Sunday, June 16, 2024
Bogawantalawa Tea Estates PLC celebrates World Environment Day 2024

Brewing a greener tomorrow

by damith
June 9, 2024 1:04 am 0 comment 564 views

By Dinuli Francisco

Bogawantalawa Tea Estates PLC (BTE) celebrated the World Environment Day 2024, highlighting its ongoing dedication to environmental stewardship. With a commitment to the environment, the company honoured this global event with a week-long celebration of eco-friendly initiatives and activities. Under the theme ‘Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience,’ BTE reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability and preserving the natural beauty of our planet for generations to come.

Land restoration involves rejuvenating degraded land and making it fertile and productive again. For tea plantations, this means implementing sustainable agricultural practices that enhance soil health, improve water retention, and boost biodiversity. Techniques such as regenerative agricultural practices, organic initiatives, agroforestry, and sustainable soil practices are essential. These practices not only restore the land but also enhance the quality of the yield of tea crops.

Desertification poses a significant threat to agricultural lands, including tea plantations. It is the process by which fertile land becomes desert, typically due to drought, deforestation, or inappropriate agriculture. Combatting desertification requires an effort to maintain soil fertility through sustainable land management practices. Preventing soil erosion and maintaining adequate vegetation cover also keeps the land from turning barren.

Drought Resilience is a critical point as climate change leads to more frequent and severe droughts. For tea plantations, building drought resilience means facilitating ground water infiltration, reducing runoff, improving microclimatic conditions, adopting efficient water use techniques, selecting drought-resistant tea varieties, and enhancing soil moisture through mulching and management of soil resource base.

In a statement on World Environment Day 2024, BTE Executive Director Lalith Munasinghe emphasised the importance of current actions in shaping the future.

“Our actions today shape the landscape of tomorrow,” he said. As the tea industry faces numerous challenges, Munasinghe stressed the necessity of sustainability in environmental, social, and financial aspects—the three pillars of sustainability. “On this World Environment Day, I extend my best wishes and encourage everyone to work together for a better future.” “In every cup of tea, there’s a story of sustainability and stewardship,” asserts CEO Feroze Majeed.

“Our journey towards sustainability is an example of our inclination towards innovation and a greener earth,” said the Director of Low Country Operations, Sustainability and R&D, Dr. Thusitha Bandara.

“As we celebrate World Environment Day 2024, let us continue to pioneer eco-friendly initiatives and embrace the transformative power of collective action in building a greener, more resilient future.

Here at Bogawantalawa, our commitment to environmental stewardship extends far beyond celebration, propelling us towards continuous innovation and action for a planet that flourishes for generations to come.”

Remarkable achievements

BTE’s dedication to sustainability has led to remarkable achievements, such as surpassing the ‘Uncompensated Carbon Neutral’ status to achieve ‘Uncompensated Climate Positive’ status for its tea.

This milestone signifies the company’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and enhancing its environmental impact through innovative practices and renewable energy sources. BTE is the first tea company globally to achieve this status, showcasing its leadership in sustainable tea production.

BTE also actively engages in conservation forestry projects, collaborates with the Ministry of Environment to protect sensitive forest areas, and participates in reforestation efforts that contribute to climate change mitigation. These actions, along with their community-focused social forestry programs, demonstrate BTE’s holistic approach to sustainability.

Apart from its environmental initiatives, BTE places a strong emphasis on social welfare, supporting its workers and local communities through various programs. World Environment Day stands as a testament to humanity’s collective commitment to safeguarding our planet’s precious resources.

Program highlights

* Eco-Friendly Farming Workshop (June 3): The celebrations kicked off with an interactive session tailored for tea estate workers, delving into innovative techniques such as organic cultivation methods, integrated pest management (IPM), and sustainable tea production.

* Eco-Friendly Tea Estate Clean-Up (June 4): Employees joined hands for a clean-up drive, engaging in responsible waste management, recycling initiatives, and environmental education workshops. This activity focused on a sense of pride and responsibility toward maintaining a clean and eco-friendly working environment.

* World Environment Day Celebrations (June 5): To commemorate the official day, BTE hosted a series of events aimed at raising awareness and promoting collective action for environmental sustainability. The main event took place at Maliboda Estate in Deraniyagala, featuring the participation of the Divisional Secretariat of Deraniyagala, other local government officials, school children, villagers, workers, and the management of Bogawantalawa. Activities included a tree-planting ceremony, guest speaker sessions, and interactive exhibits showcasing sustainable farming technologies.

* Environmental Outreach to Schools (June 6): BTE extended its environmental outreach to local schools with engaging programs designed to educate and inspire the younger generation. These initiatives instill a sense of environmental stewardship in students, empowering them to become advocates for sustainability. A highlight was the tree planting program, where students participated in planting native trees. This hands-on experience not only contributed to land restoration but also helped teach the values of conservation and responsibility toward nature in the young minds. Through these efforts, BTE hopes to nurture a new generation committed to preserving and protecting the environment.

* Stakeholder Consultation Program (June 7): Concluding the week, BTE hosted a program focused on climate-smart practices, sustainability goals, and collaborative efforts. Government officials, industry partners, and community leaders took part in building a collaborative approach to sustainability and resilience.

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