Sixty-six leading private companies in Sri Lanka declared their commitment towards the Resource Efficiency Pledge as they convened for the second Annual General Meeting of Biodiversity Sri Lanka on 12th September 2017. The pledge affirms their resolution towards making resource efficiency a priority of their businesses and reducing waste generated through their operations to a minimal or zero level.
The French Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, H.E. Mr Jean-Marin Schuh urged the private and public sector companies to join forces in mitigating global warming during the occasion, as he quoted the French President, Emmanuel Macron, “What could still be up for debate a few years ago is now plain and obvious to everybody. If we do nothing our children will know a world of migration, of wars, of shortages the disappearances of archipelagos and coastal cities. This has already begun. On climate, there is no plan B because there is no planet B. Make our planet great again”
Biodiversity Sri Lanka, a platform jointly initiated by Dilmah Conservation, IUCN and Ceylon Chamber of Commerce allows the scope for dialogue among the private sector corporations in Sri Lanka towards addressing challenges in safeguarding biodiversity which is integral to sustainable development, and economic growth. Mr. Dilhan C. Fernando, CEO, Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company PLC, and the incumbent Chair of Biodiversity Sri Lanka led the proceeding of the evening as he welcomed the Board Members to unveil the BSL Resource Efficiency Pledge and the newly revamped website.
Mr Srilal Miththipala, Tourism and Hospitality Specialist directed the attention of the forum on the need to strike an equilibrium between economic growth and sustainability as he elucidated the startling impact economic growth will have on natural capital, if not managed effectively. Mr. Uchita de Zoysa, Sustainable Development Advisor, took the discussion on sustainable development goals forward as he explained the complex and interdependent nature of each goal, imploring the private sector organizations to adopt a holistic and an all-inclusive approach towards achieving corporate sustainable goals.
Earlier in the evening, during the technical session, Mhirini de Soyza, invited the participating members to reflect on the everyday waste management issues initiating a dialogue on the present challenges, and solutions that could possibly help in achieving these objectives. This was followed by a panel discussion with representatives from Sri Lanka’s leading companies, Ms. Neelika Tillekeratne( CIC HoldingsPLC), Mr. Theja Silva (Nations Trust Bank), Mr. Asanka Abayakoon ( Resplendent Ceylon), Ms. Dilini Fernando (HSBC) and Mr. Arjan Ratnasooriya (IUCN Sri Lanka) shared their insights on critical areas that they need to address as private sector entities working towards biodiversity conservation.
In the past one year, Biodiversity Sri Lanka has steered numerous projects including the monitoring of coral reefs around Hikkaduwa, designing resilience ranking for plantations and biodiversity credit accruals scheme for Sri Lanka. Among the most recent of these initiatives is a joint venture with Dilmah Conservation, in a research partnership with LICAS (Lanka Institute of Cave Science) that aims to identify the cave fauna within Sri Lanka.