh Ratnayake.
HNB PLC, renewed its partnership with leading agricultural machinery and equipment supplier Hayleys Agriculture, to offer customers convenient leasing solutions and attractive benefits for Kubota, Agrotech and Farmtrac range of machinery.
The partnership which offers HNB customers special rates on tractors, transplanters and harvesters was inked at a ceremony held at Hayleys Head Office. HNB Deputy General Manager- Retail and SME Banking Sanjay Wijemanne and Hayleys Agriculture Managing Director Jayanthi Dharmasena graced the ceremony as guests of honor.
“Last year was especially challenging for us all. However, we have continued to work tirelessly to provide our customers with the best possible deals available in the market. As such, we hope that entrepreneurs in the agricultural industry will make use of this offer to strengthen and expand their businesses,” HNB Head of Personal Financial Services Kanchana Karunagama said.
Virtusa sponsors first virtual IEEE Sri Lanka robotics workshop
The Arduino compatible ZUMO 32U4 robot interfaced using ROS during the workshop
Virtusa Corporation (NASDAQ GS: VRTU), a global provider of digital strategy, digital engineering, and IT services and solutions that help clients change and disrupt markets through innovation engineering, sponsored the first in a series of ‘Workshop’ branded events organized by IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) Sri Lanka Section Chapter in partnership with IEEE Sri Lanka Section.
Anchored to an alliance that goes back a number of years, Virtusa and the IEEE RAS Sri Lanka Section Chapter moved away from the traditional ‘Meetup’ to host a full day virtual workshop, offering a unique opportunity for participants to engage with robotics and automation experts on a virtual platform. An introduction to Robot Operating System (ROS) – the workshop explored the fundamentals of ROS including robot theory, perception, navigation and manipulation, followed by hands-on sessions on ROS basics, as well as moving and manipulating robots online.
“Moving away from the physical auditorium set-up to a virtual platform, we were extremely thrilled with the participation we saw during the full-day workshop,” commented Dr. Peshala Jayasekara, Senior Lecturer – Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering, University of Moratuwa, lead presenter at the workshop. “Over 120 students, undergraduates, postgraduates, academia and industry stakeholders enthusiastically engaged and invested their day to successfully complete the workshop with an IEEE Technical Sponsorship, one of the highest recognitions in the world.”
The significance of robotics and automation largely depends on the broader collaboration between researchers and end-users of various domains – market potential that Virtusa continues to explore. Servicing multiple industries with intelligent engineering automation among a growing solutions portfolio, Virtusa promotes robotics research and application to generate greater impact by developing solutions to end-user driven challenges.
“Robotics, particularly intelligent automation is rapidly changing the new norm of the IT industry,” Misnad Haque, Director – Technology at Virtusa elaborated. “From automated IT quality assurance to autonomous spaceflight, the opportunities to develop and nurture these bots are limitless. Events like this bring together like-minded humans – and perhaps robots too in the future –facilitating innovation through knowledge-sharing as well as experiential platforms that organizations like Virtusa can provide.”
“Our aim is to host an IEEE Sri Lanka Robotics Workshop each year among other events, so that we can work together with expert resource personnel who are on par with global robotics trends and insights,” stated Prof. Chandima Pathirana, chairman of IEEE RAS Sri Lanka Chapter. “With Virtusa’s continued sponsorship and support, we are proud to say that this session delivered on the promised level of exposure and knowledge on robotics, and we look forward to inspiring the growing group of robotics enthusiasts in Sri Lanka.”
Hyundai hands over ‘The Suites’ and ‘The Offices’ at Cinnamon Life to John Keells Properties
Cinnamon Life Engineering Manager Yasindu Wijayawickrama, JKP COO Inoke Perera, HKN Senior Project Manager J.C. Wook, JKP Head of Sales Nadeem Shums, JKP CFO Ravi Wijewantha, JKP CMO Roshanie Jayasundera-Moraes, JKH Leisure Group President Suresh Rajendra, JKH chairman Krishan Balendra, HKN Project Director T.H Kim, JKH Property Group Sector Head Nayana Mawilmada, JKH Property Group Head of Asset Management Theekshana Jayarathna, HKN Senior Project Manager J.H Kim, HKN Resident Director Seo Seong-Soo
Cinnamon Life, John Keells Properties’ iconic mixed-development project, is ever closer to redefining Colombo’s skyline with the completion of its plush residential tower ‘The Suites’ at Cinnamon Life and the state-of-the-art office tower, ‘The Offices’ at Cinnamon Life.
With its construction now complete, the 196-unit apartment building and the 30 storey office tower were ceremonially handed over to John Keells Holdings (JKH) chairman Krishan Balendra by T.H. Kim – Project Director of the contractor HKN (a joint venture between Hyundai, Keangnam and Nawaloka).
Speaking at the event, Balendra said the completion of ‘The Suites’ and ‘The Offices’ at Cinnamon Life heralds a new beginning for the city of Colombo.
Noting that the apartment buildings and the offices are a key feature in its mammoth integrated development project, the JKH chairman said, once completed, Cinnamon Life will rival anything that the South Asian region has to offer.
“John Keells Holdings first conceptualized Cinnamon Life in 2010. Operating Cinnamon Grand and Cinnamon Lakeside, two large five star hotels, we knew that Colombo didn’t have the facilities to host large regional events. Cinnamon Life with its 800 roomed hotel, multiple banqueting and conferencing spaces and retail space is now positioned to host some of the biggest events in the region, particularly in South Asia,” he said.
“It’s the largest private investment in Sri Lanka to date, and with its completion in the next year, we expect that Cinnamon Life will position Colombo as the leisure, entertainment and retail epicentre of the South Asian region,” he added.
Balendra further added “These are challenging times, not just for us but for the world as a whole. With the right attitude, however, no challenge is insurmountable and as we, together with HKN, have ably demonstrated with the completion of these two towers.”
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