In The Press

Port City Project sustainability beyond philanthropy


Managing Director of Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd, Jiang Houliang planting a Hodapara tree (Dilleniaindica/Elephant apple) at the Biodiversity Study Park in Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte

Managing Director of Port City Colombo (Pvt.) Ltd, Jiang Houliang, speaking at the 11th Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Environmental Professionals Sri Lanka, said that the Port City Colombo’s vision was to be the benchmark in environmental friendliness and sustainability.

He said that the new city which will be a show piece for the rest of the world, would be a place where environmentally friendly people, organizations and visitors will want to live and do business and the transit population will be allowed to practice their environmentally friendly habits.Port City Colombo even plans to incorporate sustainability guidelines for third party developers to abide by, when they develop their individual plots of land; which is keeping with their commitment to build a completely sustainable city, extending beyond their scope as master developer.

The Port City project has a huge international executive force working on every aspect of its sustainable development. “We are adhering to the best development practices. For us, corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability are not just means to establish a relationship with our communities so that we can channel our philanthropy and do image management. This project will go far beyond that. We genuinely believe that adhering to global best practices in sustainability is linked with economic and commercial success and this will be demanded by those who invest and live in the Port City in the future. That is why we are continuing to forge real stakeholder involvement and innovative partnerships as we cannot succeed alone. Therefore, we are mindful that future generations will measure the success of this project by its environmental and social sustainability. That is why we are making investments in these areas today.”

Speaking of Port City’s view on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Jiang said “Being a good corporate citizen is an important factor for any organization; however CSR priorities are not the same in different parts of the world. For example, in a country like Sri Lanka philanthropy and community engagement play an important role. If you are in the driving seat of a project such as the Port City, you have to be in sync with this. At the same time one has to also be sensitive to local norms and deep rooted cultural traditions; when it comes to philanthropy projects and community engagement. Therefore, our initial foray into CSR was looking at the well-being of adjacent communities, such as the Fishermen’s Livelihood Support Society(FLSS) project we have been sponsoring in Negombo.”

“We have allocated 500 million rupees towards the sustainability and well-being of a community living to the North of Colombo. The FLSS which operates under the Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Development Ministry and the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development is an initiative supported and fully funded by the Port City and its primary objective is to find meaningful ways to support fishing communities in these areas, All the programs carried out are suggested by the community and evaluated independently by officials of the two ministries.”

The Managing Director of Colombo Port City, addressing some of the initial doubts expressed by various parties about the project; particularly the ongoing dredging operation, said that sand dredging for the project is being carried out after a detailed environmental impact assessment, which had its public comments in December 2015. “It is carried out in a completely sustainable manner at distances of over 7 km from the shoreline, and at depths of 15 m or more. The dredging has no impact on coastal erosion or fisher livelihoods. Representatives of fishermen have come on board the dredger to personally observe the advanced technology we use. The dredgers used are the best in the world and their GPS tracking records are available for public scrutiny via internet,” he said.

The Port City Colombo was the main sponsor of the 11th AGM of the Environmental Professionals Sri Lanka, held under the theme ‘Rescuing Wetlands for Future Economic Development.’