KARACHI – “The sustainability efforts of the Private sector in shaping the social face of business is commendable. Sri Lankan companies operating in Pakistan should develop partnership with Pakistani companies for learning and exchanging their experiences as they align their strategies with SDGs for Sustainable Business Growth”, this was stated by H.E. G.L. Gnanatheva, the Consul General of Sri Lanka in Karachi while addressing the Annual Business Sustainability Moot and Living the Global Compact Business Sustainability Award Ceremony organized by Global Compact Network Pakistan in collaboration with Employers’ Federation of Pakistan at Hotel Marriott Karachi.
The Consul General stated that the initiatives of recognizing the companies demonstrating Best Practices in implementing UNGC Principles and SDGs is commendable as it showcases how intensively the private sector is involved in uplifting the social face of business and acting as valuable partner with the Government in achieving SDG targets.
He also informed the audience that the Government of Sri Lanka in its Vision 2025 provides the overall vison and the public investment programme which is a three-year rolling progrmamme significantly aligned with SDGs. The National Budget of 2018 of Sri Lanka focuses on the ‘blue green economy’ envisaged to create an eco-friendly environment. The Sustainable Development Act enacted in Sri Lanka in October 2017 provides for implementing a national sustainable policy and strategy. The President of Sri Lanka has appointed the Sustainable Development Council to implement the Act and the Government has adopted main streaming SDGs into institutional plan as its main strategy to achieve SDGs. Companies in Sri Lank are also engaging themselves in developing partnerships for implementing SDGs.
The Consul General extended his full support in developing close relation of cooperation and partnership among Sri Lankan and Pakistani companies for promoting SDGs initiatives.
Justice (R) Majida Razvi, Chairperson, Sindh Human Rights Commission speaking as a Guest of Honour at this occasion appreciated the Private sector’s efforts in promoting business and human rights but said that a lot more needs to be done by the private sector in improving the deteriorating state of human rights violation particularly in the area of implementation of Labour Laws, minimum wages, rights of women at the workplace, gender harassment, Equal pay for work of equal value. She extended her full cooperation to the Global Compact Network Pakistan and the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan for working in close collaboration so as to bring positive improvement in human rights violations through the efforts of the private sector.
Earlier Mr. Ahsan Ullah Khan, President, Global Compact Network Pakistan in his welcome remarks emphasized upon the need of business to overcome the challenges in their way of growth by taking preemptive and proactive measures to mitigate business risks. Sustainability was the most important guarantee for business survival in the most challenging and turbulent times ahead Mr. Khan advised.
Mr. Majyd Aziz, President Employers’ Federation of Pakistan and South Asian Forum of Employers called upon the Ministry of planning and development to develop visible coordination with the private sector and periodically issue a progress report on achieving the SDG targets. “this will provide a guideline to the private sector as well as the government department to understand and undertake measures, actions, responsibilities to achieve the broader objectives. Employers’ Federation of Pakistan is fully committed to work with the GCNP on its programme to ensure that the Pakistan attains the SDG targets and is able to comply with GSP plus, better work and similar initiatives essential for increasing export and attaining prosperity of Pakistan.
Mr. Fasihul Karim Siddiqi, Executive Director, GCNP and Secretary General, Employers’ Federation of Pakistan also addressed the event.
The Event was marked by presentation of Business Case Studies and SDGs Initiatives and accomplishments of Pakistani companies. Mr. Umair Azam, of Integration Xperts, Mr. Zubair Anwar Bawany of Leisure Leagues Pakistan, Mr. Saleem Qureshi from Hirelabs Inc., and Ms. Nazish Sheikha of Pakistan Business Council in their presentations highlighted the initiatives taken by their respective companies in Business Sustainability Practices demonstrating their commitment in linking SDGs with Sustainable Business Growth.
An interactive Panel discussion on the theme of the Business Sustainability Moot: “ Linking SDGs with sustainable Business Growth” was moderated by Dr. Mustaghis-ur-Rehman of Bharia University, Karachi Campus in which Mr. Favad Soomro of Engro Foundation, Shah M. Saad Hussain from HASCOL Petroleum Limited, Brig. (R) Arshad Mahmood from Fauji Fertilizer Company Limited, Anser Javed of Starfish Pakistan, Firoza Salahuddin women activist from USA, Ms. Saba Ahmed from Pak-Arab Refinery Limited and Ms. Hina Altaf of Hub Pak Salt highlighted how the SDGs initiatives have impacted upon sustainable business growth in their organizations. They also shared their Company’s success story and challenges faced by them in SDGs implementation. Their statements also contained the recipe for companies to mainstream their strategies with SDGs in their search for sustainable business growth.
At this occasion “Living the Global Compact Best Practices Sustainability Awards 2018” were given to the winning companies. In the Large National Category, the 1st prize was jointly shared by PARCO & Engro Corporation Limited and the 2nd Prize was jointly shared by Attock Refinery Limited, Hi-tech Lubricants Ltd. and International Industries Ltd. The 3rd Prize was jointly shared by Pakistan Petroleum Ltd. Sadaqat Ltd and Agriauto Industries Ltd. In the Multinational category the 1st prize was jointly shared by HASCOL Petroleum Ltd. and Nestle Pakistan. Indus Motor Company Ltd. won the 2nd Prize and Archroma Pakistan Limited won the 3rd prize. In the SME Category the 1st prize was given to Integration Xperts and the 2nd prize to Leisure Leagues Pakistan. The recognition Shield was given to Artistic Fabrics & Garments Industries Pvt. Ltd., Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd., Pakistan Cables and Hub Pak Salt Refinery.
Winding up the Event Mr. Fasihul Karim Siddiqi, Executive Director GCNP in his keynote briefing paid tribute to old and emerging companies, for their remarkable initiatives in demonstrating commitment to business sustainability and particularly the companies recently joining the UNGC for their prime focus on SDGs as their core business.
Mr. Siddiqi referred to the recent Business Sustainability Trend Survey 2018 conducted by the Cambridge University which highlighted that growing public consciousness of sustainability issues and the political leadership gaps being created by volatility as the new norm, ways were opening for business to step into the challenge of sustainability leadership and either lead, adapt or fall. Mr. Siddiqi called upon business organizations to rise and respond to the challenge of integrating sustainability into their organizations for becoming a future fit leader.
At the end Mr. Siddiqi announced the formation of SDG Champions’ Club which will act as a plat form to integrate private sector efforts and initiatives in promoting and implementing SDGs and disseminate them widely for broader replication.
The meeting was followed by the Annual General Meeting of the Global Compact Network Pakistan which, among others gave approval to the Annual Financial Statement and Action Plan 2019.
The meeting which was attended by a large number of representatives from business and other stakeholders was adjourned with a vote of thanks by Mr. Zaki A. Khan, Vice President EFP and Event Coordinator GCNP.
The Event was moderated by Ms. Saba Ahmed of PARCO and Ms. Nuzhat Jahan Coordinator, GCNP.