LMD 100 Q&A
Q: What is your assessment of Sri Lanka’s economic trajectory?
A: Sri Lanka is strategically located in the global trade link from Asia to Europe and the Middle East. Our economy should focus on developing infrastructure, capital and human resources to take advantage of global trade, allowing us to stay one step ahead of the competition in the region.
Despite the current conditions brought about by the pandemic, South Asia has shown very high growth potential. We should aim to make Sri Lanka a hub for maritime trade in the South Asian region, capitalising on our relationships with neighbouring countries to harness growth opportunities.
Q: What is the state of business in the country given the multiple crises it faces?
A: Sri Lanka is going through an incredibly difficult time. We are facing complex challenges with many unpredictable variables at play. In this situation, the efforts of the government in rolling out a successful vaccination programme with priority given to workers in key industries are admirable.
As a group focussed on safeguarding livelihoods and lives, we prioritised the vaccination of all our employees. This also helped us manage business continuity and our commitments to stakeholders.
Continuous operations for exporters hinge on the government allowing sufficient foreign exchange to be retained within the business. In terms of imports, industries are faced with multiple challenges that require constant discussion and resolution on a daily basis.
Q: What does environmental sustainability mean to Hayleys?
A: Sustainable business practices and innovations focussed on making a positive impact on people and the planet are a part of our DNA.
Through our ESG Framework, we are strengthening the integration of sustainability principles across our 16 sectors, ensuring that as a group we remain forward thinking and fit for purpose.
We invest in technologies to minimise the usage of industrial water, and conserve energy and electricity to reduce our carbon footprint. Most of Hayleys’ factories have installed rooftop solar photovoltaic systems to harness green energy.
Q: What are the major projects undertaken by the group to fulfil its corporate social responsibilities?
A: We strongly believe a sustainable business model can be built only with the participation of all stakeholders – including the communities in which we operate.
Most of our businesses follow an inclusive growth strategy, creating value for the broader society. We have developed a strong supply chain linking smallholder farmers in the hinterland of Sri Lanka with sophisticated markets such as Hong Kong and Japan.
‘Harithangara’ – a project by Haycarb to source charcoal with minimum impact on the environment – and the ‘First Light’ project by Dipped Products, which is a supplier development initiative that empowers over 4,500 farmers island wide, are examples of how our companies support the livelihoods of grassroot communities.
Our plantation sector’s long-term multidimensional community engagement initiative – ‘A Home for Every Plantation Worker’ – targets the uplifting of living standards of employees and an estate community of nearly 150,000 individuals.
Through the Hayleys Group’s flagship CSR project ‘Puritas Sath Diyawara,’ we provide access to 190,000 litres of purified water a day to people in villages affected by chronic kidney disease.
Q: To what extent are innovation and technological change impacting your group as a multinational conglomerate?
A: The Hayleys Group is constantly adapting to the dynamic digital age, and counts among its unique intangible assets a relentless drive for product and process innovation.
Over the last year, we achieved promising organic growth with new product development and innovation across many sectors – from specialised glove variants to value added carbon products and a jackfruit based meat alternative for the agriculture export market.
We won the ‘Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Project Award’ in 2020. And we were recognised for being geared to help solve problems, and create opportunities for people and businesses.
Our legacy is built on generations of inspired pioneers innovating the way we live and working with an intrapreneurial spirit, to ensure we’re constantly able to meet the needs of our sophisticated and diverse customers.