On 31 January, the Government of Sri Lanka launched its Strategy to Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Businesses to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The Strategy was designed by the Sustainable Development Council of Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and United Nations Sri Lanka, to serve as a strategic roadmap for a strong and dynamic ecosystem where inclusive and sustainable businesses can not only emerge but thrive.
Innovative and inclusive business models are emerging in Sri Lanka and demonstrating that it is possible to be commercially viable while achieving positive social and environmental impacts. From businesses that bring organic produce to the doorstep of the consumer while enhancing the income of farmers and adopting sustainable practices to businesses that train and employ persons from marginalized groups, these kinds of enterprises are demonstrating how the private sector can also be a force for good.
“Inclusive and sustainable businesses are more important than ever. They are different from business-as-usual as they put people and planet alongside profit and are therefore a critical accelerator if we are to get back on track with the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP at the launch of the Strategy today.
Actions under the Strategy cover five core areas:
- Setting the direction for Sri Lanka to become an inclusive and sustainable export and investment hub;
- Raising awareness on the economic and social value that impact businesses bring and recognizing local success stories, through award and formal accreditation;
- Building the capacities of businesses and governments to develop and to promote inclusive and sustainable businesses;
- Supporting impact measuring and reporting; and
- Enhancing access to finance for impact businesses.
The Strategy builds on and brings together for the first time the collaborative and cross-sectoral efforts of government agencies, private sector organizations and development partners, to shape an inclusive, sustainable and resilient economy. Also present at the launch was Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena