Sarvodaya Development Finance (SDF), one of Sri Lanka’s leaders in development financing, has announced an ambitious initiative to reduce the Company’s carbon footprint, with a target of achieving carbon neutral status by <2030>. SDF made this announcement as the Company marked World Environment Day, which falls on the 5th of June each year. Sustainability and environmental responsibility have always been at the core of SDF’s operations, as the Company was established by Sri Lanka’s oldest continuing social movement, the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, with the purpose of supporting underserved rural economies and grassroots entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka.
Discussing the Company’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral, Mr. Nilantha Jayanetti – CEO at SDF said, “We are guided by our sustainability framework, and vision for sustainable finance by 2030. As we go forward, it is incumbent upon all individuals and businesses in Sri Lanka and around the world, to take responsibility for their impact on the environment and communities. As a result, driven by our sustainability framework, we intend to reduce our carbon footprint through various initiatives, with the ultimate goal of emerging as a carbon neutral enterprise. In addition to this, we are also concerned about our communities and have embarked on numerous one-off and ongoing initiatives for social support and development, covering a wide spectrum of issues including education, health and wellness, entrepreneurialism, social welfare, women’s issues, and disabilities. Thus, as we mark World Environment Day 2022, we take this opportunity to renew our resolve to do our part for the planet and our people.”
One of the most significant environment-focused initiatives undertaken by SDF during the past year is a tree-planting project in partnership with the University of Colombo, the Ministry of the Environment, University of Colombo Graduates Association, and Swarnawahini. Accordingly, SDF has committed to the sponsorship of the planting of 50,000 Mee trees, and the project was inaugurated with a planting event in Hambanthota. 1,000 such trees were also planted in Ampara, while an event was also held at the Sarvodaya Bandaragama Centre, cosponsored by SDF. Each of these tree-planting events is preceded by brief seminars to create awareness about the need for environmental responsibility. After the Maths seminars held for O/L students in partnership with the University of Colombo, every participant is provided with a Mee tree for them to plant. Seminars have already been held at DS Senanayake National College in Ampara and Uhan Maha Vidyalaya in Ampara, with an event also recently taking place at the Kebethigollawa Central College.
SDF is also backing an environmentally sustainable economic recovery, by promoting green and sustainable business models. The SDF sustainable financing drive emphasizes environmentally friendly business ventures, such as solar panels, and agricultural businesses that are essential for economic recovery. SDF has spearheaded this sustainable recovery drive by adopting solar energy at offices and will introduce such concepts to its customer base as well.
As part of a broader effort to move towards green branches, SDF, in 2019, took the first steps towards investing in renewable energy by commissioning rooftop solar panels at the Company’s head office building in Colombo 08. Almost 35% of the monthly electricity requirements of the head office building are now met through this initiative. Going paperless is another important pillar in SDF’s green branch concept. The key driver of this effort is SDF’s digital agenda through which the Company is looking to increase process automation and thereby cut the use of paper in its day-to-day operations. Recent efforts in this regard have delivered excellent results, with SDF’s paper consumption showing a steady year-on-year decline over the past three years. Even with current paper-intensive manual operations, SDF continues to encourage employees to reduce and reuse paper where possible and practical. SDF has also signed up with a Central Environmental Authority (CEA) approved recycling partner to ensure paper waste is disposed of responsibly.