The European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ECCSL) held an online event on Wednesday 31 August to discuss the importance of certification and accreditation of products and businesses and how this can support finding international business partners.
Following from a highly successful Organic Export Promotion Forum for Sri Lankan SMEs last week, where Organic certification was explained and discussed, this latest event introduced broader certifications which would be helpful for food and other products. It also went much further to discuss certifying company values, actions on sustainability and other standards which might be desired or required by potential international partners including buyers and investors in Europe and elsewhere.
Over fifty companies attended the event to hear from Ms. Naomi Vowels, Director and Co-Founder of Givvable, an organisation who track and advise companies on their suppliers’ sustainability and other attributes. They also support suppliers with guidance on certification and accreditation. Participants also heard from Mr. Kasun Geeganage, an experienced senior auditor in organic and social certifications and a Certifier at Control Union Sri Lanka, the country’s leading certification authority.
Ms. Vowels advised participants that companies in Europe and elsewhere are increasingly striving to source ethically and responsibly and therefore require their suppliers to demonstrate that they meet the requirements. Companies may expect their suppliers to have a verified sustainability programme and they may also want to know about diversity and inclusion efforts and therefore, having such actions or programmes recorded and certified may strengthen a supplier’s bid or proposal. She further added that even a programme which is under way can add value and that the certification or accreditations may be low-cost or free, keeping it within reach of Small & Medium Enterprises.
Mr. Geeganage concurred that questions about sustainability programmes increasingly appear on supplier registration forms and that is likely to be an expectation from a majority of suppliers. Therefore, being able to demonstrate attributes such as diversity or inclusiveness may also be a benefit to attracting buyers or investors. He further spoke about the organic certification programme and explained that costs can be reduced using the Group Certification programme offered by Control Union which is ideally suited to smaller businesses.
The event took place on 31 August at 3.00pm online and offered a timely opportunity for businesses and companies to learn more about the current trends in international business expectations and the role of product certifications & business accreditations in attracting buyers and investors especially from overseas.
By developing and implementing a variety of events, forums and networking opportunities, the ECCSL continues to demonstrate its commitment and capability to growing trade and commerce between Sri Lanka and Europe.