Enterprises and investors must be sensitive to each other’s interests while adhering to ethical and
context sensitive practices.

The community of business enterprise is an important part of a nation.  They contribute to the
strengths and weaknesses of a society through their actions.  Businesses are assessing the investment
opportunities and options in the North and East and in other parts of Sri Lanka.  Clearly the conditions
for business and investments are not the same everywhere.  Creating opportunities that realize well
distributed prosperity is the need of the hour.

Businesses and business leaders through philanthropy, help in the wellbeing and welfare of communities
and vulnerable groups. These are important strands in the fabric of Sri Lankan society and this activity is
growing.

The natural environment has to be paid close and careful attention when producing things - use of
energy and water have to be carefully considered.  What comes out of the factories, both sold in the
market place or dispersed through the air, into the soil and to the water have real costs to others in
terms of ill-health, or costs to clean up.  

Lives of the people and the opportunities for the next generation must improve in the North in the
East and in other regions of the country and investments have to increase into these areas.  Growth has
to take place, and it has to create employment but not of the kind found 30 years ago but of a new age
because the youth seeking employment are of and from a different time.  

“Do no harm” approaches have to spread to programs and projects and discipline their work.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) although important and useful by itself does not directly address
the building of better distributed opportunity for prosperity and the unique contribution that business
can make towards it.  CSR must go beyond philanthropy to creating social value.

Provide a “hand up” (as opposed to a hand out) to communities and businesses in the regions with
special attention to the small and medium scale enterprise and entrepreneur.


The fundamental questions to explore would be:

1.        What is the value that an investment should produce for society?
2.        How should this value be measured?
3.        How are the social, cultural, and environmental impacts measured?
4.        How does one ensure community buy-in and ownership?
5.        How does one ensure unity among stakeholders and prevent conflicts?
6.        What are the alternatives to philanthropy that go beyond giving to creating social value?
7.        What are the capabilities, processes, and structures required to create such value?
8.        What is the function of good governance within these?

A set of principles for business engagement would include the following five standards:

1.        A standard for engagement of local business enterprise.
2.        A standard for local employment.
3.        A standard for human resource development.
4.        A standard for employment of local resources linked with local business.
5.        A standard for sustainable development practices.
6.        A standard for engagement with local community including local provincial government and
district and division administration.

Engagement – here what types of enterprises in terms of scale and scope are to be encouraged and how
does it address the development requirements of that specific region?

Local employment – how the specific workforce in the region is addressed by the investments, who
gets employed, the skill and ethnic mix, space for workers from other regions.

Human resource development – planning for growth and for value chains.

Local resources – growth, employment, technical, environmental and habitat, bio-diversity related
considerations.

Sustainable development – the triple bottom line “people-planet-profit” model.

Regional and local governance – good governance standards that engage the existing structures and
institutions and communities.
BizPAct
Guiding Principles for Enterprises & Investors
by Dr. Nimal Gunathilleke, Governer - MARGA
& Suresh deMel, Chairman - BPA
July-2009
“You are what you repeatedly do.
Excellence is not an event - it is a habit.”

– Aristotle
Website Created and Maintained as a CSR Project by Members of the BPA Operations Committee
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