ILO’s LEED+ expands private sector partnerships with Ceylon Biscuits and Alli Foods


ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Director Simrin Singh CBL Corporate Services Director Agribusiness Development Dr. Rukshan Alli Company Managing Director Illeen Riluwan

• Initiative aimed at supporting livelihoods and strengthening supply-chains during COVID-19

The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Local Empowerment through Economic Development and Reconciliation (LEED+) project entered into partnerships with CBL and Alli Foods, as part of its strategy to stimulate economic growth in the North through Market Systems Development approach.

The partnerships are a timely response to not only COVID-19’s disruption of global and local supply chains, but also to the Government of Sri Lanka’s focus on promoting national production of certain agricultural crops towards achieving self-sufficiency.

In fast moving economies, private sector companies would aggressively pursue entry to find new markets (whether as buyers or suppliers) but this is not the case for lagging regions in the North. The absence of required skills, market information, as well as affordable financing options for local producers and business, continues to characterise ventures in the north as being high-risk, thereby inhibiting investment by large national players. However, LEED+ interventions as support to private sector through shared risks helps companies address these gaps in a commercially viable manner, resulting in a win-win proposition that benefits both businesses and local communities.

The project’s sectoral approach as an entry point to develop the local economy currently focuses on agriculture and fisheries. With engagement in three value-chains, namely groundnut, coconut husk, and sea cucumber, LEED+ has already established several successful partnerships with private sector companies – David Gram, Gui-Lan, Hayleys, and Tropicoir Lanka.

The project’s latest partnerships with CBL and Alli explore two new value chains, maize and black gram respectively. Findings from a comprehensive study commissioned by LEED+ indicate that both crops have significant potential to generate employment and income for local communities, particularly for women.

Speaking on the new partnership, CBL Corporate Services Ltd. Director Agribusiness Development Dr. Rukshan Gunatilaka stated: “It is our privilege to partner with the ILO in this initiative to improve livelihoods and create stability for farmers in the Northern Province. Providing these regional farmers with the support and intervention of the private sector and the global expertise of the ILO will not only strengthen Sri Lanka’s food supply chain, it will also increase economic contribution from agriculture in the North and support CBL to continuously purchase high quality locally grown agricultural produce.”

“With imports of agricultural raw materials being discouraged and disruption of supply chains due to COVID-19 posing threats to our sourcing of the same, this partnership brings in the right solution. The proposed business model creates opportunities wherein both the company and the farmers will benefit in a continuous manner. Directly connecting farmer societies to the company, it also eliminates exploitation by middlemen, encouraging farmers further to cultivate this crop, yielding higher volumes and fair prices. The knowledge transfer provided to farmers is by far the greatest resource for the development of this commodity in the Northern region and for the standard of living of the families involved,” said Alli Company Ltd. Managing Director Illeen Riluwan.

Speaking on the LEED+ approach to engaging with private sector, ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Director Simrin Singh stated, “The focus on Market Systems Development delivers both short-term wins, and more importantly, long-term solutions. It creates links between producers in the North and private sector, ensuring that the jobs and livelihoods created are sustainable. By creating an eco-system of necessary support services, knowledge inputs, and market linkages, these decent work opportunities can continue even after ILO support is no longer in the equation.”

Facilitating and building opportunities that connect businesses to communities, the LEED+ partnerships are rooted in sharing the gains of growth across the board, and building bridges that that ultimately help everyone move forward.

Supported by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Government of Norway, the LEED+ project is part of the ILO’s global Jobs for Peace and Resilience program. At its very core, LEED+ is a quintessential ILO effort, given its ultimate aim of creating decent, inclusive and sustainable jobs, and ensuring the empowerment of conflict-affected communities in the process.

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Munchee wins Gold once again for Social Dialogue in the workplace

CBL team headed by Director and Chief Executive Officer Nalin B. Karunaratne with the award

Ceylon Biscuits Ltd., (CBL) was awarded the Gold Award for Social Dialogue in the workplace, under the Large Scale Manufacturing category, at an awards ceremony held by the Department of Labour recently.

This award recognises CBL’s extensive contribution to encouraging social dialogue in the workplace and maintaining strong and consistent employee relations.

Home to one of Sri Lanka’s best-loved brands ‘Munchee’, CBL has always aimed to place employee relations at the fore of its operations to ensure industrial harmony and, this award, awarded to CBL for the second time, recognises these efforts.

