(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Sri Lanka’s most respected tea and rubber producer, Hayleys Plantations has become the first plantationsbusiness sector of its kind in the world, and the first company in the island to officially commit to the globally recognised Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for cutting Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.
The SBTi is the product of a collaboration between CDP Worldwide, World Resources Institute (WRI), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). The initiative is a well-recognised commitment that companies can make as part of the ‘We Mean Business Coalition’s Take Action’ platform on climate change.
Moreover, SBTi specifies how much and how quickly a company needs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the Paris Agreement goals to limit global warming keeping it at 1.5°C and well-below 2°C.
According to Hayleys Plantations Managing Director, Dr. Roshan Rajadurai, the company’s commitment to SBTi is also part of a broader effort to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 while encouraging innovation, reducing waste, unlocking efficiencies, and strengthening investor confidence while reducing regulatory risk, uncertainty, and exposure to volatility in energy costs.
“Hayleys Plantations has long been a champion of sustainable innovation in Sri Lanka. In addition to pioneering a revolutionary new approach to managing our employees through globally recognised campaigns like the ‘Home for Every Plantation Worker’, we have been equally focused on the inculcation of environmental sustainability at the core of a leaner, more efficient, agile and resilient business model.
“By signing on to the SBTi, Hayleys Plantations is now able to leverage on the clear framework, tools, best practice guidance and sector-specific resources devised under this powerful global initiative to rapidly cut our emissions footprint down to zero within the next three decades. Such an achievement would contribute positively to the urgent global mobilisation against climate change, while also providing our produce with a further competitive advantage as consumers increasingly show a clear preference for sustainable brands,” he stated.
If successful, he noted that such achievements should urgently be replicated across the entire plantations sector to enhance the value of Sri Lankan tea further.
Crucially, the commitment to SBTi will also help to verify the already significant positive environmental sustainability initiatives undertaken by the company. These include a notable reduction in fossil fuel usage through the establishment of renewable energy generation from clean energy sources.
Currently, the Hayleys Plantations sector has achieved a total solar power generation capacity of 387.5 kWp. Over the past year, the project has yielded 293 MWh of clean, renewable energy, saving an estimated 222.9 tCO2e in 2019 alone.
Similarly, Hayleys Plantations also operates mini-hydropower plants at the Kalupahana, Glassaugh, Battalgalla, Somerset, Palmerston and RadellaEstates with its most recent data indicating an annual power generation capacity of 16,618 MWh.
Parallel to these efforts, the company has also maintained and expanded its renewable biomass project first implemented in 2004 across all of its tea factories. Over the recent past, this resulted in mixed fuelwood planting initiatives spanning 79 hectares in 2019/20, taking the total extent to 667 hectares from the period 2007 to 31st March 2019. While a portion of these mixed forestry blocks will be utilised as renewable fuel, the remainder will serve as a carbon sink, supporting the company’s efforts to achieve the carbon-neutral status.
Integrated solid waste management mechanisms further complement such initiatives by following the ‘3Rs’ principle: reduce, reuse and recycle. Consequently, all biodegradable waste produced on Hayleys Plantations’ Estates is used to produce compost for tea fields and home garden plots. All refuse tea is reprocessed at two factories in Wangi Oya in the high grown region and Pitiyagoda in the low grown region.
Non-biodegradable waste including metal, glass, plastic, polythene and paper are duly collected, segregated and recycled, while hazardous e-waste is collected and recycled in collaboration with an authorised recycling company. Used bulbs are collected and stored on-site to be appropriately disposed.
Notably, the use of land-fill sites and burning waste is strictly prohibited in all Hayleys Plantations’ Estates to provide a further measure of protection to the sensitive environmental habitats in which the company operates, while also supporting greater reductions in GHG emissions.
The Hayleys Plantations Sector is comprised of Kelani Valley Plantations (KVPL), Talawakelle Tea Estates (TTEL) and Horana Plantations PLC (HPL). All three companies have consistently maintained top ranks among Sri Lanka’s regional plantation companies in rubber and tea respectively. The sector manages 60tea and rubber estates and over 26,137 hectares of land,while accountingfor 4.5% and 2.5% of Sri Lanka’s tea and rubber production respectively.
Notably, TTEL is Sri Lanka’s first plantations company to secure the ISO 50001:2018 for Energy Management System, ISO 14064:2018 for Greenhouse Gases (GHG) Inventory Verification and ISO 14001:2015 for Environment Management Systems (EMS) while Bearwell Estate was recently certified under ISO 14001:2015 EMS with the UK accreditation. Similarly, KVPL is also renowned for having become the first company to secure the Organic Rubber Certification.
Hayleys Plantations has consistently won local and global recognition for its pioneering work in the field of sustainability, winning the Presidential Environmental Awards in 2019, as the Best Green Reporter of the year on National Green Reporting System of the year 2019.
Similarly, the company also won the Presidential Environmental Award in the Tea Factory Category Industry and the Silver Award for the Somerset Estate, while Deniyaya Estate, Dessford Estate and Great Western Estate each received merit awards at the same ceremony. The company was also presented with the Award for Best Integrated Report at the Asia Best Sustainability Reporting Awards ceremony.
The company also won accolades for Best Materiality Reporting, Best Environmental Reporting, Best Carbon Disclosure, Best SDG Reporting and Best Report Design in the Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards 2018 and 2019. Locally, the company also won the Best Integrated Report in the Plantation Sector at the CMA Excellence in Integrated Reporting Awards in 2018/2019 in addition to bringing home the Gold Award at the 55th CA Annual Report Awards 2019 under the Plantation Company Category. Similarly, the company won the Overall Gold Award for Overall Business Excellence in 2018 and 2019. Also the Winner and Silver Award for Excellence in Environmental Sustainability in the National Business Excellence Awards 2018 and 2019.