EthicalX spearheads Entrepreneurs’ Forum on Innovative and Climate-friendly Food Systems

November 1, 2023

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum on Innovative and Climate-friendly Food Systems, held on 1 November as a part of the Innovative and Climate-friendly Food Summit hosted by SLYCAN Trust at the Cinnamon Grand Colombo, brought together a diverse and dynamic group of entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and stakeholders to discuss, collaborate, and drive change in the realm of sustainable food systems. 

Addressing the opening of the forum, SLYCAN Trust Global Executive Director, Attorney-at-Law Vositha Wijenayake emphasised on the need for supporting ethical, sustainable, and climate-friendly food entrepreneurship. 

“It is important to identify and support approaches that contribute to building long-term resilience in food systems, as well as pave the way for more ethical approaches in our food choices. Food entrepreneurship that is built on cruelty-free, ethical, and sustainable choices provides futuristic and innovative solutions at local, national, and international levels,” she stated. 

Mattias Söderberg from DanChurchAid, who addressed the event as a guest speaker, joined the forum virtually from Denmark and spoke about plant-based food in relation to climate change and the transition in food systems in the European Union. 

In the course of his address, he shed light on Denmark's transition from a heavily meat-based culture to more people identifying as vegetarian or vegan in the past decade.  

Food entrepreneurs share their stories

Following this, food entrepreneurs from Sri Lanka shared their stories on the challenges they faced in trying to be more climate-friendly and how their products stood at the forefront of innovation in this food system.

The entrepreneurs who took the stage came from a wide spectrum of sectors, while sharing a common vision of ensuring sustainable and ethical plant-based food production. 

The speaker line-up included C.T. Gajanaka (CFO, Harischandra Mills), Dinali Dandeniya (Co-founder of Cafe Kumbuk and Founder of Mama D’s), Sahan Bakmeewewa (Founder of Plant-based Studios), Dulara De Alwis (Founder of Ceylon Export & Trading Ltd.), Anushka Kahawela (Co-founder, Veganly Life), and Sulochana Udayakumar (Founder, Vegan Kitchen by Sulo).Innovation was a recurring theme throughout the forum, with participants showcasing pioneering technologies, practices, and business models that are reshaping the food industry. The entrepreneurs shared their solutions, such as plant-based protein alternatives and advanced supply chain management, highlighting the potential for transformative change in the sector.

The event served as a pivotal platform for innovators committed to addressing pressing challenges in food production and consumption, sharing solutions from Sri Lanka to the world.

Supporting food entrepreneurship

SLYCAN Trust, through its Food Systems Work Programme and EthicalX Climate & Innovation Hub, is actively working towards contributing to the need for knowledge sharing, technical support provision, and addressing gaps in investment-related needs for supporting food entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka. 

Through its inclusive business model in partnership with CLIMAFUGE, and the Food Systems Work Programme and EthicalX, SLYCAN Trust  supports ethical and climate-friendly business practices in food systems, as well as inclusive entrepreneurship at local, national, and global levels.

The forum also saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Environment and SLYCAN Trust, which aims to expand and further the activities related to supporting entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka, with a special focus on eco- and climate-friendly entrepreneurship at local level. 

SLYCAN Trust is a non-profit think tank working on climate change, sustainable development, biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, animal welfare, and social justice, including gender and youth empowerment. Its work spans the national, regional, and global level, from policy analysis and evidence-based research to implementation on the ground across Asia and Africa.

EthicalX: Climate & Innovation Hub is an initiative by SLYCAN Trust which supports ethical, sustainable, and climate-friendly entrepreneurship through activities related to capacity-building, provision of technical support and expertise, and raising seed funding with a special focus on vulnerable communities, women, and youth. EthicalX works towards building long-term climate resilience, sustainable development, and economic empowerment to scale up entrepreneurship development and support vulnerable communities, women, and youth.

For further information on SLYCAN Trust and its initiatives, please contact [email protected].

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SLYCAN Trust is a non-profit think tank. It has been a registered legal entity in the form of a trust since 2016, and a guarantee limited company since 2019. The entities focus on the thematic areas of climate change, adaptation and resilience, sustainable development, environmental conservation and restoration, social justice, and animal welfare. SLYCAN Trust’s activities include legal and policy research, education and awareness creation, capacity building and training, and implementation of ground level action. SLYCAN Trust aims to facilitate and contribute to multi-stakeholder driven, inclusive and participatory actions for a sustainable and resilient future for all.