Business Times

Sustainability imperative for “speed boat” Sri Lanka

By Sunimalee Dias

Sri Lanka, holding strong possibilities of a booming economy, needs to engage in sustainability with the country commencing its first Sustainability Index. An expert pointed out that with most countries focusing on improving their base in other regions, the future prosperity lies in nations like Sri Lanka, Mongolia and Laos.

Michael Preiss speaking at a recent forum held by Aitken Spence on the topic of “Global Economic Trends and Sustainability Indices” identified Sri Lanka as a “speed boat in the ocean” where it was announced that the country’s first ever Sustainability Index will be established at the CIMA Auditorium.
Mr Preiss is a Board Member of the International Academy of Financial Management (IAFM) for the Middle-East and Asia. He also serves as Economic Advisor to Ceylon Asset Management.

The launch of the index will accept companies that are in the Global Compact, listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), and reports on sustainability being the main criteria. With the changes taking place in Washington likely to increase money printing, Mr. Preiss said Sri Lanka will continue to grow and when its “speed boat is sinking the tsunami of money will keep it afloat.”

The changing world order has resulted in countries like the UK amidst its recent street riots becoming more dangerous places compared to other nations that were previously feared, Mr. Preiss said.
He noted that increasingly what people consider risky has become safe as Sri Lanka today is a better place to invest in.

In this respect, it was pointed out that creativity is important in Sri Lanka for the country to have better finances as this brings in more money than manufacturing. In addition, he said that the currencies were changing as well with the US$ slipping against almost every currency today and noted that Sri Lanka needs to look at those that are doing well to maintain their reserves.

Further, Mr. Preiss said that money invested is safer in countries like Sri Lanka, Mongolia and India than in any of the European nations. In this respect, he pointed out there is a need to ensure sustainability in countries and with Sri Lanka on the verge of seeing a boom needs to embrace these values as it could potentially benefit from it.

While being strategically located in the Indian backwaters, Sri Lanka stands to gain from its neighbour as a possible offshore centre with a competitive comparative advantage. The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

Global Compact today stands as the largest corporate citizenship and sustainability initiative in the world, with over 7700 corporate particiants and stakeholders from over 130 countries.

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