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POSTED AT 07:27 AM 31-03-2019

Bogawantalawa Tea set to become world’s first Climate Positive plantation company

View of Bogawantalawa estate

Bogawantalawa Tea Estates PLC (BTE), after becoming the first company in the world to secure Uncompensated Carbon Neutral certification for its tea growing, manufacturing and marketing processes, is now setting its sights on even more environmental achievements.

For the producer of some of the country’s finest tea, this means a rapid migration towards official Climate Positive status – the point at which it will go beyond just achieving net zero carbon emissions and actually begin removing additional carbon dioxide from the environment.

The journey towards this objective is now firmly underway, with the scope of the company’s environmental efforts spanning all of BTE’s units, the company said in a media announcement.

“As the first tea company to be formally certified as Uncompensated Carbon Neutral, we can state with confidence that there is incredible potential in the Sri Lankan Regional Plantation Company (RPC) sector to set a new global standard for the plantation industry. Combatting climate change is a collective global responsibility and with our industry, we believe that it is ultimately the RPC sector which will pave the way for a new chapter in the plantation industry, both locally and globally,”

said Bogawantalawa Tea, General Manager of Sustainability and R and D, Thusitha Bandara in a media statement issued by the company.

BTE and Bogawantalawa Tea Ceylon (Pvt) Ltd. (BTC) were certified Carbon Neutral by the Sri Lanka Climate Fund, which operates under the Ministry of Environment.

This required major revisions not only to operational procedures at the estate level but also at the company’s Colombo facilities, where it took stock of every aspect of the business from packing materials to sourcing.

“Where the scope of a typical tea company’s carbon emissions audit would be limited to the estate, BTE extended the range of its audit right up to the point where their tea reaches the port. A comprehensive list of emissions sources are factored into BTE’s analysis – including everything from emissions generated via production of fertiliser and agro-chemicals to transmission loss of electricity to factories. Going beyond rudimentary analysis however, BTE also factors in transport, and even travel of overseas business visitors within the scope of their audit. In order to maintain complete transparency, the company shares the entire set of details around its CO2 audit as part of its regular stakeholder reporting,” the statement said.

In addition to optimising electricity usage, BTE has also invested significantly in harnessing renewable energy such as hydro and solar. Currently, the company generates a collective 12 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy through 2GWh of solar and 10 GWh of hydropower.

The company’s commitment to social conservation and plantation forestry is reflected by its significant investment in these causes, which amounts to between Rs. 20 million and Rs. 25 million annually. These investments are channelled into conservation of sensitive areas, biodiversity enrichment, watershed conservation, together with training and awareness building programmes.

Given the unprecedented innovations taking place at Bogawantalawa Tea Estates, the company has already been certified to the highest international accredited standards in terms of sustainability, food hygiene and ethics, and is rapidly gaining global attention for its pioneering work. All its estates in the Central Province’s Golden Valley are Rainforest Alliance, Ethical Tea Partnership, Fairtrade, ISO 22000:2005 and ISO 9001:2008 certified.