The award ceremony was organised at the Department of Labour under the patronage of Minister of Skills Development, Employment and Labour relations Dinesh Gunawardena and the Country Representative of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to recognise the winners of the completion held during the latter part of the year 2019.
The CBL Team receiving the award comprised of members from the Management, Trade Union and CBL Welfare Society.

Ceylon Biscuits Ltd., Director and CEO Nalin B. Karunaratne said: “This award recognises the contribution of Ceylon Biscuits in introducing and implementing policies and strategies to encourage social dialogue, collective bargaining and reaching collective agreements at the workplace at an enterprise level, to achieve greater industrial harmony.
“Fostering strong employee relations is a priority for CBL, and we conduct many activities to engage our CBL Family, including conducting training programs, workshops and seminars, promoting social dialogue and workplace cooperation and coordinating with trade unions and employees. These practices that promote social dialogue and collective agreements have resulted in minimising industrial disputes.”

Upholding effective social dialogue in the workplace has been pivotal to the growth of CBL’s flagship brand Munchee and its strong positioning, in both the local and international marketplace.

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CBL Samaposha inspires scouts to inculcate healthy breakfast habits

The gold trophy and gifts being awarded to the scouts of Al-Hidaya National, by CBL Food Cluster General Manager Marketing Jayanga Perera, and Colombo District Scout Association District Commissioner Suren Wikkramatilleke

CBL Samaposha, in working towards empowering a future led by young leaders upholding good morals and understanding the importance of advocating a healthy breakfast, offered the young scouts at the 54th Colombo District Scout Annual Camporee, the opportunity to truly understand and appreciate the importance of cultivating good values in their lives. This has been in line with the healthy breakfast movement initiated by Samaposha which has grown in momentum and reach in the past one and a half years, advocating the message on the importance of a nutritious start to the day.

The five-day camporee took place at Hindu College grounds, Ratmalana and overlooked 2,500 scouts participating from over 45 schools in Colombo along with 2,000 cub scouts ranging from ages seven to ten, and for the first time ever, over 750 singithi scouts, ranging from ages five to seven attending the 54th annual camporee.

CBL Food Cluster General Manager Marketing Jayanga Perera stated, “We are excited to be a part of the camporee and be able to support an event of this nature by imparting a positive and thought-provoking message on the importance of a balanced and healthy breakfast to a forum of both young and old. A message that holds true value which can be proudly carried on to society.”

The days’ highlights brought on eager smiles from cubs and older scouts as they came together to write special messages expressing noble values on the Samaposha ‘Good Values’ message wall. Many adults were observed to smile or discreetly wipe happy tears as they read thoughtful statements such as, “We should protect our environment”, “Help those in need”, and “We should look after the weak”.

The parents were not allowed to feel left out as they were given the opportunity to attend a session with a nutritionist and participate in a demo done by nutritional experts from CBL Samaposha, on creative ways of using Samaposha in their breakfast meals.

Colombo District Scout Association District Commissioner Suren Wikkramatilleke stated, “It has been a privilege to have CBL Samaposha, a brand that propagates the value of healthy breakfast as our main sponsor and our scouts have gained immense value through the messages and activities driven by them.”

The main pinnacle of the camporee however, was the unique and inaugural contest that took place amongst all 45 scout troops. Each troop registered a breakfast team of 10 scouts and was required to prepare a balanced and healthy breakfast meal for their troops and present the dish for the competition. The competition was judged by four esteemed chefs from Chef’s Guild of Lanka; Chef Gerard Mendis, Chef Tilak Seneviratne, Chef Madhawa Weerabadhdane and Chef Wimal Wimalagoonaratna. Their valuable advice and encouragement given to the young scouts were of immeasurable value and further helped to establish the nutritious value of a good breakfast meal. These dishes were evaluated on their nutritional value, inclusion of all components such as protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, etc. for a balanced meal, Samaposha used as a main ingredient in a creative manner, and the visual presentation.

The eager teams along with their troops cheering from the side lines were true breakfast heroes as they displayed teamwork, strong morals in supporting each other and other competing teams and surprising everyone on their knowledge of cooking a balanced and nutritious breakfast that children would also love to eat. 10 teams were selected for the best dishes and the first, second and third place was awarded to Al-Hidaya National, Wesley College and St. Andrews College, in that order. Each team member was also awarded with a certificate for their participation and contribution to the challenge.

