Sri Lanka's premier retail bank, Hatton National Bank PLC (HNB) delivered superior performance winning 5 awards at the recently concluded Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards 2017 (BCCSA).
HNB has been consistently ranked among the Top 10 Best Corporate Citizens in Sri Lanka, having previously won the title a total of 7 times in the past. During this year’s ceremony, HNB’s resolute commitment to triple-bottom line principles and pioneering sustainability initiatives enabled the bank to be adjudged 1st Runner-up in the Top 3 awards.
Similarly, the Bank’s business model helped HNB to win the award for the Most Sustainable Company in the Finance sector while the bank’s ambitious investments into renewable energy helped the bank to clinch the award for Best Sustainability Project.
"We take pride in the continuing recognition which HNB's vital and growing contributions to sustainable business in Sri Lanka has received at the BCCS awards. HNB remains fully committed towards a proactive approach to Corporate Social Responsibility that focuses on the utilization of technology, strategy and a complete corporate culture and structure in furtherance of the financial, social and environmental sustainability and in alignment with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals." HNB Managing Director / CEO Jonathan Alles said.
Over the past year, HNB invested in Sri Lanka's largest rooftop solar project, spanning 70 HNB Customer Centres and generating approximately 2 kWh of clean, renewable energy. Fueled by investments of Rs. 350 million from the Bank, HNB's Rooftop Solar project has resulted in a drastic reduction of the Bank's carbon footprint by approximately 1,215 tonnes per annum. Meanwhile plans are already in motion to further expand this vital initiative across the bank's entire extensive Customer Service network in the near future.
Similarly, HNB has been active in funding development projects that provide sustainable outcomes to the country as a whole, such as its recent support for three new green energy projects of solar and hydro financed with an exposure totaling Rs. 1.8 billion. More recently, the bank was also involved in as lead arranger to a syndicated loan of Rs. 9 billion towards the construction of a 10 MW garbage-to-energy power plant that will contribute to the national grid through the conversion of between 500-700 metric tonnes of garbage into energy.
Continuing its efforts to support Sri Lanka’s rich bio-diversity, HNB sponsored a special awareness programme in 2017 aimed at improving understanding on the subject of waste management together with a seminar to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity.
"HNB’s approach to responsible corporate citizenship has been consistently validated over the years and our recent performance at the BCCSA 2017 is further evidence of this remarkable legacy in responsible, sustainable business practices encompassing entrepreneur creation, reducing carbon footprint, education and literacy improvement, supported by an effective governance structure and dashboards.
“As a systemically important bank in Sri Lanka we consider it our obligation to proactively influence and effect change in the sphere of Corporate Social Responsibility and the Digital Banking Transformation journey we are on is aligned to this endeavor,” HNB Chief Operating Officer, Dilshan Rodrigo said.
The cultivation of the savings habit, particularly among Sri Lanka's youth is another important priority for HNB, and through HNB Singithi - Sri Lanka's first branded savings product solely for children - the bank has been able to link education and saving with tangible goals and rewards, in order make the savings habit a fun experience that will last a lifetime.
Such efforts were complimented by HNB's "Diri Daru scholarship scheme to recognize, reward and encourage achievements of children in education and sport. Parallel to these initiatives in improving access to education, HNB's NenaPubuduwa programme was also responsible for establishing or renovating of 6 school libraries, together with donations of library books to 200 NenaPubuduwa libraries.
HNB continues to work with a diverse group of stakeholders in order to make positive contributions to the healthcare of Sri Lanka's citizens. The bank sponsored HIV/AIDS Testing Day during which free screenings were conducted together with awareness building activities designed to improve understanding of the causes and preventative measures associated with HIV/AIDS.
During the year HNB also made significant efforts to combat Cancer and support patients with donations to the Sri Lanka Cancer Society in addition to meeting the running costs of the Patients Advice and Liaison Centre at the Apeksha Hospital, Maharagama and financial assistance to cancer patients through the HNB Sustainability Foundation.
In the continuing fight against Chronic Kidney Disease in parts of Sri Lanka, HNB also funded the installation of safe drinking water systems at schools in the North Central province while also supporting rural hospitals through the donation of much needed medical equipment.
Similarly, the bank also undertook rainwater harvesting projects in the Aranayake, following catastrophic landslides in the district which left citizens cut off from water and sanitation. The rainwater harvesting project was undertaken alongside parallel efforts to prevent future landslides through conservation programmes in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Water partnership.
"We believe that economic empowerment is an essential pre-requisite to reconciliation and national integration, hence HNB continues to serve as a true partner in progress to many different sectors of the Sri Lankan economy. Our sustainable approach to business is mirrored in HNB’s internal operations, and moving forward we will continue to foster investment and development of renewable energy technology, amply supported by our highly committed team of employees who are at the heart of our success,” HNB Chief Human Resource Officer/ Deputy General Manager - Human Resources, Chiranthi Cooray stated.
Employees are the key drivers of HNB's business and sustainability strategies, hence the bank has dedicated extensive resources to ensuring that all of its employees are provided superior benefits including opportunities for seamless learning and career progression combined with rewards and recognition of special achievements.
Gender equality is another important priority for HNB, which has resulted in the establishment of family friendly mobility policies to support women bankers fulfill their career aspirations. The success of HNB’s approach to gender equality is borne out in the composition of its workforce, which currently included 37% female employees and 25% female senior management.