The Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action for all citizens, to ensure we “leave no one behind” by 2030. The 17 Goals are owned by us all – Governments, everyday citizens, civil society organizations and NGOs, and, equally, the private sector.
Increasingly, businesses all over the world have taken ownership of the SDGs and are using the goals to develop new inclusive and sustainable opportunities. Such firms understand that making the shift towards delivering sustainable social impacts is good for the economy and businesses, while also allowing companies to remaining relevant in evolving markets, given greater consumer consciousness today.
For the first time in Sri Lanka, and as part of its larger ‘HackaDev’ initiative (the National Youth Social Innovation Challenge), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has partnered with Expolanka Holdings PLC to introduce and pilot the first ‘HackaDev Corporate’. This constitutes the first social innovation challenge to be run for a private sector company in Sri Lanka, providing an opportunity for Expolanka’s staff to ideate and be creative in their approaches to contribute towards the sustainable development of Sri Lanka.
8 teams of 5 people each from different firms within the Expolanka family have signed up for the challenge, and, further to an initial workshop held in September 2018, social innovation ideas are set to be rolled out by Expolanka Holdings PLC, as their flagship CSR initiative going forward. Each idea is linked to a core SDG, ranging from concepts related to quality education to waste management and food security.
The official launch of the pilot of ‘HackaDev Corporate’ took place on 25 October 2018, during a workshop conducted for the 8 teams on how to develop a pitch for their ideas.
Addressing the staff, Mr. Jorn Sorensen, UNDP Country Director, stated, “through the HackaDev platform, you have the opportunity to contribute to healing our planet and leaving no one behind. Your experiences and exposure in the private sector is what will help you to take a holistic approach to solutions”.
Ms. Sabrina Yusoof, Head of Sustainability and CSR at the Expolanka Holdings expressed that, ““Expolanka is proud to collaborate with UNDP Sri Lanka to pilot ‘Hackadev Corporate’, as part of our commitment to contribute towards the SDGs. We are excited to engage in an initiative that will empower our employees by giving them the opportunity to contribute to something long-term, strategic and much bigger than us all.”
The teams will now work on further refining their ideas before making their official pitches to a judging panel in December 2018. The winning idea will then be rolled out from January 2019 onwards, as Expolanka’s flagship CSR initiative for the year.