Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL), through its flagship brand Munchee came forward to support the island’s first ever National Summit on Foresight and Innovation for Sustainable Human Development which was held recently at the Water’s Edge, Battaramulla. The summit was organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs together with the United Nations Global Compact Network Ceylon (UNGC), the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, LIRNEasia, and Coordinating Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation and Sarvodaya. The summit was graced by Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka along with over 350 other government, private and NGO sector representatives including state and cabinet ministers.
The two day summit focused on starting a national dialogue on the importance of foresight and innovation as a value addition to traditional development planning to achieve sustainable human development and the 2030 development agenda. These partnerships were all the more timely given the global calls for greater private sector participation in the 2030 development agenda.
During a meeting with CBL’s Chairman and Board of Directors, UNDP’s Country Director Mr. Jorn Sorensen noted the importance of this partnership and said, “Private Sector has a significant role in achieving the 2030 development agenda and we are very pleased that CBL, as a leading Sri Lankan corporate entity, joined hands with us to introduce foresight and innovation tools to development planning, which will help us realize a Sri Lanka we want and need by 2030.”
Speaking about partnering with this event Mr. Nandana Wickramage, Group Director & Head of Marketing and Sales at CBL, who also addressed the summit stated, “CBL has always been a company that has conducted its affairs with foresight and has always been a leader in innovation. Under our flagship brand Munchee, we have several relevant, far-thinking and socially responsible programs that are carried out across the island to benefit agro-based farmers, underprivileged children and infrastructure development in rural villages. This is no doubt one of the reasons why CBL was chosen to be the summit partner for this event.”
Foresight and Innovation are rapidly becoming tools that governments and other non-traditional partners for development are incorporating into their work. Through these methodologies, they seek to create coherent policy frameworks that will effectively utilize limited resources. The Summit therefore introduced several foresight tools through evaluating nationally relevant environmental, social and economic themes. With the participation of the private sector, the summit produced a set of recommendations that was collectively implemented following the event.
‘Munchee’ pursues a well-structured CSR strategy under the six pillars of Education, Arts and Culture, Sports, Disaster Response and Community Upliftment. Under its Education pillar Munchee Tikiri Shishyadhara is the largest educational assistance programme initiated by a privately held company focusing on education. In addition Munchee also conducts ‘Munchee Hapana Shishyathwa Wedamulu’ a free of charge seminar programme for the children who are sitting for grade five scholarship exams. Under its ‘Uplifting community’ pillar, the company operates ‘Munchee Samaga Gamata Sarana’ – a programme that identifies marginalized areas and uplifts the basic needs required in each area. Under ‘Sports’, Munchee sponsors the National Volleyball Championship, supports host of school sports activities and even sponsors athletes entering the international arena. To promote ‘Arts and Culture’, Munchee supports many artistes, sponsors for Aurudu Uthsava as well as Musical concerts.
Ramya Wickramasingha Chairman, Ceylon Biscuits Limited (right) and Joern Sorensen Country Director, UNDP exchange the agreement on the CBL Munchee sponsorship
Mr.Nandana Wickramage, Group Director, Head of Marketing and Sales Ceylon Biscuit Limited, addressing the summit