Biodiversity Sri Lanka (BSL) is 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.

BSL actively promotes strong leadership of the private sector in the areas of biodiversity and environmental conservation, through the provision of technical support, sharing of information, knowledge and experience, the promotion of best practices through active learning and understanding mechanisms and by initiating and facilitating dialogue between State and civil society partners and the private sector, advocating biodiversity-friendly policies and positive instruments that campaign for the conservation of Sri Lanka’s fragile environment.

BSL’s overall mandate is to help raise awareness on biodiversity and sustainability issues amongst the Sri Lankan business community. Working to assist companies in understanding biodiversity and related issues, as well as to mainstream it into their core businesses, BSL has the ultimate aim of ensuring that a majority of Sri Lankan companies will eventually be on a sustainable ecological footing with vastly reduced negative impacts on our biodiversity.

A SHORT HISTORY

The Sri Lanka Business and Biodiversity Platform (SLBBP) was established in August 2012 as a programme of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), by its Initiating Partners – the CCC, Dilmah Conservation (DC) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). October 2015 saw the legal establishment of the SLBBP as a Not-for-Profit Company Limited by Guarantee under the Sri Lanka Companies Act No. 07 of 2007, as well as the rebranding and relaunch of the platform by its current name – Biodiversity Sri Lanka (BSL).

OBJECTIVES OF BSL

All of BSL’s functions and activities are geared towards the achievement of the following:

  • To add economic value to biodiversity conservation and integrate it into the core business of companies.
  • To promote national cooperation and the exchange of ideas and information relating to biodiversity conservation.
  • To strengthen and increase the involvement of the private sector in biodiversity conservation.

WHO WE ARE

We are our Members. Our Members decide on our destination and also draw up the map that we follow.

BSL membership is open to Sri Lanka-based businesses ranging from national to multinational companies as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). Currently, 31 leading corporates – all with high standards of environmental custodianship have backed BSL by becoming its invited Patron Members. 32 General Members, together with the previous, make up the wide array of members that represent diverse industries in Sri Lanka, namely,

  • The Banking and Finance sector
  • The Construction and Engineering sector
  • The Hospitality and Tourism sector
  • IT and Communications services
  • Manufacturing and Processing units
  • The Plantations and Agribusiness sector.

The United Nations Development Programme’s Sri Lanka Office partners BSL on a technical level as its Associate Member. The latest category of membership opened to the private sector of Sri Lanka is the Tier II General Membership for SMEs.

OUR DIRECTORS

BSL is advised by a 9-member Board of Directors who meet regularly. The Chairman of the Board is appointed by the Board for a period of two years. The members of the Board respectively represent the following:

  • Initiating Partner – The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
  • Initiating Partner – Dilmah Conservation
  • Initiating Partner – International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
  • Patron Members (2 Members)
  • General Members (2 Members)
  • Individual with proven expertise in business, sustainability and the environment
  • Chief Executive Officer of the BSL Secretariat

THE BSL SECRETARIAT

The BSL Secretariat is housed within the premises of the CCC, at 50, Navam Mawatha, Colombo 02, Sri Lanka and is responsible for the execution of the decisions of the Board of Directors, as well as for the day-to-day operations with regard to the services BSL provides to its members and partners. The Secretariat is manned by a small but passionate group of individuals who work to serve BSL Members with utmost dedication.

our team

Mr. Dilhan. C. Fernando - BOARD CHAIR
REPRESENTATIVE – INITIATING PARTNER – DC

Dilhan C. Fernando, the CEO of Dilmah Tea, is the younger son of Dilmah Founder, Merrill J. Fernando. The names of Dilhan and his brother Malik form the ‘Dilmah’ brand, the first producer owned tea brand.

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Mr. Chandrarathna D Vithanage - BOARD MEMBER
REPRESENTATIVE – INITIATING PARTNER – CCC

A Senior Assistant Secretary General of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Head of its Projects & Services Division. He has more than 30 years experience in private, public and NGO sector organizations in the fields of Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Development, Project Management and Environmental Management.