These young leaders of tomorrow then united together after the competition to pledge in carrying forth the message of the importance of healthy values to their peers along with the value of a healthy breakfast to their families and society.

The camporee ended on a high note in which scout and parent alike took away the sincere appreciation in understanding how a healthy breakfast would support a child’s physical development whilst healthy values help form tomorrow’s leaders.

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Sri Lankan children’s book sets world record for most alternative endings

A new Guinness World Record has been achieved for the ‘most alternative endings for a book’ by Sri Lankan children and veteran author and illustrator Sybil Wettasinghe.

“Wonder Crystal” is the only children’s book in the world with 1,250 completed alternative endings and it is written by children of Sri Lanka.

In October last year, Munchee, the flagship brand of Ceylon Biscuit Limited celebrated World Children’s Day 2019 in an innovative way by organizing some exciting activities for kids including the launch of a special story book.

The book titled ‘Wonder Crystal’ is the first of its kind, initiated by world – renowned Sri Lankan Children’s story writer Sybil Wettasinghe and was launched with the objective of encouraging children to use their imagination and explore their creativity and thus complete the story by contributing through their writings, drawings and poetry.

The book was shared with schools in all 3 languages, and was expected to eventually make its way towards setting a Guinness record with the multitude of endings it would attract. Children were requested to forward their entries to compile the book.
It had received a total of 20,000 entries in total for alternative endings.

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Lankasoy bags Gold at SLIM Brand Excellence Awards 2019

From Left: CBL Food Cluster Marketing General Manager Jayanga Perera, Marketing Manager Nuwan Rathnakirthi, Assistant Brand Manager Ruwan Chamara, SLIM Brand Excellence 2019 Project Chairman Ahamed Aroos and Ninehearts (Pvt.) Ltd Managing Director Thilak Godamanne

‘Lankasoy Kirimalu’, an innovative entrant to the local soy market by ‘Lankasoy’, the flagship soy brand of the Convenience Foods (Lanka) PLC, a group company of Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL), won the Gold award in the ’Best New Entrant of the Year’ category at the SLIM Brand Excellence Awards 2019.

‘Kirimalu’, a sub brand of Lankasoy, which comes with a rare blend of home-made Kirimalu taste was able to win over a large number of consumers within a short time span.
SLIM Brand Excellence Awards 2019, organised by Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) was held for the 18th consecutive year, themed ‘Catapult Your Brand’. Identified as the pinnacle of Sri Lanka’s brand success, SLIM Brand Excellence Awards endeavours to highlight local and international brands at national level, aiming to raise the local brands to global standards and avail them with a valued recognition.

‘Lankasoy Kirimalu’, the first white curry dish to enter the wide range of soy product portfolio brings the traditional taste of home-made kirimalu dish. All Lankasoy products are free of MSG, artificial enhancers and are not genetically modified. Lankasoy is SLS certified and also accredited with ISO 22000, HACCP, ISO 9001 and GMP certification.

‘’We are extremely proud of the award we received for ‘Lankasoy Kirimalu’, a product with a unique taste. This newly introduced product has achieved high sales growth ever since it hit the market. While focusing heavily on the quality of our products, we have always been delivering healthy products free of artificial enhancers. As a brand which thrills the consumers with soya products, we have prioritised consumer choice and come up with different tastes to suit the consumers from every corner of the island,” said CBL Food Cluster Marketing General Manager Jayanga Perera.

Evaluations were carried out in two rounds. The initial round was based on the written submission under brand intent, brand content, brand process and brand performance while in the second round, the finalists were asked to present their brand success story. The judging panel included a team of experienced professionals.

As the market leader and pioneer in introducing soy based products, Lankasoy showcases an exciting array of flavours from chicken, mutton, seafood, vegetarian and several sub brands from these specified categories.

All Lankasoy products are manufactured to suit the taste of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian consumers and continues to impress the consumers with more and more innovative products. Lankasoy has been a trend setter in the market introducing varied flavours and has already achieved a global outreach and cemented a position in the global market. Lankasoy was also awarded Brand of the Year at the SLIM brand Excellence Awards 2012.

Convenience food (Lanka) PLC has been producing high quality soy products whilst been instrumental in shaping and developing the soy market in Sri Lanka. CBL has won numerous awards for being on par with the industry standards and also for its superior quality.

