Unilever, UNDP and UNGC initiate strategic PPPs around 2030 Agenda | Daily News

Unilever, UNDP and UNGC initiate strategic PPPs around 2030 Agenda

UNDP Sri Lanka Country Director, Jorn Sorense exchanging the agreement with Carl Cruz, Chairman, Unilever. Pictures by Chaminda Niroshana
UNDP Sri Lanka Country Director, Jorn Sorense exchanging the agreement with Carl Cruz, Chairman, Unilever. Pictures by Chaminda Niroshana

Unilever Sri Lanka, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Sri Lanka and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Sri Lanka together announced the initiation of strategic public-private partnerships (PPPs) around the country’s key priorities related to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), yesterday.

The partnerships revealed at the event were a result of the inaugural Unilever-UNGC forum held earlier this year that engaged members of the public and private sector, academia, media and non-government development agencies on how they could work together on helping Sri Lanka achieve the goals.

A wave of sustainable business projects are set to be rolled out through these partnerships. Aitken Spence Holdings, Commercial Bank PLC, Dialog Axiata PLC, MAS Holdings and Unilever Sri Lanka have pledged their support to drive these projects.

Carl Cruz, Chairman, Unilever Sri Lanka said, “The country’s goals around the 2030 SDGs cannot be achieved through the efforts of any single entity, acting alone. We need to rally each other up, go outside our comfort zones and work together to help the nation realize its vision.”

“We firmly believe that adopting sustainable models both in civil service and in business while mobilizing collective action will help bring longer lasting, wide spread positive change. This is the only way in which we can ensure that we move ahead as one, without leaving anyone behind. We are excited about the journey ahead as we work with them and other partners who have come forward in support this mission to see these projects to fruition.”

Additional Secretary to the President, Jayantha Wijeratne said while the government continues to work towards bringing about sustainable development, they need to understand that this cannot be done without the involvement and support of the private sector and all other stakeholders.

He also commended Unilever, UNDP and UNGC for their efforts in shaping such partnerships, together with Aitken Spence, Commercial Bank, Dialog and MAS.

UNDP Sri Lanka Country Director, Jorn Sorensen, “This is the start of a new movement. By connecting businesses with governments and the development partners, we can create an environment that unleashes the potential of the private sector because investing in sustainable development is a win-win. As such, the private sector is an important strategic partner for UNDP in achieving its vision to help countries eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities and exclusion within broader sustainable development.”

Jegan Durairatnam, Managing Director/CEO, Commercial Bank PLC, said that the bank has integrated sustainability into its business operations whilst also concentrating on developing communities. “We employ very stringent measures to evaluate sustainability of any credit proposal before we finance it. In addition we also are training our staff on identifying sustainable development projects and assisting them.”

He also said that project, ‘Sunlight’ providing special financing terms to install solar energy to Unilever dealers and Saubghya project, providing financial facilities for women entrepreneurs in rural areas blends in well with the bank's sustainability principles.

Shayam Majeed, Group Chief Customer Officer, Dialog Axiata PLC, said that the introduction of GSM technology itself brought tremendous positive impact specially to the rural community.

He also said that the ongoing ‘Govi Mithuru’ project conducted jointly with Ministry of Agriculture too helping over 4,000 farmers to get agri updates via their mobile phones.

Shakthi Ranatunga, Director - Group Human Resources, MAS Holdings, in his message said that they are also involved in training under graduates in apparel skills. “Our program ‘Garments without Guilt’ too has received good response from all over the world.”

Dr. Rohan Fernando, Chairman of United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and Director, Aitken Spence also shared their views on the forum and spelled out the way forward. He also said today the demands and issues of the society have changed from that of two decades ago and the corporate sector too should change their CSR projects to suit these new areas.

Unilever also announced its partnership with UNDP to host a high-level private sector forum on sustainable human development every year, starting from 2018. (SS) 



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