FCCISL’s Business for Peace Initiative (BPI) wins Asian CSR Award

FCCISL’s Business for Peace Initiative (BPI) was adjudged a winner of the best CSR projects at the recently held Asian CSR forum in Singapore. The BPI competed with 170 entries from 29 countries and 120 organizations for this award which was presented at a gala dinner held on 21st November 2008 at Grand Capthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore. Samantha Abeywickrama, Secretary General /CEO, FCCISL and Tissa Jayaweera, Senior Vice President, FCCISL accepted the Award on behalf of FCCISL. Earlier in September this same Initiative of FCCISL the BPI, was recognized as the Best Social Marketing Project at the Asian Brand Congress Awards.

The Asian CSR Awards is recognized as the leading awards program on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Asia and is an inherent component of the annual regional Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility (AFCSR) conference and Expo. AFCSR 2008 is co-presented by the Asian Institute of Management’s RVR Center for Corporate Social Responsibility (AIM-RVR Center) and Singapore Compact for CSR. The Guest of Honor of the award ceremony was Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of Economic and Social Commission for Asia. The BPI was judged winner in the Poverty Alleviation category.

Business for Peace Initiative (BPI) was launched by the FCCISL back in March 2006 with the vision of harnessing support of business community for the cause of peace building in Sri Lanka. All regional chambers of commerce from the Northern and Eastern provinces and bordering districts collaborated with the FCCISL as implementation partners of the initiative.

“So far, for the past two years we have achieved many significant achievements. We have rehabilitated 957 livelihoods and businesses and channeled support for a value of more than 26 million as direct support and we have conducted 16 BPI fora where all leading political parties and diplomats addressed business community on strategy of economic rehabilitation and peace building. We have trained 71 regional business individuals as Peace Ambassadors in the Northern and Eastern provinces. One of the most difficult and significant phases of the project was establishing the wholesale distribution center in Wanni district and reactivation of private trader network in the Jaffna district. To do this, FCCISL went up to the extent of chartering its own ship and shipped more than 10,700 MT of food and essential items, especially inputs for livelihood activation in the region through it, and also facilitated sending more than 13,000 MTs of similar items through Commissioner General of Essential Services (CGES) chartered vessels. We also facilitated sent more than 8,500 MTs of goods to Wanni district” Mr. Abeywickrama said.

He added, “This is a clear example how the private sector could get involved in peace building as CSR in this country which is a dire need at the moment. Our approach was poverty alleviation through economic rehabilitation which we have demonstrated can be achievable through BPI. I sincerely hope there would be larger participation from corporate sector in this country in initiatives like BPI.”

“We are extremely happy and honored to receive this award for our efforts in peace building through the business community. We would like to share this award with the regional chambers as they played a critical role in implementing this project. I also would like to mention especially the close working relationship we had with the Secretariat of Coordinating the Peace Process in Sri Lanka (SCOPP) and the Commissioner General of Essential Services (CGES). I also express my sincere gratitude to our donors, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands-Colombo, Royal Norwegian Government and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). Without them none of the above would have been possible. I also would like to take this opportunity to invite big corporate companies in Sri Lanka to join hands with FCCISL‘s BPI to continue with this national endeavor” Mr. Abeywickrama invited.

Mr. Tissa Jayaweera said “this is the third time one of FCCISL’s projects received international recognition. The first was for our efforts in rehabilitating tsunami devastated businesses, post tsunami 2004, and now for the Business for Peace Initiative (BPI) twice recognized in an international platform. The fact that we won this excellence award for harnessing peace, I hope, will be given due recognition especially by the business/corporate community, and I urge them to join hands with FCCISL for the continuation of this project.”