Sustainability for a Greener Tomorrow – Pradeep Edward, Executive Director/ CEO of Sadaharitha Group of Companies Limited

As a young adult who preferred to move about rather than doing a desk job, Pradeep Edward chose the field of Marketing as his career path. Excelling in his career, he was hired by reputed organisations for senior positions. At present, he is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sadaharitha Group of Companies Limited.

Sadaharitha is a leading commercial forestry conglomerate in Sri Lanka, which stands as a truly Sri Lankan company with the vision of being the most innovative forestry management company in Asia, assuring investment opportunities.

Pradeep has over 25 years of corporate experience in both local and multinational companies, with over 20 years of experience at Management level and 10 years at Board level, in the capacity of Chief Operating Officer and CEO. He holds three Fellowships from The Chartered Institute of Marketing / Institute of Management Specialist from UK and The Marketing Institute of Malaysia, and he is a life member of Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) and the former President of both SLIM and the Pharma Promoters Association of Sri Lanka. He has also held the position of General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI). Furthermore, he has been involved as a Judge and Speaker at several local and international events and he has bagged the Deshamanya Award for the service he has rendered to the nation. Recently, he was presented with the CEO of the Year Award at the Sri Lanka Ledership Awards.

Presently, he holds the posts of Secretary General of the Asia Marketing Federation, and Chairman of the Management Club – Colombo. He was recently appointed as the Head of the Panel of Judges for the Asian Youth Awards & Women’s Awards.

“I began my career journey in the Pharmaceutical industry at Emerchemi NB Ceylon Limited. I learnt the basics in my corporate life there and was privileged to lay a good foundation for my journey. In 2015, I moved to the Richardson Group as the Head of Marketing to work in the Electric and Advertising industry and was later elevated to the position of CEO to overlook three companies in the group. Thereafter, I got an opportunity to join Lanka Hospitals Diagnostics as the CEO, in which capacity I served for three years before joining Sadaharitha.”

Under his guidance as the CEO, Lanka Hospitals Diagnostics in the year 2018, has achieved an 18% growth on revenue and 49% growth of profitability and above all, achieved 100% profitability targets in 2019 with a growth of 9% and 18% in top line and bottom line respectively even after the Easter attacks.

Pradeep made a career shift from the Healthcare industry to the Forestry industry as he has seen a huge potential to develop a Sri Lankan brand into the export market, especially at a time when the country is focusing on exports.

As a person who has studied the area of Forestry, Pradeep stated that Sri Lanka’s forest cover has drastically deflated to 27% of the land area. “Environmentalists, Ecologists, Foresters and Wildlife enthusiasts are concerned over this fact as the percentage of the forest cover has a distinctive and corresponding effect on the ‘quality of life’. Hence, it is high time that people were made aware of the gravity of repercussions in order to encourage them to take individual responsibility for remedying this situation.”

Furthermore, he emphasised the importance of investing in sustainable forest development as it represents an investment in people and their livelihoods.

“It is important to implement a conceptual framework on management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and forest-based resources (inclusive of forest lands) as well as other areas from which forest benefits can be derived.”

According to Pradeep, the key challenges faced by the industry at present are the lack of knowledge among the public and prospective investors about the versatility and significance of the industry for the sustainable development of the country and the world at large, reluctance among people to come into grips with the perspective that people should act as partners in the process of sustainable forest development as it affects human development end of the day, gaps and ambiguities in planning and decision making pertaining to this industry and the lack of technology.

Explaining the importance of adapting to technological advancements in the Forestry industry and what Sadaharitha has done in this regard, Pradeep said, “Using the correct technology and changing with time is essential in the Forestry industry or the negative impacts will be costly. For example, in the Agarwood business, the main return a customer gains is the quality resins from its harvest that is used to produce expensive perfumes that are exported worldwide. This is called Liquid Gold and the chips of the trees will be reused for fragrance.

“The key in producing a quality harvest depends on the technology used in growing the plant for eight years, and in order to do this, Sadaharitha has established a separate Research and Development division in the year 2010, a state of the art laboratory and the largest nursery in the region, Moreover, the company worked with the National Research Council of Sri Lanka and with international researchers in Malaysia to ensure that the company has the best technology.”

Revealing the future plans of the organisation, the CEO stated that it has plans to expand the business to the Asian region, while also focusing in the export sector to establish renowned Sri Lankan perfumery brands.

“Sadaharitha, as a stand-alone company, has a wide network and a dynamic staff and hence it will be a great platform for us as a company to diversify into new areas that we plan to venture in the near future.”

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