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The British Council launches compelling report – ‘Young People on Climate Change: A Perception Survey’

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From left to right: Maarya Rehman – Country Director, British Council Sri Lanka, Malin Herwig – Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Sri Lanka and Anoka Abeyratne- Climate Lead for Royal Commonwealth Society

overwhelming 66% of participants agreed that climate change will be the biggest threat to Sri Lanka in the coming years

Notably six out of ten people in rural Sri Lanka think that climate change will be the biggest impending risk

Encouraging to know that 70% of the youth participants believe they can play the role of an awareness agent on climate change

Over 24% of the youth considered less or no access to knowledge resources as the biggest challenge with another staggering 62.5% not having access to affordable capacity building resources on climate action

Young people aged 18-35 years are among the most vulnerable groups to climate change impacts, particularly in developing countries like Sri Lanka. Seeing as young people are also the future leaders and decision-makers whose attitudes and actions will prove decisive for how the world addresses climate change mitigation and adaptation, it is critical to get a deeper understanding of their perceptions and understanding of climate change and action.

To understand the perceptions of young people in Sri Lanka on climate change and potential action to combat it, the British Council conducted an extensive survey with a respondent base of 1000 youth aged between 18-25 as well as 10 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with youth aged between 26-35 and interviewed over 25 policy makers, climate youth leaders, and other key stakeholders. British Council Research, Evaluation, and Monitoring Unit (REMU), South Asia together with SLYCAN Trust led on the research study.

The research report was formally launched on the 28 and 29 October, at a two-day Youth in Climate Action Virtual Conference hosted by the British Council, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka. The event was successfully concluded with valuable contributions made by the Ministries of Environment, Youth and Sports, Wildlife and Forest Conservation and Regional Corporation as well as Lisa Whanstall, , British Deputy High Commissioner, Sri Lanka, the UNDP Global Youth Program Manager together with the active participation of young people advocating for climate action. The virtual conference will serve as a much-needed platform and agency for setting up dialogue and conversation between key stakeholders, leading to recommendations and ideas for future, whilst discussing how young people can effectively contribute to climate action priorities set out by Government of Sri Lanka, UK and COP26.

“Action and innovation to address climate change is so important and harder to do than simple talking or tweeting about it. I hope to see real measurable action happening post conference, for us and for the future.” shared Anoka Abeyrathne, Climate Lead for Royal Commonwealth Society, who delivered the inspirational keynote session.

The research is part of the British Council’s Climate Connection programme, which aims to bring people around the world together to address the challenges of climate change, through arts and culture, education and the English language. The conference came ahead of United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland from 1 – 12 November 2021, with the UK presiding as the Summit’s President.

Commenting on the collaboration, Malin Herwig, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Sri Lanka stated, ‘COVID-19 has made people, the world over, experience the fragility of life on earth. Through UNDP’s extensive work in supporting Sri Lanka realize its climate priorities, young people are essential to play a key role in this transformation pathway – to put nature at the heart of sustainable development. It’s encouraging to hear that 70% of the youth interviewed believe they can play the role of an awareness agent on climate change. Let’s draw on the young people for the necessary transformation.’

The findings from the report have also been used to write a Global Youth Letter, a plan of action setting out young people’s aspirations and recommendations around climate change. The letter directly addresses the policymakers and world leaders who will attend the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

British Council Sri Lanka Country Director, Maarya Rehman said, ‘Climate emergency is the biggest crisis facing our planet so it’s no surprise that British Council research has found it’s the number one priority for young people the world over. I’m confident that the research will be a powerful piece of work that can be fed into the National Action Plan at a policy level and more importantly the findings are set to send a strong message about the importance of including youth voices in the climate action conversation.’



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Healthcare, Consumer and Agri propel Sunshine Holdings’ strong FY23 performance

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Amal Cabraal, Chairman

Diversified Sri Lankan conglomerate Sunshine Holdings (CSE: SUN) recorded resilient revenue growth in a challenging macroeconomic environment, reporting notable top-line growth during the year ended 31 March 2023. Group’s Healthcare and Consumer sectors led growth while healthcare segment remained the major contributor to total Group revenue in FY23.

Sunshine recorded a consolidated Group revenue of Rs.51.9 billion for the year ended 31 March 2023, an increase of 61.3% over last year. Profit after tax (PAT) for the period in review was contracted by 28.0% to Rs. 3.6 billion. The gross profit improved by Rs.3.3 billion, up 31.9% YoY, compared to the previous year, driven by revenue growth. Gross profit margin for the period stood at 26.0%, a contraction of 580 basis points against the corresponding period last year.

The Group’s Healthcare business emerged as the largest contributor to Sunshine’s revenue, accounting for 46.1% of the total, while Consumer Goods and Agri Business sectors of the group contributed 36.6% and 16.9% respectively of the total Group revenue. The Group EBIT closed at Rs. 7 billion, an increase of 23.0% YoY.

Commenting on the results, Amal Cabraal, Chairman of Sunshine Holdings said, “The Group had to face and overcome tough economic factors and adverse market conditions which persisted throughout the year. These headwinds impacted some of the core sectors, and are expected to continue to do so in the short to medium term.”

However, Cabraal highlighted the Group’s commendable response to these challenges, adding, “Through robust cost management initiatives and process reengineering efforts, supported by the integration of digital technologies, Sunshine has delivered a strong performance in FY23. Despite the difficulties, the Group has displayed resilience, and takes an optimistic outlook on fortifying operations to further strengthen overall performance.”

