People’s Leasing & Finance PLC

Annual Report 2019/20

Natural capital

Preservation of the natural environment for the future generation has become a global priority as climate change remains the most critical challenge of our times. People’s Leasing as a responsible financial services provider is committed to abide by legal and regulatory requirements of Sri Lanka and voluntarily adheres to our domestic and international standards on reporting.

We drive environmental stewardship, collaborate with our employees, customers, business partners, and private/public institutions towards safeguarding the environment. We not only strive to optimise our sustainable resource use but also promote sustainable business practices among our customers encouraging them to minimise their negative impact on our environment and the society at large. Further, we consider our environmental sustainability as a key focus area of our outreach Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts.

Established system-based EMS to effectively manage our Direct Impact on the environment

Our environmental accountability value is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and we are progressing on the journey to contribute more effectively towards the sustainable development of our country through our responsible and environment-friendly business practices.

Further, guided by the Board and in accordance with our environmental policy which is reviewed periodically, responsible business practices are promoted Company-wide. Environment-oriented decision making is incorporated in our operations, lending, products and services and community-oriented activities through a four pillared strategy.

Four-pillar environmental strategy

Highlights: Investment on protecting the environment

2019/20 2018/19
Green awareness: Promoting green consciousness
across our value chain
Green training programmes (Nos.) 18 30
Employees trained on green business practices (Nos.) 35 Approx 300
New recruits trained (Nos.) 334 492
Green operations: Managing and optimising our direct positive
impact on the environment
Recycled waste paper (Kg) 7,150 6,970
Energy usage (kWh) 14.5 x 10 6 4.5 x 106
Recycled hazardous electronic waste (kg) 3,558
Carbon footprint (Tonnes of CO2 equivalents) 7,955.83 6,113.66*
Responsible finance: Optimising the green impact of
products and services offered by People’s Leasing
Green finance facilities (Nos.) 850 2,185
Value of green finance (Rs. billion) 1.87 5.48
Green outreach CSR: Conserving the environment
New saplings planted (Nos.) 4,517 14,625
Stakeholders educated on sustainable living (Nos.) Approx 7,000 1,105
Environment-related outreach CSR initiatives (Nos.) 12 31
Environment-related investment (Rs. million) 3.32 1.94
Total direct beneficiaries (Approximate No.) 7,934 2,150

*carbon footprint value including the supplementary building

Green awareness

Literacy on sustainable and responsible business

We educate our employees and other key stakeholders on our core value of environmental accountability. Round the year, our new staff and existing staff are educated on their individual and team responsibility towards environment.

Early adoption of our environment related Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) tracking has led to high levels of staff awareness throughout the Group in managing our direct impact on natural capital. Beyond a data tracking exercise, the KPIs are taken into every day decision making at business unit level driven by the Heads of business units and sustainability champions who track environmentally responsible business.

In 2019/20, the Company educated every branch office on their individual carbon footprint for the first time. They were educated on factors that contribute to increase their branch footprint with recommendations to lower the same in the ensuing years with informed responsible choices.

Our staff is educated on environmental due diligence into the lending process, which often includes a site visit and customers environment related records and licenses/certifications obtained. Our employees are also educated on the indirect negative impact that could take place due to lack of screening of financial solutions against any biodiversity-related risks. Staff is made aware on protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value against our operational locations and encouraged to implement required action to minimise impacts on biodiversity.

We also engage our staff in outreach CSR on environment to increase their consciousness towards environment.

“With continuous awareness, we internalise the environment into our day-to-day business.”

“While doing my regular work, I was assigned to track the environmental performance at my branch. I do this additional task with enthusiasm. With guidance from my Branch Manager, we discuss how we can save costs with responsible resource use, and how we can secure a high level of employee participation. With continuous awareness raising through word of mouth, social media, and emails, we internalise the environment into our day-to-day business decision-making on subjects including waste reduction, energy efficiency, and responsible lending. The staff support has been amazing in gradually greening our processes, and in transforming our branch culture. We also engage our staff in outdoor CSR projects, and ensure their active participation through dedicated sub-teams. We value staff feedback and give each staff member ownership for what they contribute. Now our staff understand the environmental impact of their actions better. This has improved our branch image among customers and the community. We truly consider environmental consciousness as a part of our business success.”

Anwer Hassan

Cash Officer
People’s Leasing & Finance PLC
Badulla Branch

Green operations

Sustainable resource optimisation

From energy conservation to responsible waste management in our business units across the island, we actively work towards reducing our operational footprint on the environment. We introduced tracking of key environment-related indicators in 2014. Ever since our business units have been tracking these indicators and potential adverse environmental impacts are identified and corrective action are taken where required.