Dr. Ananda Mallawatantri - BOARD MEMBER
REPRESENTATIVE – INITIATING PARTNER – IUCN

Dr. Mallawatantri is the Country Representative for IUCN Sri Lanka. He is a Sri Lankan National who has more than 30 years of experience in Project Management, Research, Consulting, Industrial Processes and University Teaching.

Mr. Jonathan Alles - BOARD MEMBER
REPRESENTATIVE – PATRON MEMBERS

Mr. Jonathan Alles is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Hatton National Bank PLC. He counts over 30 years of banking experience having served several international banks including the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, HSBC – Dubai, Saudi British Bank – Riyadh and HSBC – Sri Lanka.

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Mr. Arkam Cassim - BOARD MEMBER
REPRESENTATIVE – PATRON MEMBERS

Akram Cassim is the Managing Director of Colombo Jewellery Stores, a leading Jeweller & Watch retailer in Sri Lanka founded in 1922. He is a 4th Generation Jeweller & Jewellery Designer and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Since his involvement with Colombo Jewellery Stores over the past 28 years, he has continued to grow the Brand on the founder’s principles of only selling faboulous gems and fashionable jewellery while never compromising on Quality.

Mr. Prema Cooray - BOARD MEMBER
REPRESENTATIVE – GENERAL MEMBERS

Mr. Prema Cooray, the immediate Past Chairman of Aitken Spence PLC counts well over 30
years’ experience in travel and tourism. He led the Hotel Sector of Aitken Spence for several
years making a significant contribution in making Aitken Spence a leading player in the
development of resorts both in Sri Lanka and Maldives

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Mr. Vasantha Leelananda - BOARD MEMBER
REPRESENTATIVE – GENERAL MEMBERS

Vasantha Leelananda is Head of the Destination Management sector and counts over 39 years in the Leisure industry with the John Keells Group. He served as the Managing Director of Walkers Tours from 1997 to 2005 and heads the inbound travel operations in Sri Lanka. 

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Mr.Sarinda Unamboowe - BOARD MEMBER
SUBJECT EXPERT

A Director of MAS’ Apparel Board, Sarinda is currently the CEO & Managing Director of MAS Kreeda, the Nike division of MAS Holdings, and heads Environmental Sustainability for the Group. Having joined MAS in 2001 as the CEO of Linea Aqua, he is also a member of MAS’ Innovations Leadership Team and serves on the Board of Biodiversity Sri Lanka.

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MRS. DHARA WIJAYATILAKE - BOARD MEMBER
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Ms. Dhara Wijayatilake assumed duties as the CEO of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce w.e.f. 1st March, 2016.   With this appointment she became the first woman to be appointed to the post. Prior to assuming this position, Mrs. Wijayatilake served in the Public sector in various senior positions over a period of four decades.

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Ms. Shiranee E. Yasaratne
ADVISOR - BSL SECRETARIAT

Shiranee Yasaratne has demonstrated success in promoting environmental and social sustainability in the business sector, with a particular focus on sustainable consumption and production, strategic and environmental impact assessment and integrating environmental and biodiversity considerations into corporate practices of businesses at the local, national, and multinational levels.

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Ms. R. M. Harshini de Silva Pandithasekera
GENERAL MANAGER – BSL SECRETARIAT

has over eight years of experience working with more than seventeen nationalities across five continents in the academic, private and non-governmental sectors, on the fields of environmental conservation and sustainable development. Skilled in environmental communications, she served as the South Asia Regional Communications Officer of the Global Water Partnership and advised undergraduate environmental leaders from West and Southeast Asia through the SUSI on Global Environmental Issues programme.

Roshan Salinda
COORDINATOR – BSL SECRETARIAT

Roshan holds a post graduate qualification in Economic Development from the University of Colombo. Prior to joining BSL, he worked for GreenMovement of Sri Lanka and carries substantial experience in implementing projects in different social and cultural contexts across the country. He believes in that conservation alone is not enough as present-day environmental challenges are mostly created, and significantly influenced by social, economic, political  and cultural drivers and therefore, an all-encompassing, multidisciplinary approach which integrates community-public-private partnerships is essential to ensure environmental well-being.