Cabraal further emphasized that “Every possible measure has been taken to ensure business sustainability and continuity in the upcoming months.”

Healthcare sector recorded a revenue of Rs. 23.9 billion during FY23, a significant increase of 36.7% YoY backed by the improved performance in Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and Manufacturing segments. EBIT for the sector was Rs. 3.0 billion with PAT of the sector increased by 13% YoY. Lina Manufacturing, the pharma manufacturing business, commenced commercial operations in the Metered Dose Inhalers (MDI) plant in July 2022, which was a significant milestone for the business.

Consumer Goods sector reported a 135.6% YoY increase in revenue to close at Rs. 19 billion in FY23. The revenue increase was predominantly driven by the addition of export business. The consumer brands Zesta, Watawala, Ran Kahata and Daintee continued to grow market shares, despite challenging consumer sentiment.

Agribusiness sector revenue increased by 35.4% YoY during FY21/22 to Rs. 8.8 billion, driven by the increase in palm oil NSA. PAT of the Agri sector closed at Rs. 2.3 billion for FY21/22, down by 33.6%.

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ADB budget support loan doesn’t elicit positive response from bourse

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The CSE did not react positively yesterday to the Asian Development Bank’s approval of a US$ 350 million loan as budget support, as part of Sri Lanka’s economic stabilization program, together with the rupee’s appreciation against the dollar, market analysts said.

“The ABD is supporting a series of policy reforms which are required to stabilize the economy and to spur growth. Budget support loans ease cash flows of the government and do not involve imports of goods. This has created some limbo for investors, market analysts said.

Consequently, shares edged- down in mid- day trade and ended on a negative note. The main All- Share Price Index was down by 118.97 points, while the most liquid index S&P SL20 was also down by 41.3 points.

Turnover stood at Rs 516 million without any crossings. In the retail market, top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Dialog Axiata Rs 73.7 million (7.2 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 54.42 million (426,000 shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 51.7 million (382,000 shares traded), Prime Lands Residencies Rs 25.1 million (3.11 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 21.3 million (4.3 million shares traded), Hemas Holdings Rs 18.8 million (298,000 shares traded) and Elpitiya Plantations Rs 16.2 million (164,000 shares traded). During the day 38.3 million share volumes changed hands in 11000 transactions.

The rupee opened at Rs 296.50 /297.50 against the US dollar in the spot market yesterday, while bond yields were up, dealers said. The rupee closed at Rs 296.00 /297.50 to the US dollar on Friday after opening at around Rs 302.80/303.10.

Sri Lanka’s rupee is appreciating amid negative private credit which has reduced outflows after the central bank hiked rates and stopped printing money.

In the first year of an IMF program, a pegged central bank usually collects reserves and mops up liquidity generated from the purchases or there is a balance of payments surplus.

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HNB reopens Student Savings Unit at St. Joseph’s College

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HNB MD /CEO Jonathan Alles (centre) and HNB Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo (right) presenting the first HNB TEEN+ card to a savings account holder

Reaffirming its commitment to fostering financial literacy among students, Sri Lanka’s leading private sector bank HNB PLC, announced the reopening of its Student Savings unit at St. Joseph’s College, Colombo.

The reopening comes as part of the bank’s continued efforts to instil the habit of saving among young minds. The event was graced by the esteemed presence of St. Joseph’s College Rector, Rev. Fr. Ranjith Andradi, and the Managing Director/CEO of HNB, Jonathan Alles, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo who are distinguished past pupils of the College, along with Deputy General Manager- Retail and SME Banking Sanjay Wijemanne, Assistant General Manager, Network Management and Business Development Supun Dias and Head Office Branch Chief Manager, Dilanka De Silva.

During the ceremony HNB Managing Director/CEO, Jonathan Alles expressed his delight, stating, “We are extremely pleased to be a part of this momentous occasion, celebrating the reopening of the Student Savings Unit at St. Joseph’s College. Through this Unit, we aim to empower students with a deeper understanding of saving and the value of living within their means. By developing this essential life skill, students will be well prepared to fund their higher education and make other important investments in the future.”

The Unit will mainly offer student access to the wide range of savings products and investment plans available for minors. Moreover, the bank aims to create a digital payment ecosystem for the school also offering members of the staff and the Old Boys Association with exceptional services and benefits.

St. Joseph’s College Rector Rev. Fr. Ranjith Andradi, expressing his pride in the partnership, stated: “We are proud to be associated with HNB in reopening the Student Savings Unit. This initiative not only imparts valuable lessons in investing and saving but also instils a strong sense of financial management in our students. We believe this partnership will contribute to their progress and success.”

The Student Savings Unit, introduced by HNB in 1994, has played a pivotal role in promoting financial literacy among students. With 162 units established across Sri Lanka, HNB actively engages students in managing mini-banks within their schools, fostering leadership and financial responsibility. Each year, HNB provides comprehensive training to over 1,000 students, empowering them to become financially savvy individuals.

HNB is rated A (lka) by Fitch Ratings and was awarded the esteemed title of ‘Sri Lanka’s Best Corporate Citizen’ for 2022 by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Other major accolades include being ranked among the Top 1,000 Banks in the World for six consecutive years by the acclaimed UK based “The Banker Magazine”, being adjudged the ‘Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka’ for the 13th occasion by the Asian Banker, as well as securing a Top 5 position on Business Today’s Top 40 rankings for 2022.

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