HIP’s Sustainability Initiatives Wins International Accolades

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The Hambantota International Port (HIP) was awarded in the Corporate Social Responsibility category at the 10th Maritime Standard Awards 2023. HIP, who won the accolade for the second consecutive year, has actively worked on integrating its community programs to harmonise the operational aspects of the port with its sustainability initiatives.

Corporate Social Responsibility Award

Johnson Liu, CEO of Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) who commended the team on their achievement said the port’s success is mainly attributed to this strategic approach which is a win for HIP and the community. “Our aim is to create a cohesive platform for the holistic development of HIP’s nearby communities. By adopting this integrated approach, HIP is bringing about transformative change, positioning the port as a driving force for positive exchange in the region. I am proud of the team working towards the success of this initiative and earning recognition for it on international platforms.”

COO of HIPG, Tissa Wickramasinghe and Jeevan Premasara, Senior General Manager, HR & Admin, collected the CSR award on behalf of the port at the ceremony held in Dubai. “We are now looking at our community development programmes from 4 different aspects under the ‘People Focus’ pillar of our Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) strategy. We have broken it down to expert input, facilitator input, finding the catalyst and activating the community. We find and sponsor the technical processes and specialists required for the success of all our community projects, bringing in relevant government agencies as facilitators and finding the right people who could spark off enthusiasm and be catalysts from the ground. The social contribution from the beneficiaries of these projects will go towards the maintenance and continuation of our initiatives,” the CEO said.

The port recently concluded the second phase of their flagship ‘Hope Village’ project which is built on this model. The pilot project aims to provide livelihoods for residents in the Kendagasmankada village in the Lunugamwehera division, HIP’s most prominent involvement in uplifting living standards of needy adjacent communities to date.

Jeevan Premasara, Senior General Manager, HR & Administration of HIPG says the project facilitates multi-stakeholder partnerships in a number of different ways. “We have introduced a ‘Cooperative Development Model’ as the handover and management mechanism of our flagship Hope Village project which is funded by China Merchants Foundation, the CSR arm of China Merchants Group, and the parent company of our global partner CM Port. Under the cooperative model, awareness and educational programs will be conducted for villagers to enhance the quality of their agricultural products and help them develop vocational and entrepreneurial skills.”

One Stop Service

The Senior General Manager says the port’s aim is to develop an Agriculture Hub in the village where producers can directly meet buyers in an open market environment and operate as a ‘One Stop Service,’ that will meet customer needs under one roof. “The open market concept we introduce will allow villagers to sell their produce to several investment areas in Hambantota including the port,” he adds.

Since the port came under HIPG in 2018, HIP has completed 78 CSR initiatives to the benefit of their adjacent communities and the southern region. HIP has donated a sum of US $ 1.1 million for these projects under its ESG strategy, some of the port’s key initiatives including a fact finding project to find a resolution to the human elephant conflict; establishing the Human Elephant Peace Fund to minimize the conflict and support the elephant transit home in Udawalawe; construction of an electric Fence and another 5.8 km hanging eclectic fence to protect Thammannawa village; beach cleanups and installation of garbage collection bins in collaboration with MEPA; tree planting programs, establishing a COVID testing facility for the region and livelihood programs like the Hope Village project. HIP also supports initiatives that encourage sustainable use of energy sources and Power saving, i.e. using led lighting, introducing a fleet of electric vehicles for staff and actively promoting the green port concept.

The port has several key CSR projects already in the pipeline for this year, and others lined up for 2024. The Senior General Manager, HR & Administration of HIPG says all of these projects align with the port’s mission to create a sustainably powered future, by protecting the environment and all life forms, as well as empower people and communities

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Source: HIPG