Sri Lanka firms told socially responsible investing does pay

Standing left to right – Mr. Dinesh Jebamani (Chief Manager Liability Product Management and New Age Media – Seylan Bank), Mr.Sudesh Peiris (Senior Manager – Digital Banking Channels – Seylan Bank), Ms. S.Senevirathne (Representative of the Revenue Department – Western Province), Mr. Tilan Wijeyesekera (Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking – Seylan Bank) and Mr. Malik Wickremanayaka (Deputy General Manager – Operations – Seylan Bank)

Aug 25, 2009 (LBO) – Companies should look closely at socially responsible business practices as they are more profitable and opens the door to alternative investments, a senior official from the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) said.

“Socially responsible investment advocates argue that screening helps eliminate companies that have risks that are generally not recognized by traditional financial analysis,” SEC chairman Udayasri Kariyawasam said.

“There are several instances indicating that investing in a social responsible manner does not mean a reduction in returns.”

He said the KDL Domini 400 Social Index, launched in 1990 modeled on the Standard & Poor’s (S&P’s) 500 index, tracks 400 listed US corporations that have adhered to certain standards of social and environmental excellence.

Socially responsible investments include avoiding investing in companies that produce or sell addictive substances like alcohol or tobacco or promote gambling.

And it means seeking out those committed to environmental sustainability, alternative energy and clean technology, Kariyawasam said.

Kariyawasam was speaking at a forum on alternative financing in Sri Lanka organized by RAM Ratings.

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