Sri Lanka's best bank for CSR 2019: Hatton National Bank
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Sri Lanka's best bank for CSR 2019: Hatton National Bank

Hatton National Bank

Rare is the Sri Lankan lender that fails to take corporate social responsibility seriously. It often feels like CSR is hard-wired into the industry, although perhaps that should not come as a surprise.

Sri Lanka remains a relatively poor country and still bears the scars of a 26-year civil war that only ended in 2009. Money for schools and hospitals, not to mention the cost of improving financial literacy, is in short supply, and banks are in most cases more than happy to turn provider.

At the head of the pack in Sri Lanka this year is Hatton National Bank, one of the island’s biggest lenders, and its leading provider of services to small and medium-sized enterprises.

HNB is also a pioneer in CSR, and its drive to ensure a better future for all – not just its customers – starts from within. The bank measures its internal level of power consumption (in kilowatt hours) and carbon dioxide emissions (in kilogrammes). In the two years to the end of 2018, both fell by 35%, during which the number of branches powered by renewables rose by 32, to 69.

Its green pledge is a sprawling set of ambitions, ranging from an internal drive to reduce fuel consumption by more than 600 litres a day, to convincing staff to use more environmentally friendly forms of transport (such as walking).

It has joined up with the education ministry and the United Nations to create awareness among schoolchildren of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

It also runs a host of other projects including biodiversity classes, a drive to make people aware of the importance of organ donation and financial literacy courses in schools in economically deprived areas.

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