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Munchee wins SLIM ‘Brand of the Year’ award

The Munchee team at SLIM Brand Excellence Awards

Munchee, the flagship brand of Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL) product portfolio, again clinched the coveted ‘Brand of the Year’ award at the SLIM Brand Excellence Awards 2019 held at Shangri-La Hotel Colombo, recently.

Including the ‘Brand of the Year’ award, Munchee won six awards altogether at the award ceremony, which was attended by the crème de la crème of the Sri Lanka marketing industry.

This was the seventh time Munchee won the ‘Brand of the Year’ award in the 18-year history of SLIM Brand Excellence Awards.

Munchee also won the ‘CSR Brand of the Year’ Gold award, ‘Product Brand of the Year’ Gold award and ‘Local Brand of the Year’ Gold award. Munchee also won two Silver awards for ‘Export Brand of the Year’ and ‘Innovative Brand of the Year.’ General Manager Marketing at CBL, Janmesh Paul Antony said, “The awards and accolades we have received at the SLIM Brand Excellence Awards 2019 is a testament to the strength of our prized brand Munchee.

Winning the prestigious ‘Brand of the Year’ title for the third consecutive year is indeed a great honour.

“We at CBL sincerely thank all our consumers, as this could not have been achieved without the continuous love and bond that we have with our loyal consumers.
Also, we are proud to be the recipient of ‘CSR Brand of the Year,’ as it recognises the caring nature of our brand and the immense contribution towards the betterment of the society,” he said.

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Revello wins global and local accolades

The awards received by Revello

Revello, one of Sri Lanka’s leading brand of chocolates, recently won prestigious local and global accolades, in a move that endorsed the brand’s exceptional quality and taste.
Revello won Sri Lanka’s highest Quality Award in 2019, for the Large Scale Manufacturing Category presented by the Sri Lanka Standards Institution.

In a move that clearly endorsed it’s world class taste and appeal, Revello Milk Chocolate also won the prestigious international award “Superior Taste Award 2019”, presented by the International Taste Institute of Belgium. The Award affirms the outstanding taste of Revello chocolates manufactured in Sri Lanka.

Nilupul de Silva General Manager Marketing at CBL Foods International (Pvt) Ltd, says being chosen for international and Sri Lankan recognition is indeed an endorsement for the world class quality and Taste of Revello.

“Our products are made at a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant utilizing top end manufacturing and automation systems. Revello is a world class brand made to meet SLS 326-2015 Specification for Mark product certification and ISO 9000-2015/ISO 22000-2005/ ISO 14000-2015 certified and international quality standards.”

“The manufacturing process is undertaken by a team of experts – from chocolatiers who create each delectable product to the quality experts ensuring that our quality meets global standards. Revello is built on a strong platform of consistent quality that takes changing customer perceptions and needs into account.”

He adds. Launched in 2011, Revello is available in many variants – from Milk to Cashew, Hazelnut, Almond, Crispy, Fruit and Nut, Coconut and Peanut.

“Research and customer feed back confirm that Revello is recognized by Sri Lankan consumers as exceptional in taste and quality. “ says Nirmala Premarathne Brand Manager for Revello at CBL Foods International (Pvt) Ltd, “ With world class packaging and premium ingredients that make Revello an attractive choice for discerning chocolate lovers, Revello’s signature taste has become an extremely popular choice of our consumers.”

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IFC and Ceylon Biscuits Limited to back women retailers in Sri Lanka

CBL Group Managing Director Sheamalee Wickramasingha and IFC Sri Lanka and Maldives Country Manager Amena Arif sign the partnership to develop and increase women in retail trade. Source: IFC Photo

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), said it has inked a partnership with Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL) Group to provide training and business development opportunities to strengthen and increase female participation in retail supply chains in Sri Lanka.

project will also focus on promoting digital payment methods among retailers and distributors and on improving efficiencies of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) distribution chain.

CBL, a market leader in biscuits and confectionary products in Sri Lanka, and IFC will together train close to 5,000 distributors and retailers across the country, of which 30 percent will be owned or managed either by women or by the employees.

“We believe that this project will drive inclusive growth and help build a strong future-ready small and medium retail trade sector in the country,” CBL Group Managing Director Sheamalee Wickramasingha said.

Sri Lanka’s one million small and medium-sized enterprises–14 percent of them owned by women – are an engine of job creation, accounting for 80 percent of all businesses in the country.

The FMCG sector–worth 30 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and close to 20 percent of employment– relies on multi-brand distributors and retailers to reach consumers.

