HNB PLC, Sri Lanka’s leading private sector bank, marked World Thrift Day with a resounding commitment to environmental conservation through a significant Green Pledge undertaken by all of its employees.
The pledge launched in 2009, was fully digitalized in 2023 with staff screening and downloading it via QR code ensuring the entirely paperless
Extending the idea of savings on World Thrift Day to also reflect saving the environment, all staff members of the HNB Head Office pledged their commitment to sustainable practices. They committed to minimizing paper use, reducing energy consumption, promoting sustainable commuting, and fostering a culture of environmental responsibility. Through the pledge, the employees dedicated themselves to making eco-conscious choices in their everyday work, contributing positively to the well-being of our planet.
HNB Managing Director and CEO Jonathan Alles expressed his pride in the Bank’s pledge, stating, “Our green pledge is more than just a promise – it reflects our dedication towards going beyond the standard for our environment. As global warming intensifies, it becomes more evident that we are living on borrowed time from future generations, and the measures we have undertaken are just one step on a journey towards holistic sustainability.
Our employees’ Green Pledge is instrumental in this journey, and it signifies our commitment to not only sustainable practices but also a shift in mindset. We hope the pledge inspires our employees to extend their sphere of sustainability from just work to all walks of life, and turn sustainability from a buzzword into the default way of living.
HNB’s pledge is yet another step in their remarkable journey towards a more sustainable future for all. Boasting a Total Green Finance Portfolio 49.5 Bn LKR as of the 30th September 2023, the Bank has also been officially certified Carbon Neutral by the Sri Lanka Climate Fund (SLCF), operating under the authority of the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment.
L. Chiranthi Cooray, HNB’s Deputy General Manager for Sustainability and Corporate Communications, said “The pledge only reiterated the sustainable initiatives that employees have already put into practice. We are privileged to have an outstanding workforce at HNB, who have emulated our drive towards a greener future. The synergy between our employee- and organization-driven sustainability initiatives gives me great hope for a climate-friendly tomorrow.”
HNB employees have actively engaged in projects at branch, regional, and head office levels, which include donating a portion of their salary towards COVID relief, nature projects, home gardening, tree planting, and providing nutrition for expectant mothers. In particular, the Bank’s Saru Gewaththa programme promotes home gardening efforts, also underscoring the collective effort commitment of specific bank branches in cultivating plants within limited spaces.
HNB employees also participate in eco-friendly commuting, in line with HNB’s “Walk the Talk” initiative. Established immediately post-COVID, the programme has seen significant uptake, registering 101 cyclists and 238 walkers in addition to the staff that have begun to carpool.
In addition, the entirety of HNB’s staff underwent training on “Business Against Corruption” facilitated by Transparency International Sri Lanka. This endeavour was a significant step towards ensuring critical, accurate ESG reporting is understood by staff at all levels of the Bank, aligning with their Environmental and Social Policy, which also covers ESG Risk Management. The Bank’s E&S Risk Scoring system assesses the level of risk and then refers to the appropriate personnel to promptly address any concerns.
HNB has also implemented several company-wide projects in line with their sustainability journey. By embracing digitalization, HNB has achieved a 22% reduction in paper usage through transitioning statements and transactions online while promoting digital channels to customers. A significant factor contributing to digital transformation is HNB’s integration of RPA (Robotic Process Automation), beginning with its Custodial Banking and Trustee Services systems. RPA has since massively improved its service and operations capabilities, also reducing the amount of waste generated through traditional methods.
HNB has collaborated with organizations like Biodiversity Sri Lanka and the United Nations Development Programme to advance sustainable development, restore degraded forests, protect endangered species, promote financial inclusion, and support sustainable projects in Sri Lanka. HNB also implemented a Green Procurement process, which includes mandatory assessments to ensure compliance with social and environmental criteria.
Image 01: HNB Managing Director / CEO, Jonathan Alles and HNB Executive Director / COO, Dilshan Rodrigo, together with members of the Corporate Management team and Head Office staff, reciting the Green Pledge, along with employees at other Customer Centres across the island taking the Pledge.