Hemas Holdings PLC

2019

Top Sustainability Advocates

Hemas Holdings PLC

Top Sustainability Advocates

2019

WORDS FROM THE JURY PANEL

“Being a socially responsible company can bolster a company’s image and build its brand. The public perception of a company is critical to customer and shareholder confidence. By projecting a positive image, Hemas Holdings PLC has entrenched itself as a financially profitable organisation with a big social conscience,” said Shanggari Balakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer of MORS Group the organisers of the event.

Words from the winner

HEMAS Holdings PLC

For the people, by the people

Targeted CSR by Hemas Holdings PLC changes lives in Sri Lanka.

One of Sri Lanka’s fastest growing conglomerates, Hemas Holdings PLC, was recognised as Asia’s Most Socially Responsible Company at the 2019 ACES Awards. The company touches the Lives of millions of loyal customers, every day, via its renowned wellness, leisure and mobility services. Over a span of nearly seven decades, Hemas has delivered an award winning range of diversified products and services including high quality home and personal care products that continue to help enrich lives, empower businesses, and make a positive contribution to the nation’s economic development.

The award had over 325 applicants from across Asia of which 159 were shortlisted, with 59 selected. All entries are put through a stringent evaluation process, spanning six months, before winners were selected by a panel of esteemed jury members. Organised by the Mors Group, the Asia Corporate Excellence and Sustainability Awards recognises successful companies and individuals in Asia across two main domains; leadership and corporate social responsibility. This award provides a platform to bring Asia’s business aspirations and success stories to the world stage through knowledge sharing, recognition and research.

“It is an honour to be recognised at an international forum of this nature. In today’s context a sustainable organisation should not only be focused on profit, instead it should also focus on how it impacts the economy, the environment and the communities. It is very important for the private sector to understand the needs of their communities and assist in addressing the gaps through partnerships and aligning its activities to UNSDG goals. For the private sector to sustain its businesses it’s important to have sustainable communities,” says Hemas Holdings PLC General Manager – Sustainability and Corporate Communications and Hemas Outreach Foundation Executive Director Shiromi Masakorale.

Hemas Holdings PLC was registered more than 70 years ago in Sri Lanka. As a holding company, it is one of Sri Lanka’s largest conglomerates. Its many businesses include healthcare, travel, logistics, and the manufacturing of baby products. The group firmly believes that its financial performance and brand image are closely linked to sound corporate governance, product and service excellence, environmental stewardship and social responsibility. As such, it strives to minimize its operational impacts through the entrenchment of responsible business practices, and the monitoring of key sustainability performance indicators.

