Environmental Consultancy Volunteers in Sri Lanka

Sustainable Footprints, as part of its CSR objectives, delivered environment and management consultancy out in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is a country with a very recent and traumatic past - not only suffering from civil war in 2009, which left over 40,000 dead, but also the tsunami in 2004 which killed over 4,000 and wiped out a lot of the country’s infrastructure and businesses.

Sustainable Footprints Director, Geri Findlay went over to Sri Lanka to work for a charity helping to deliver and develop consultancy services to SME’s. Whilst there, she worked with three SMEs with very different problems:

Freelan Enterprises (Pvt.) Ltd

Freelan Enterprises produce chilli and spices with three locations across the Matara district of Sri Lanka. Geri’s expertise was brought to the fore when the client stated that they had frequently received complaints from neighbours regarding the smell from the factories. Upon a site visit, it was evident that, although the smell and environmental issues with the chilli and spice production and packaging were evident, the real concern was more from a health and safety standpoint.

On entering the packing and drying rooms within the factory the first thing to hit you is the particulates in the atmosphere which literally took your breath away! In addition to that, the room temperature was often in excess of 33°C. The issue here was, not only lack of ventilation and cooling, but also lack of funds/space and modern technology.

In order to look at a viable solution for Freelan, Geri worked with the Sustainable Footprints consultants and engineers remotely overnight in order to deliver to Freelan a well thought out and structured solution.

Feedback from Gayana Chami, Quality Assurance Executive for Freelan: “We are appreciating your great service of visiting our manufacturing plant and reviewing the current situation of the company. We received your suggestions for future improvements on health, safety and environmental aspects. Thank you very much for your immediate reply and review report. We really appreciate your courage and kind support”.

Trio Construction (Pvt). Ltd

Trio expressed an interest in receiving general business consultancy and focus on ISO standardisation. They previously certified against ISO 9001 (Quality) but this had lapsed. They were also considering achieving the ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) certification.

In order to deliver for the client, Geri conducted a general business gap analysis which covered the following subjects and provided surface level improvement recommendations:

  • standards and policies
  • finance
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Procedures
  • reputation
  • marketing recommendations
  • competition
  • structure and people
  • management time
  • SHEQual (Safety, Health, Environment and Quality)
  • General. 

Geri also delivered training to the newly appointed Environment Manager. The client was very happy with the delivered report and showed surprise at its depth and content after such a short period of time. They have maintained contact with Geri after the handover of the project work.

D&D fashions

This was a very small clothes manufacturing business on the outskirts of Matara. The business faced a number of problems including very limited IT capabilities (one computer which only the daughter was able to use), no system for bookkeeping or stock ordering and employee retention issues. Geri worked with Deepani Gunawardena to develop a suite of MS Office based accounting and business tools. She then delivered training on these and good business processes and procedures.

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