We calculate our carbon footprint covering all scopes in line with the requirements of the ISO 14,064-1: 2018 framework. Reducing our carbon footprint is a key environmental performance indicator of the Company.
In 2019/20, carbon footprint was calculated for the 6th time and the Group carbon footprint was reported as 7,955.83 tonnes
of CO2 equivalents. It an increase of 1,842.17 tonnes of CO2 equivalents resulted mainly due to employee business related travel – land (direct emission) category and emission losses incurred in the transmission and distribution of electricity (Indirect emission), despite our pro-environment actions and disturbed operations due to Easter attacks.

In 2019/20, a system based Environment Management System (EMS) was developed in house. It was pilot tested and run across our operational units, in place of manual tracking. In accordance with ISO 14064-1: 2018 the new EMS is expected to support real time decision making to reduce our carbon footprint enabled by the real time tracking and reporting. Year round environment performance data and sustainability audits help the Company to accurately track environmental KPIs.

Responsible use of paper New products/services that promote paperless work, including paperless statements, online transactions and slipless transactions were continued. E-memo system was a significant milestone implemented towards a paperless work environment in 2019/20. Responsible use of fuel To reduce the fuel usage in business travel, we practice effective route planning, planned transportation and use of green vehicles in our fleet. Business travel of field staff was tracked through a system to enhance effectiveness in 2019/20. Responsible use of electricity Our main energy use is in the form of electricity and we economise air conditioning systems and use energy-efficient lighting and office equipment. In 2019/20, the energy consumption increased by 9.95x106 kWh mainly due to inclusion of employee business travel – land (direct emission) category and possible emission losses incurred in the transmission and distribution of electricity (indirect emission), despite our pro-environment actions and disturbed operations due to Easter attacks.
Responsible waste management We understand the severity of irresponsible disposal of solid waste including the hazardous electronic waste and the higher global warming potential of food waste. Waste segregation is in practice since 2011 with employee support. Our waste management process is also strengthened by the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) registered waste collection solution providers and the collective effort taken by our staff to reduce group wide waste generation. Janitorial staff appreciation programme held annually also promotes a clean and a green workplace. In 2019/20, highest ever disposal of hazardous electronic waste was sent for responsible recycling through two outsourced CEA registered e-waste recycling solutions providers. Our 7,150kg paper recycling efforts saved 122 fully grown trees and reduced GHG emissions.

A hard disk being damaged to ensure sensitive data protection during the highest ever responsible disposal of hazardous electronic waste through a CEA registered electronic waste recycling service provider
in January 2020.

Moreover, guided by our sourcing policy, our central sourcing department and the relevant operational units educate our supply chain and guide them to meet our corporate requirements including environmental compliance. Central screening of suppliers annually and presence of environment-related clauses in supplier agreements, ensure that our suppliers are in adherence to environmentally responsible business practices.

7th time annual awareness and recognition of janitorial staff on “The importance of responsible janitorial practices” and “Happiness in life” in the presence of their closest family members in November 2019.

“Now we have a tailor-made paperless system in place of the traditional memo circulation method.”

“I am so glad that we were able to team up in developing the e-memo system in June 2018. The three phased development process was in itself a complex task with concerns generated at all levels including the branch network, management, and related departmental staff. We are thankful to our in-house ICT experts. Now we have a tailor-made system in place of the traditional memo circulation method. Because of this automated approval process, we are now powered to serve our customers with minimal delays. This also minimises errors in data entry at our entry points. This facility is also coupled with our existing Document Scanning System which ensures data security by enabling the electronic transfer of sensitive customer documents, with no duplication or reprinting required. This is indeed a milestone in our journey towards a paperless environment. We save paper at every level. Here at Documentation, we have tracked a remarkable monthly reduction of 76.6%.”

Mahesha Perera

Head of Documentation

People’s Leasing &
Finance PLC, Head Office

Responsible finance

Sustainable finance

In keeping pace with the rising expectations of stakeholders, we increasingly promote Environmental Social Governance (ESG) considerations when making lending decisions. This also includes working with customers to minimise
the negative environmental effects of their business operations.

In 2019/20, the risks associated with lack of customer awareness on guarding against the violation of environment-related laws by customers or third parties were identified as a critical concern. Further, we plan to improve staff awareness on minimising if not eliminating impacts on natural ecosystems in future capacity building programmes that promote quality and responsible credit.

As we continue to serve our customers we plan to identify possible climate change risks and vulnerabilities to natural disasters of their respective businesses.

In October 2019, responsible business practices of our branch network were identified, recognised and rewarded in alignment with the advancement of SDGs at the annual employee appreciation programme based on a comprehensive application that captured balanced performance of voluntarily participated branches where 46 branches out of 103 actively took part.

“Beyond numbers, we strive to bring in value through responsible lending.”

