Industry Advice 15 Aug 2018
As President of the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF), Sandeep Chauhan represents an organisation which he says “is passionate about making a difference in Fiji as well as the Pacific.”
His involvement with the board spans a decade, including a role as chair of the manufacturing council which is a council under FCEF.
“My father, Mr. Dhansukhlal Chauhan, was heavily involved in the tourism industry during the 1980s and was the President of the Fiji Duty Free Association and sat on the board for the Fiji Visitors Bureau (now known as Tourism Fiji), PATA and other tourism related bodies,” Sandeep recalls.
“Looking back, I see the ground-breaking work he was a part of and played such an important role in the growth of tourism, not just for Fiji, but the Pacific region.”
In many ways Sandeep has followed in his father’s footsteps. As FCEF President, Sandeep led the FCEF team to host the Global Employers Climate Action Forum (GECAF) in Suva on July 25.The GECAF was in line with Fiji Governments Presidency of COP 23, referring to the 23rd annual Conference Of the Parties (COP) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The GECAF was an engagement by Private Sector Organisations on the steps they would take to combat climate change.As part of the global mandate FCEF also invited and hosted private sector members from five neighbouring Pacific Island countries with the assistance of Pacific Cooperation Foundation. 180 participants attended the event and were made up from Governments, Civil Societies as well as Private Sector organisations.
“We selected three topics; Climate Financing, Insurance Resilience and the Blue Green Economy and ensured we got deliverables out of each of these to take forward to COP24, as well as addressing the issues faced by the private sector organisations,” says Sandeep.
“The common outcome and consensus was that the private sector needs to be involved because it affects us directly, whether we’re the owners of the business or the people working in it. The Pacific has not been a major contributor to global warming, but we’re bearing the brunt of it. We also want to ensure climate change financing becomes more accessible, especially to the Pacific Island Private Sector Organisations.”
“These outcomes were presented at the CAPP Meeting (Climate Action Pacific Partnership) hosted by the COP23 Secretariat, which is a part of the Fiji Government.The GECAF outcomes will also be presented at Global Meetings on Climate Change and any such related meetings to be held in the near future. The voice of the Private Sector needs to be heard, so that the challenges we are facing are being considered. We will also pass on our knowledge and experience to the Private Sector representative body in Poland, which is the next country that takes on the Presidency & hosts COP24.”
When he’s not representing local businesses, supporting community and family issues or tackling climate change head-on, Sandeep is a Director of Star Printery Pte. Ltd, a family-owned printing business based in Raiwai, Suva. Star Printery employs more than 110 people, producing a range of products, including signage, magazines, labels, packaging, pull-up banners, security printing, graphic design and mail house operations. The business printed the ballot papers for the last Fiji General Election in 2014 and will do so again for the upcoming General Elections.
He encourages more local business people to get involved and become a member of the FCEF.
“If we don’t get involved and support organisations that go the extra mile to help communities, of which businesses are inevitably a part of, then the overall economic goodness suffers and we will fail in our duty,” he says.
“Becoming a member of Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation has a lot of advantages.It has nine different councils which businesses can be a part of and it also has an IR unit, which assists with IR related issues that businesses may have.In addition to this, the members have access to various trainings that are conducted nationally as well as internationally, which they can apply for by being a member of FCEF.”