The conglomerate’s sustainability policy is based on the overall impact of the organization’s operations on the environment, society, and the economy. Its Sustainability Policy and management framework was developed after taking into account the results of an internal materiality assessment and external independent stakeholder engagement exercise undertaken by the group. The framework consists of a sustainability organizational structure supported by senior management, a team of Sustainability Champions representing each subsidiary, spreadsheet platform for data gathering, a quarterly reporting process of the group’s sustainability performance, sustainability awareness creation, and internal and external sustainability assurance.
Sustainability at Hemas Holdings is inculcated organization-wide by learning, sharing, collaborating and reinforcing. Part of the process of being a sustainable organization is effective communication. This is where the group excels. It interacts with customers, employees, suppliers, partners, investors, the community and governing bodies in various ways, in order to understand needs, gauge product quality, inspire and disseminate strategies to employees, ensure efficiency of the supply chain, provide performance information, create positive partnerships that accelerate social development, and contribute to dialogue on policy with governmental agencies.
All this leads to exemplary Corporate Social Responsibility undertakings. The Hemas Outreach Foundation (HOF) is allocated an annual budget of two percent of Hemas Holdings’ profit after tax. The group made 3,679,236,000 LKR in its last financial year. The Hemas Outreach Foundation is a Sri Lankan government-approved charity that focuses on educating and empowering the underprivileged children of Sri Lanka. It is managed by a board of independent trustees appointed by Hemas Holdings PLC and audited by Ernst & Young. All projects of the foundation are in partnership with the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs.
The foundation has two key projects – Project Piyawara and Project Big Heart – which focus on children aged three to 12 years. Only 46 percent of Sri Lanka’s preschool-aged children actually attend preschool. Many of the 17,000 preschools in the country do not have basic infrastructure, and are in poor condition because of the lack of funding. They are often managed by volunteers in rural neighborhoods. Piyawara, which means ‘footsteps’ in Sinhalese, aims to promote Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) by building child-friendly preschools all over Sri Lanka, while aiming to bring a holistic approach to Sri Lanka’s preschool education system. Piyawara undertakes infrastructure development of preschools, preschool teacher training, and disaster relief. It also runs parental awareness programs, recreation facilities, and helps curtail child abuse with the help of the Sri Lanka Police.
Launched in 2002, Piyawara works with 331 Divisional Secretariats in the country, who assist to acquire land to build the preschools, provide teachers for the preschools, and identify which areas need the most help. It has built 53 preschools, with three more to be completed by end 2019. More than 1,000 teachers have been trained, and 3,500 students enrolled. Two hundred parental awareness programs, reaching about 112,500 parents have been run. The initiative also helps children who are in prison with their mothers by building child-friendly care centers for affected mothers and children. The foundation also provides the nutrition required for the incarcerated children on a monthly basis. Piyawara is a one-of-a-kind initiative in Sri Lanka. No other project in the country focuses solely on ECCD. Piyawara provides a solution-in-entirety to an identified national need. It has chosen to focus on early childhood development because 75 percent of human brain development occurs in the first eight years of a child’s life. With Piyawara, the foundation seeks to grow, nurture and develop the most important natural resource of Sri Lanka: its people. The Piyawara initiative has received many awards and recognitions including a special award from the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs of Sri Lanka. It won a gold for Best CSR Program – Women in Management at the 6th Professional & Career Women Awards 2016, and a Japan-Sri Lanka Technical and Cultural Association (JASTECA) CSR Award in 2014. The Asian Institute of Management named Piyawara the Best Educational Project in Asia at the Asia CSR Awards in Vietnam, while the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce honored the initiative with the Best Tsunami Project Sri Lanka 2007. The 15-year-old Piyawara initiative is one of Sri Lanka’s best public-private partnerships. It is also one that will continue until its goals are achieved, and serves as a shining example of a sustainable model partnership. The initiative is also connected to the United Nations Sustainability Developmental Goals which focus on inclusive and quality education for all, and the promotion of lifelong learning.
The Hemas Outreach Foundation also operates a program called Ayati (Sanskrit for ‘hope’), to help children with disabilities. These children often do not receive the support they need, and are shunned by society. Ayati has three main aims: to build a National Centre of Excellence (which will begin operating this year), to change public perception about special needs children, and to extend their services to rural areas in the future. To this end, the foundation is partnering with the University of Kelaniya’s Faculty of Medicine and MAS Holdings to promote initial diagnosis and assessments, which are vital in understanding a child’s disability. Early intervention will then help integrate a child into the community. To further promote awareness of the foundation’s socially uplifting work, the Hemas Outreach Foundation appointed Roshan Mahanama, one of Sri Lanka’s most-loved cricketers, as Brand Ambassador. The international star works on a voluntary basis to promote the foundation’s projects, and is pivotal in promoting the projects among the public and creating acceptance in areas that are hard to reach.

Hemas Holdings’ CSR efforts have shown outstanding results. The Sri Lankan government has appointed Hemas Holdings to the National Committee on ECCD. The Executive Director of the foundation, Shiromi Masakorala, has also been appointed Director of the National Child Protection Authority by the President of Sri Lanka. The group’s decision to champion the two areas of concern undertaken by the Hemas Outreach Foundation came about organically. Hemas Manufacturing (Pvt) Ltd., a subsidiary of Hemas Holdings PLC is a leading baby care product company in Sri Lanka. As the company extrapolates, the end user of the product is an infant. The transition period of a baby from infancy to early childhood are the formative years in a human development. Hemas Holdings wanted to focus on initiatives that would help their end users.

Share This Story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related STORIES

Be Recognised As One Of Asia’s Top Leadership and Sustainability Players