“We as a team see a purpose to come to work, and we do believe that there is a role to be played by us in supporting the Nation’s sustainable progress. Our staff is well aware of the repercussions of violating the laws of the country, leading to unnecessary court cases and a loss of staff productivity in our capacity as a lending institution. As such, we look beyond numbers and strive to bring in value through responsible credit and constant follow up with our potential and existing customers. We educate our customers on how to guard against illegal and anti-social activities that could even lead to criminal offences. We also encourage and guide our customers where required to operate their businesses responsibly with the quality credit we provide. This helps us win our customers’ loyalty in the long run. We also foresee that with integrated systems and ethics in place, we could sustain our business and secure new funding lines in future as a responsible company.”

Kushan Herath

Officer in Charge
People’s Leasing & Finance PLC

Narammala Branch

Green outreach CSR

Environmental stewardship through outreach CSR

Our environmental stewardship is also demonstrated through outreach CSR programmes on environment. Aiming at generating carbon removals, long-term reforestation/ planting initiatives continued including 7 new sites
planting 4,517 saplings.
Such efforts at branch level engaged stakeholders and volunteered staff.

People’s Leasing also continued investment in long-term reforestation in the multi stakeholder involved “Life” carbon accrual project in Opatha, Kanneliya spearheaded by the Biodiversity Sri Lanka.

Continued commitment to preserve bio diversity

Since 2013 People’s Leasing is a patron member of Biodiversity Sri Lanka, a national platform entirely owned and driven by the private sector, established to promote strong engagement of the corporate sector in biodiversity and environmental conservation in Sri Lanka.

We also partnered with Biodiversity Sri Lanka to conduct an awareness seminar marking the “Earth Day” themed “The importance of Keeping Nature Intact – Business Challenges” held at the People’s Leasing Head Office in Borella to educate the business community where over 40 officials representing various businesses participated.

A vignette of the awareness seminar supported by People’s Leasing to mark the “Earth Day” at People’s Leasing Head Office to educate the business community on environmental responsibility.

People’s Leasing also conducted an island-wide poster art competition “PLC Haritha Sithuwam” for young children on environment conservation covering six sub themes woven around challenges to environment sustainability and proposed green action towards a low-carbon future. Over 7,000 creative entries were received. Thirty-six all island winners were recognised at a colourful event participated by the winners and their parents. Subsequently, 588 merit winners were also recognised regionally engaging the branch network.

A certificate of participation was awarded to the rest of the applicants to encourage their creativity.

Award presentation of island-wide Poster Art Competition “PLC

Haritha Sithuwam

” to promote environment consciousness and green action among young generation held in February 2020 at the People’s Leasing building, Colombo 5.

“People’s Leasing made it a shared responsibility that generated public trust.”

“On behalf of the Central Environmental Authority I wish to state that the “PLC Haritha Sithuwam” poster art competition was a timely event organised by People’s Leasing and Finance, at a time where climate change is considered to be the most challenging environmental problem that humanity faced. Six sub themes had been identified according to the applicants’ age group, covering vital areas such as responsible waste management, biodiversity protection, and green cities of the future. People’s Leasing has encouraged children to understand the seriousness of environmental problems, to enhance their green consciousness, knowledge, and attitudes.
It has inspired responsible green action in these future change agents in mitigating challenges to environmental sustainability.
A collaborative effort with a spectrum of stakeholders, People’s Leasing had made it a shared responsibility that generated public
trust for all stakeholders involved.”

Lakmini Radhika

Assistant Director
Environment Protection Unit

Central Environment Authority

Samadiyata Sewanak

” a multi-stakeholder involved long-term planting initiative spearheaded by People’s Leasing Badulla Branch in three acre grassland in Alugolla, Badulla in February 2020.

Future outlook

In the ensuing years, People’s Leasing plans the following:

  • Build more staff capacity on promoting responsible financial solutions with superior customer advisory services.
  • Invest in required technological advancements and improve existing Environment Management System to drive sustainable resource optimisation.
  • Strengthen staff communications to increase their commitment on responsible finance and climate smart business towards a low carbon future.
  • Collaborate with more strategic partners and continue to invest in strategic national priorities to drive country transformation towards a low carbon economy while supporting the advancement of SDGs.

A staff member of Badulla branch volunteers in planting a sapling at the degraded grassland in Alugolla, Badulla contributing to restore the eco system

In 2019/20, the risks associated with lack of customer awareness on guarding against the violation of environment-related laws by customers or third parties were identified as a critical concern.

“Samadiyata Sewana” is a multi-stakeholder involved long-term planting initiative partnered by People’s Leasing Badulla Branch to restore the three acre grassland in Alugolla, Badulla. The project was spearheaded by the branch with the active participation of the Government and non-governmental institutions, community based organisations and community members in November 2020. Ever since the staff members of Badulla branch continue their periodic follow ups to ensure high survival rate of the planted saplings.

Some of the creative entries received for “PLC Haritha Sithuwam”. Over 7,000 creative entries were received.