Spotlight on CSR in Sri Lanka
I’ve always wanted to work in sustainability, so after completing my degree at Monash University in Malaysia (I majored in international relations and minored in marketing and communications) I planned to join an NGO or intergovernmental organisation.
Following an internship at the United Nations Population Fund, I learned that you can make a real contribution to sustainability through marketing and communications. I put this into practice in my first role in corporate communications at a local telecommunications company, where I regularly collaborated with the sustainability team.
After three years there, I came across the opening for my current role at London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), which brought together my comms experience and my passion for sustainability. I joined six months ago, and I haven’t looked back.
Our CSR and sustainability work at LSEG Sri Lanka is focused on three key areas. The first is our long-term CSR projects. Many of LSEG’s tech operations are based here in Sri Lanka, where we develop business-critical software that’s used globally and we believe we can make a difference through the use of technology. Our long-term CSR objective for Sri Lanka is to help enhance the country's ICT landscape.
This includes projects like improving access to ICT education, promoting gender equality, youth empowerment and supporting entrepreneurs – we’re opening up avenues for both young people and adults to build careers and helping those in poverty to find a route out. Part of my role is looking at potential charity partners, reviewing proposals, ensuring activities align with our CSR strategy and making sure that there is suitable governance and reporting in place.
Company-wide, LSEG encourages its employees to pursue the projects that they care about and to contribute ideas, which means that you feel empowered in your role. We have a flat hierarchy here, and employee engagement is a top priority. This includes a huge emphasis on getting our employees active in CSR – every employee gets two paid days off a year to volunteer – so our second focus is to help facilitate this.
For us, CSR is about more than just financial donations – it’s about making our people feel like they’re part of something that enriches our communities. Staff are encouraged to come up with their own CSR initiatives and I support them in doing that too. For instance, if someone comes to me and says 'I really want to help paint this rural school,’ I’ll help them get a team of volunteers together and get things moving. Last year in Sri Lanka alone 2500 volunteer hours were logged!
Our third focus area is supporting LSEG to run as sustainably as possible. We do this in tandem with Property and Facilities, looking carefully at our suppliers and stakeholders and reviewing areas such as how we dispose of our waste, how much we are recycling and how we can conserve energy.
One of my favourite things about working here is that you encounter so many passionate people. Our people don’t just get involved in CSR for the sake of it; they do it because they're genuinely interested in making a difference. Letting our staff lead on many of our initiatives means that we have such a diverse range of projects. For example, some people really care about the environment, so we get involved in activities such as beach and community cleanups. Others want to help animals, so we support charities working with stray dogs. And then, of course, we do lots of work around helping other people, for instance in schools, hospitals and care homes. No two days are ever the same.