As we celebrate the 5th World Company Day (WCD) today, we invite some of the Signatories from around the world to share their experience of World Company Day 2017. We hope that these stories will encourage you, that you too can make a difference in your daily work. If you would like to share your stories, you can do so through our online form or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WCD speaks with Romani de Silva, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Alliance Finance Company PLC, the third oldest finance company in Sri Lanka, to find out about what they are doing to shape the world.
What do you do as a company?
We are a finance company which facilitates financial inclusion to those who do not have access to the formal banking sector.
What is your purpose as a company and why is it important?
To be the most respected Licensed Finance Company in Sri Lanka, delivering superior stakeholder returns whilst supporting financial inclusion and social and environmental sustainability.
To uphold the highest standards of social and environmental sustainability by delivering inclusive and innovative financial solutions to uplift the lives of people, whilst ensuring a superior experience for all our stakeholders
We are also guided by a triple bottom line business philosophy that helps us to create a deeper meaning and purpose for our existence.
Give an example of how a product or a service provided by you is making an impact in shaping a better world?
Recently our Company embarked on a journey facilitating our smallest customers to display their products at ‘Good Market’, a market platform which creates a hub for all products and services which are “good for people and good for the economy”. We have become the financing partner for ‘Good Market’ in Sri Lanka where we will be giving loans to small out grower/entrepreneurs who grow vegetable and fruits using natural fertilizers thus avoiding the harmful effects of chemicals. Through this exercise, we hope to provide pesticide and chemical free produce to the consumers in Sri Lanka to promote healthier living.
Can you share a story that best describes the culture of your company?
“Others before Self” would best describe one aspect of the unique culture of our Company. This culture is inculcated in our employees and it translates where each employee when providing a service to another whether the customer is internal or external will strive to provide an excellent service which would delight the customer. To elaborate further, it is a practice in our Company that the depositors’ interest payments be sent to our depositors prior to the salaries being paid out to our employees.
Share an example of how you are working with suppliers and partners to improve the state of the industry or the world.
Alliance Finance is a member of the representative body of Finance Companies in Sri Lanka i.e. The Finance Houses Association of Sri Lanka incorporated in 1958. The Founder Chairman of this industry body was also the Founder Chairman of our Company.
This representative body has 45 member companies which are responsible for the formulation of ethics and principles within which the companies operate. Our Company belongs to an industry in Sri Lanka that is regulated by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. As the third oldest Non Bank Financial Institution in Sri Lanka and as a founder member, we have moved to create a vision and road map for the industry which would enable our sector to grow in a manner that creates value for all its stakeholders and have a positive impact on the sustainable development and progress of our economy.
Tell us a special moment when a customer gave you feedback that helped you understand the difference that you are making for them and for a better world.
Value creation, social inclusion and poverty alleviation are some of our key business drivers. As such financing is provided for three wheelers commonly known as Tuk Tuks the world over. This was a pioneering initiative which commenced almost 35 years ago when Tuk Tuk drivers were not considered credit worthy. Those who enjoy this facility drive a three wheeler which provides them their livelihood. Being a people oriented Company, if the borrower passes away in an accident the widow or the next of kin is not held responsible to settle the loan and the loan is written off. On one occasion, the testimony of one such happy customer appeared as a genuine news item in one of the most widely read Newspaper publications in Sri Lanka where the sensitivity to a human need for relief and the compassion displayed in an exemplary manner by our organization was highlighted as an example to the mercantile sector of the country.
What does your company believe in and why?
(i) PEOPLE CENTRIC
People include all our stakeholders with a special emphasis on customers and staff. We go above and beyond when dealing with people and strive to delight them at all times in keeping with the people commitment of our triple bottom line business philosophy.
We maintain the highest standards of integrity and accountability in all we say and do. We also strive to uphold customer trust earned throughout six decades of existence by being committed to the highest levels of transparency and integrity in dealing with all our stakeholders. We believe our reputation is much like good porcelain once broken it could be mended, but it will never be the same.
Innovation is very much a part of our culture and reflects our entrepreneurial spirit that has added value to our communities for over 60 years.
(iv) SERVE PEOPLE, CONSERVE NATURE
While adhering to the concept of the triple bottom line, we as a company place a high priority on social and environmental sustainability, with which the long term goals of the company are strongly entwined.
The business environment today is subjected to rapid and violent changes and is therefore very turbulent. Being dynamic today is about building an organization’s ability to add sustainable value to the world where disruption is the only factor that is constant.
We take pride in the unity of the workforce in our Company where working towards a common goal is a shared value. “All for one and one for all” philosophy has always been a key driving force and a factor behind its successful existence for over six decades.
Why is World Company Day important?
World Company Day is important to us as we hope that this initiative will bring together more like-minded organizations in a critical mass that will be enough to create a ripple effect that will change the world.
At the end of the day, how do you know if your company has contributed towards shaping a better world?
It is, in how our Company is perceived amongst our stakeholders, which determines how effective we have been in shaping a better world. We use every possible opportunity to gather data and measure this aspect. In the near future, we hope to implement assessment systems to ascertain our progress in this most important aspect, the purpose of our existence.
Thank you for your sharing.
World Company Day is officially launched on 15th of August in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam as a worldwide initiative by Shape the World Conference.
Today, companies shape every aspect of our lives. From creating opportunities, influencing choices, managing resources of the earth, the way business is conducted can and should be for the greater good. This is why it is important to have an annual day to celebrate the good that companies are doing all around the world and encourage others to do the same. We invite all companies to join us and henceforth commit to building companies that will shape a better world and to advocate the United Nations to set aside 15th of August as World Company Day. More details and pledge here: www.worldcompanyday.org