As the world continues to grapple with a multitude of environmental issues caused by irresponsible consumption and ecological degradation, businesses have stepped in to play a greater role in protecting the environment. Enterprises are working closely with governments, business partners, customers, and all other stakeholders on developing business models that are good for the environment, the society, and their bottom line. Sampath Bank is one such responsible enterprise that has continued to champion the cause of the environment.
Right from its inception, sustainability has been one of the key priorities for the Bank which has always adopted an environmentally friendly business model by leveraging emerging technologies.
Sampath Bank’s continued investments in the digitalization of its core operations are one of the key drivers of its sustainability efforts. Over the years, the Bank has introduced several pathbreaking digital solutions such as Sampath Vishwa, Payeasy, WePay and Slip-less Banking, to the market. Transforming the way businesses and consumers access financial services, they have helped more Sri Lankans gain access to these services. At the same time, they have also played a significant role in helping protect the environment by enabling the Bank, its customers and business partners to cut down on their environmental footprint.
The Bank’s commitment to the environment extends to its business dealings too. Serving as an active partner of the country’s Non-Conventional Renewable Energy (NCRE) sector, Sampath Bank has offered financing for several renewable energy projects around the island.
Taking a hard look at every element of its operations, Sampath Bank strives to continuously identify more ways in which it can minimize its impact on the environment. The Bank has been scaling up the deployment of energy efficient lighting and air conditioning solutions to drive energy efficiency and reduce its energy consumption levels. Simultaneously, Sampath Bank has also been diligently looking at using alternative sources of energy for powering its operations. The Bank embarked on a solar migration project in 2016 and has rolled out rooftop solar systems across several of its branches.
The Bank is well aware of the fact that the things that get measured, get done. Hence it tracks its environmental performance and benchmarks its progress against peers. Sampath Bank monitors its Carbon Footprint closely and measures its direct and indirect emissions using the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocol. Captured in the Bank’s annual Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions inventory report, this data helps it strengthen its carbon management strategy and pursue new opportunities for carbon reduction.
“Sri Lankan society has always placed great emphasis on living in harmony with nature. Conserving natural resources and protecting the environment has been an integral part of our culture. Being a responsible enterprise that takes great pride in its Sri Lankan roots, Sampath Bank remains committed to championing environmental sustainability through our eco-conscious business model as well as our continued investments in energy conservation and environment-centred CSR initiatives. In light of the rising concerns around global warming and other environmental issues, we are expanding the scope and scale of our sustainability and community outreach efforts to have a greater positive impact on both society and the environment. We will continue to engage with all stakeholders to present a better future for all Sri Lankans,” said Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank PLC.
Going beyond its business activities, Sampath Bank has been investing heavily on the environment through its strategic corporate social responsibility initiatives as well.
Sampath Bank has always taken great pride in Sri Lanka’s heritage and is hence well aware of the significance of the country’s network of inland tanks or ‘wewas’, built eons ago by our kings. Serving as the principal source of water for irrigation and domestic use in the country’s dry and intermediate zones, the tanks also support rich ecosystems made up of countless plants, animals and insects around them.
The Bank has been restoring dilapidated tanks through its flagship CSR program, ‘Wewata Jeewayak’. To date, 10 tanks have been renovated under the project, and work on 3 more tanks is currently underway. Ensuring a continued, reliable supply of water for families engaged in farming and other related activities, the restoration of these tanks also nourishes the ecosystem intrinsically linked to it, thereby helping conserve and nurture the region’s biodiversity.
The Bank is also involved in a 5-year project together with Biodiversity Sri Lanka to restore ten hectares of degraded forest land in the Halgahawala Forest Reserve in Opatha, Galle. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Forest Department of Sri Lanka are offering technical assistance to the program which is aimed at increasing the number of plants in the area from 9,000 to 30,000. A plant nursery consisting of 4,500 plants has been set up to nurture a variety of species.
In addition to these programs, Sampath Bank has been supporting the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) of Sri Lanka’s conservation efforts for over 27 years. The Bank has been contributing a sum of Rs. 5/- to the Society for every new Sampath Debit Card issued.
The Bank also engages with school children through its Gasai Mamai Pubudu Potai initiative, aimed at encouraging young Sri Lankans to be more environmentally conscious. Under this unique program, Sampath Bank offers fruit saplings to children in primary schools. These saplings are planted within the school premises and the children are entrusted with the task of caring for them till they grow into fruit bearing trees.
Thus, with everything from its core operations to community outreach efforts being focused on protecting the environment, it is evident that Sampath Bank truly does have the environment at the heart of its business.