Banking on economy, health, IT and education, Sri Lankan style.
A strong sense of responsibility toward community is one key component of Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s esteemed reputation. The largest private bank in Sri Lanka has been known to contribute to the betterment of various sections of the society. The Bank has placed special emphasis on projects in the areas of economy, health, information technology, education, and most notably, the environment. Commercial Bank’s commitment to invest in projects that sustain nature’s gifts, and the triple bottom line approach which puts sustainable practices right in the middle of all its operations have earned them the honour of Asia’s Green Company of the Year.
Commercial Bank is the largest and most profitable private bank in Sri Lanka. Within the past two years, the corporation has gained 30(and counting!) international and local awards,including Sri Lanka’s Best Bank, Best Trade Bank, Strongest Bank, Most Respected Bank and Best Green Bank. In addition to that, they have remained in the Top 1000 Banks of the World for eight years in a row. Their strength is reflected in their size, with the organisation possessing 262 branches and 780 ATMs in Sri Lanka. Commercial Bank possess the largest international footprint owned by a Sri Lankan bank. The Bank has a fully owned 19 branch /outlet operation in Bangladesh, a fully fledged Tier 1 Bank co-owned with a business partner in Maldives and a fully owned Microfinance Operation in Myanmar. With a large array of capital and resources worth Rs 1 trillion, along with an experienced management team with highly specialised skillsets, the company utilisestheir advantages to formulate long term solutions forthe current environmental climate.
Blessed with the capability to be able to make an impactful change, the bank’s management team is driven to make a large environmental and financial aid to several environmental projects. “As an organisation that considers social responsibility one of its principal pillars, Commercial Bank is committed to supporting projects that promote preserving and protecting the environment,” explains S Renganathan, Managing Director of Commercial Bank.
Commercial Bank is committed towards the triple bottom line, the Bank has actively infuses sustainability practices to its operations. Several branches of the Bank has solar panels installed on top of them to facilitate renewable energy generation. The newly build branches of the bank is built according to an environmentally friendly design which facilitate natural lighting and better energy consumption.
Commercial Bank has been actively supporting other ground-breaking initiatives in the environmental sphere. The Bank partnered with The Department of Wildlife Conservation to restore and replant 1,000 square feet of the Walduwa area in the marine park. The coral population in Hikkaduwa Marine National Park, which was damaged greatly in both the 1998 El Nino southern oscillation, and the tsunami of 2004 causing great damage to the eco system in the sea and also crippling the tourism industry.
Commercial Bank partnered with the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo (NHSL) for a gardening and landscaping project covering an area of one and half acres of the hospital’s gardens. The project facilitates the mental wellbeing of patients and includes the planting of C02 -absorbent trees in specified plots of land belonging to the hospital to minimise carbon dioxide emissions in its immediate environs. In keeping with this theme the Bank also launched a project to plant trees in the other areas of the vast garden of the hospital.
However, supporting other organisations’ projects is not the only thing this banking institution has done. Taking a step further, Commercial Bank has also acted independently to encourage their clients to take part in go-green activities as well. All credit proposals received are screened under the strict SEMS guidelines (Social and Environmental Measuring System) to gauge their impact to the environment. For the whole month of June 2017 in celebration of World Environment Day, the company announced concessionary rates on Green energy loans for both individuals and companies. This reduces expensive prices of equipment, allowing not only an increase in consumerism that will boost the economy, but also reducing the national electricity consumption. A special promotion is also given to SMEs aiming to improve their waste management systems, allowing them and extended periods to repay the loans obtained. For this project, the bank has covered 75 percent of the total cost overall, reflecting the institution’s firm commitment to reducing the environmental footprint of their clients. The Bank also financed the first commercially viable wind power project and the first commercial scale solar power project developed in Sri Lanka.
Commercial Bank’s entire operations display its commitment to reduce its environmental footprint. The Bank has changed their infrastructure to adopt assisted automation and automation in its branch network, reducing the energy consumption and environmental footprint created by traditional branch system. Although the customers were initially hesitant to trust the machinery, they slowly accepted this new system, reducing a large volume of paperwork and the corresponding waste produced. The corporation’s shift towards the technological age shows the innovative solutions that not only benefit Mother Nature, but improve the corporation’s own efficiency and improve the customer convenience levels.
Their extensive support and passionate commitment to the environment, as well as the positive results of their undertakings have been recognised, acknowledged and rewarded by several organisations. Earlier this year, International Finance Magazine (IFM) of the UK bestowed Commercial Bank with the ‘Best Green Bank’ award at its annual award ceremony Singapore. This achievement recognises their catalytic role in promoting environmental sustainability through its lending renewable energies project, and other initiatives that help reduce the environmental footprint of their clients.
In 2017, the company also received two other eco-friendly awards. Their stringent evaluation of credit proposals to gauge their impact on environment and sustainability, as well as its own efforts to make operations more environmentally friendly, has earned them the ‘Top Green Companies in Asia’ award at the Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability Awards (ACES).
Only a few months after, Commercial Bank also won the Developing Sustainability Strategies award by Sri Lanka Marketing and HR and CSR Leadership awards in Colombo. According to the bank, their sustainability practices, interwoven to core business operations, decrease in carbon footprint through Green Banking channels, comprehensive e-waste disposal systems, and digitalisation of processes earned them the title of sustainability champions. They also received three other awards at this event, all under the category of Corporate Social Responsibility: Best Use of CSR Practices in Banking and Finance, Concern for Health and Support and Improvement in Quality Education. With such recognition for their innovative solutions, and strong commitment to the environment, the bank can attest that their commitment for environmental cause is right on the money.