Over the years, we have been gratified to note the positive impact we have had on communities, by extending livelihoods and uplifting them from the grassroots levels. Although the Company does not employ toddy tappers directly, it ensures fair wages, worker safety and personal well-being, by subjecting the suppliers to certain conditions and through regular interaction with them. Tappers earn a good income and our bonds with the suppliers too have strengthened into long-standing relationships.
In the Plantation Sector, we focus our environmental responsibility on land, water, energy and habitat. In our endeavour to ensure greater productivity, we have proactively explored ways by which we can achieve our efficiency goals whilst minimising any harm to the surrounding bio-diversity and forests. Our focus is on enhancing the dignity of our employees whilst inspiring them to overcome challenges and assisting them to work towards a better tomorrow. In addressing the needs of the community, the Company pursues upliftment projects with people at their core and
conducts campaigns that have been highly effective and a significant contributory factor in boosting sustainable lifestyles.
Community health and sanitation are also key areas on which much attention has been focused. In keeping with our commitment, many health and social development programmes were undertaken under the supervision and guidance of the Estate Managers and the Plantation Human Development Trust, which is the apex body monitoring social development activities. Water supply and sanitation are vital socio-economic indicators in most developing countries, and we implemented our own water supply schemes, upgrading of crèches, recreational facilities along with ensuring amenities such as electricity during the period under review.
We support the initiative of the ‘Plantation Management Programme’ Degree by the Government and the Uva Wellassa University titled ‘Tea Technology and Value Addition’, a practical training programme for third year university undergraduates. The programme was conducted on our Glen Alpin, Telbedde, Ury and Wewesse Estates in November/December 2010 over a period of 48 days. Our managers worked closely with the academic staff of the Uva Wellassa University in providing grassroots level training in Operational Skills and offered insights into the industry with a view to developing practical capabilities within their specialized fields by sharing our knowledge and productivity experience.
Continental Insurance Lanka Limited recently spearheaded an initiative to support visually impaired students as part of a CSR activity. As an emerging force in the insurance sector, the Company is keenly aware of its responsibility to manage its core business by making a real contribution to social and economic development and by protecting and caring for the society and the environment in which it operates.
The Company donated books in large print in English and Sinhala for The School for the Deaf and Blind in Ratmalana. The books would be used by children with reduced vision and are also to be translated into Braille
for the visually impaired. Continental Insurance is also collaborating with the Sri Lanka Cancer Society to support and create community awareness, nurture courage, encouragement and respect towards cancer and its patients as one of its key sustainability initiatives. The Company partnered with the Sri Lanka Cancer Society's walk for cancer in March 2011 through a co-sponsorship. People from all walks of life participated including from corporations, schools and other institutions. Continental Insurance staff members showcased their support by walking under a banner - “Cancer can be cured - Cancer can be prevented".
Several of our businesses, such as tea and rubber plantations, take us to the heart of nature. As a group that derives tremendous benefit from the nation’s natural resources, we make an even greater effort to give back to nature and community, whilst ensuring at all times that our operations do not have any form of a negative impact on the surrounding environment. Apart from taking stringent precautions to ensure sustainable operations, the DCSL Group is compliant with Central Environmental Authority (CEA) standards and is subject to regular audits to ensure full transparency is maintained with regards to its sustainability commitment.
We continue to ensure energy savings having installed a sophisticated distillation system which is environmentally-friendly using French technology. Low evaporation levels during distillation help save energy. Our newest bottling plant was installed with an investment of Rs. 300 Mn and boasts advanced Italian technology. Material savings were achieved during the year, with significant savings in Furnace oil.
The impact of our Company activities on bio-diversity are constantly monitored and assessed to ensure minimum impact on all stakeholders. A dedicated team looks into every aspect of our operations to ensure that there is no negative impact on the environment. The harmful effects of green-house gas emissions are monitored and at DCSL, we are well aware of what this portends for the environment. Therefore, we have invested heavily in state-of-the-art machinery and equipment from France and Italy in order to maintain low emission levels.
Water resource management and waste management remain our topmost priority. As a Group we have drawn up a comprehensive and fool-proof system for the discharge of effluents, waste and disposal methods. In this system, washed water is directed to a water tank where acidity is neutralised and this spent wash is treated and then released as 100% safe after being tested in our hi-tech laboratories. The methane which is discharged during this purification process is used for factory consumption.
The Group devises innovative ways and means to mitigate any environmental impact, even through its product and packaging methods. Almost 50% of our liquor bottles are re-bottled and plastic crates are reused. All cellophane, glass, aluminium and plastics generated at the factory are being sent for re-cycling by third parties, while labels of used bottles are turned into bricks of pulp and sold for paper pulp, to help reduce the number of trees being cut for paper.
To demonstrate our commitment towards conserving the planet and the people, the Group has opted to maintain its own fleet of vehicles so as to retain control of emissions and control the use of fossil fuels thereby reducing irregularities arising from products handled by third parties.
The Group has achieved many milestones and set several benchmarks along its journey to achieve energy savings. Having commenced in 2008, an extensive initiative was carried out in all 15 tea factories which resulted in 60% of the withering capacity of each factory to be carried out utilising energy saving fans. On an average the approximate saving in terms of power consumption is 35%.
Additionally, Power Factor Capacitor Banks have been installed in all our tea and rubber factories, thus reducing the consumption of total power drawn from the grid by 35%- an initiative that was ahead of its time when it was launched a decade ago. Contribution towards Climate Change remains an ongoing endeavour. We planted 130,528 Eucalyptus
Grandis plants on 6 Estates in the Badulla and 7 Estates in the Balangoda regions, comprising of a total of 81.58 Hectares.
Over the years, the DCSL Group has earned for itself the reputation of being a preferred employer, attracting the brightest and the best talent across multi disciplines. Our professional work atmosphere, abundant career progression opportunities and merit-based reward systems has gone far in retaining a professional and committed workforce.
Our organisation boasts high retention rates. Many employees have been with the Company since the date of inception (or privatisation). We offer generous performance-based incentives and Training and upgrading the skills of our workers remains the secret of our success, Education, training, counselling and risk control programmes for workers, softskills development, opportunities for employment for family members within the Group, regular work-related training programmes for skilled and unskilled labour are initiatives that are pursued throughout the year.
Employees are encouraged to avail themselves of career development programmes that are offered through the Company’s in-house and external training development programmes. There are many examples of workers who have progressed in their careers (casual workers to officer level, unskilled to skilled labour). We are an equal opportunities employer and ensure a culturally diverse employee base.