However, lack of business planning as well as ineffective financial and human capital management curtail the growth of these retailers and distributors, more so for women retailers and distributors, IFC said.

Traditionally, the retail trade environment is more male-dominated in Sri Lanka, making it difficult for more women to own or transform themselves from contributors to decision makers or owners, the development agency aid.

“Providing women retailers and distributors with a formal skillset to manage and operate businesses will help improve their development, increase their potential to succeed to the next level, and recognize their contribution,” said Amena Arif, IFC country manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives.

“This fits well with our country strategy, which seeks to promote financial inclusion and sustainable job creation for women entrepreneurs,” she said.

The project, part of the IFC-DFAT Women in Work Program, aims to double the number of women distributors and expects half of the participants to introduce a new business process as a result of the capacity building and training being provided.

In addition, 40 percent of the trained distributers are expected to utilize digital payment mechanisms by the end of the project. (Colombo/Dec17/2019)

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CBL Munchee crowned ‘Asia Marketing Company of 2019’

Janmesh Paul Antony, General Manager Marketing of CBL Munchee, accepting the award from Hermawan Kartajaya, the President of World Marketing Association.

Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL), the market leader and manufacturer of the well-loved Munchee Biscuits was awarded the ‘Asia Marketing Company of the Year 2019’ for the second consecutive year at the Asia Marketing Excellence Awards ceremony held in Taipei, China – Taiwan recently.

The awards were organized by the Asia Marketing Federation (AMF), the foremost governing body for marketing in Asia.

CBL as an organisation has made a significant impact through this achievement. The awards were presented in recognition and honour of companies that strive to go beyond boundaries and be in the forefront of evolving marketing trends. Each participant country follows a rigorous evaluation and selection process to select a national winner and the process is conducted by a country specific, national marketing association.

CBL also clinched multiple awards at the recently held annual SLIM National Sales Congress Awards 2019 (NASCO). This year the organisation showcased its sales and marketing prowess by proudly winning seven awards: a Gold, three Silver and three Bronze.

Janmesh Paul Antony General Manager Marketing CBL Munchee, accepting the award on behalf of CBL team commented, “We are extremely elated to receive this award and it is a true testament to the dedication and commitment of our workforce and the strength of our business practices in the markets we operate. At CBL we constantly strive to improve our processes through innovation and technology.”

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CBL clinches multiple awards at SLIM NASCO showcasing sales superiority

CBL SLIM NASCO winners with their awards

Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL), one of Sri Lanka’s largest FMCG conglomerates, showcased its supremacy in sales professionalism, clinching multiple accolades once again at the annual SLIM National Sales Congress Awards 2019 (NASCO) held recently.
Since the launch of the SLIM NASCO Awards 18 years ago, CBL holds the proud distinction of consecutive wins. This year too CBL received a total of seven awards; Gold, three Silver and three Bronze.

Demonstrating the company’s sales proficiency was Ishaq Lukman triumphant with a Gold Award for Modern Trade in the Front Liner Category, winning Silver were B.D.D. Weerarathna, from the Biscuit Range, Executive Category, Pasindu Kanchana, from the Modern Trade, Front Liner Category and also Sisira Senaratne from the Modern Trade, Executive Category.

Receiving Bronze wereDilshan Perera, Front-Liner Category from the Food Cluster, Bandula Wijewardane in the Front Liner Category of Chocolate and Cakes Range and Nilantha Mendis in the Executive Category, from the Food Cluster .

Congratulating the winners, Director and Group General Manager Sales of Ceylon Biscuits Limited, I.M. Khan said, “This is another impressive performance demonstrated by members of our Sales Force. Their awards demonstrate our excellent sales methodologies, in-field performance and winning culture.”

As the premier event dedicated to recognise the efforts and performance of sales personnel, the SLIM NASCO awards serve to propel Sri Lankan sales professionals on to a national platform. This year’s theme ‘Excel.

Engage. Ensure – Beyond all Limits’ reflects the call to action for sales professionals of tomorrow to be willing to stretch beyond their limits and achieve the unthinkable in a competitive, challenging marketplace.

Commenting on this year’s awards, SLIM President Suranjith Swaris said, “SLIM NASCO 2019 has truly become a benchmarking process for companies who can test the quality of their sale personnel against the best of the best in the industry. The immense value that a win at NASCO adds to the winner’s resume and career advancement prospects explains its popularity.”

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