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Sunday May 19th, 2024

DIMO’s Green Commitment: A Journey Beyond Business Horizons

From its modest origins within the automotive sector, DIMO has emerged as a dynamic conglomerate with a footprint across various industries, prioritizing sustainability at every step. This evolution encompasses diverse sectors such as agriculture, power, energy and water, education, healthcare, industrial, building services, construction, digital, and home & garden reflecting DIMO’s core commitment to diversification and sustainability, which focus on business, people and plant. This approach yields a positive impact on current and future generations, fuelling their dreams and aspirations while safeguarding the planet for posterity.

 Sharp Sustainability Focus

DIMO’s sustainability agenda for 2030 evolves around three pillars that focus on being a resilient business, building resilient communities and conserving a living planet. Through sustainable entrepreneurship, strategic investments in innovative solutions, circular sourcing, and ethical business conduct DIMO not only broadens its business scope but also creates a resilient organization. From improving employee well-being plus enhancing meaningful employment through diversity to a broader perspective of fostering opportunities and partnerships for people to thrive, the company builds resilient communities. Embracing initiatives geared towards a conscious footprint to minimize impact and enhance restoration, DIMO ensures that its endeavours align with environmental stewardship.

Conserving Living Planet

The commitment of DIMO particularly in conserving the living planet, is exemplified through its key environmental projects strategically aligned with reducing carbon emissions by 50% and achieving 1:1 restoration as spelt out in their sustainability agenda 2030.

These projects, including the Life to Reef Coral Restoration, Panama Turtle Conservation Project, Kanneliya LIFE Forest Restoration, and Galle Mangrove Conservation Initiatives, not only underscore DIMO’s dedication to environmental stewardship but also resonate strongly with global conservation efforts, particularly under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations.

The partnership forged between DIMO as the funding partner and organizations such as Wildlife & Ocean Resource Conservation (WORC), Biodiversity Sri Lanka (BSL), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Galle Conservation Society (GCS) as respective implementation partners play a pivotal role in the execution and success of these projects. These partnerships epitomized DIMO’s commitment towards SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals; strengthening the means of implementation and revitalizing the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

The Panama Turtle Conservation project, in collaboration with WORC, addresses the pressing need to protect endangered sea turtle populations and their nesting grounds along the coastal stretch from Panama to Okanda. By safeguarding turtle eggs from natural predators through appointed caretakers from the community and engaging local communities in conservation efforts, this project directly contributes to SDG 15: Life on Land, aiming to protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and halt biodiversity loss.

Similarly, the Life to Reef Coral Restoration project, also in partnership with WORC, focuses on restoring coral reefs destroyed in the wake of devastating events like the El Nino disturbances. By employing innovative restoration techniques and engaging volunteers in post-planting care, this project aligns with SDG 14:  Life Below Water, aiming to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.

DIMO’s collaboration with Biodiversity Sri Lanka (BSL), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and several private sector companies with the guidance of the Forest Department the Kanneliya LIFE Forest Restoration programme emphasizes the importance of terrestrial ecosystem conservation. By removing invasive species, establishing native plant nurseries, and implementing soil conservation methods and plant protection techniques, this initiative contributes to SDG 15: Life on Land and SDG 13: Climate Action, by taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Furthermore, the Galle Mangrove project, undertaken in partnership with MAS Holdings and Galle Conservation Society, emphasizes the significance of mangrove ecosystems in carbon sequestration and coastal protection. By restoring mangrove habitats and engaging local communities in conservation efforts, this initiative supports SDG 13 and SDG 15 by mitigating climate change impacts and preserving terrestrial ecosystems.

 The Impact

One of DIMO’s flagship endeavours, the Life to Reef Coral Restoration project, stands as a testament to the company’s commitment towards conserving marine life. Recently concluded, this project has breathed new life into the once-depleted Bonavista Reef in Rumassala. This coral restoration initiative has successfully revived 30 coral species from four families as identified by WORC. These coral species have developed into colonies, with heights ranging from 10cm to 15cm, establishing natural habitats that support diverse marine life. This restoration effort has expanded over a 3.5-acre area, which previously had only 5% coral coverage.

Before the project’s inception, WORC records indicated four butterflyfish species within the reef. However, post-restoration, this number has surged to an impressive 13 species. Furthermore, the return of turtle species like Green turtles, Loggerhead turtles, and Hawksbill turtles underscores the project’s success, as these creatures rely on coral reefs for sustenance and shelter. With approximately 250 thriving fish species now populating the reef, the project has proven instrumental in fostering biodiversity in the area.

The ongoing Panama Turtle Conservation Project, a labour of love spanning over 12 years, has yielded remarkable results in safeguarding turtle populations and their nesting habitats. DIMO’s efforts have led to the protection of 1314 nests and 153,815 eggs, with an impressive 75%-89% hatchling survival rate. From Loggerhead to Green Turtle and Olive Ridley, the project has seen the successful nesting of various turtle species, contributing significantly to marine biodiversity conservation along Sri Lanka’s coastal belt that spans 3km.

DIMO’s collaboration with other corporate partners in the “LIFE” Collaborative Forest Restoration Project has led to the rejuvenation of degraded forest land of a 12-hectare patch in the Kanneliya Forest Reserve. With over 18,000 native plant species being planted, the project has witnessed a resurgence in butterfly diversity, with 22 species recorded at the restoration site. Additionally, the area has attracted new animal species, further highlighting the success of ecosystem regeneration efforts.

In its latest endeavour, the Mangrove Project together with MAS aims to enhance urban wildlife and marine biodiversity by restoring mangrove habitats across 18 hectares in Galle. With 2000 saplings belonging to 5 different mangrove species already planted across two project sites, ‘Kapu Ela’ and  Dutch Canal in Galle. The initiative promises to provide vital breeding grounds for a variety of marine and terrestrial species, thus fortifying coastal ecosystems.

Community Empowerment

Crucially, these initiatives have not only focused on ecological restoration but have also fostered community engagement. Through continuous awareness programmes and active involvement in conservation efforts, local communities have transformed from mere spectators to proactive stewards of their environment. In projects like Panama, illegal egg collectors have become caretakers, while in coral conservation projects, community members engaged in illegal fishing have embraced sustainable livelihoods, ensuring the protection of vital reef ecosystems.

The Panama Turtle Conservation Project stands as a shining example of how environmental initiatives can empower local communities. Through comprehensive awareness programmes, residents were educated on the importance of protecting turtle nests, leading to a collective pledge to safeguard these vital habitats. As a result, illegal egg collection has significantly decreased, ensuring the survival of turtle populations while fostering a sense of stewardship among community members.

In the scenic Rumassala area, the Life to Reef Coral Restoration project has not only regenerated coral reefs but also boosted the local economy. The revival of marine ecosystems has attracted a surge in tourism, leading to increased opportunities for local businesses. From snorkel kit rentals to food stalls catering to tourists, community members have found new avenues for income generation, thereby improving their quality of life. Moreover, the project has raised awareness about coral reef conservation, encouraging responsible behaviour among locals and tourists alike.

The LIFE Forest Restoration project goes beyond ecological benefits, focusing on the social impact of forest conservation. By restoring healthy forests, Project LIFE has provided crucial protection to communities against natural disasters like floods and landslides.

In Galle, the Mangrove Project is set to empower communities through income-generating mechanisms. By establishing nurseries for mangrove plants and promoting ornamental fish breeding, the project creates sustainable livelihoods for locals. Furthermore, mangrove ecosystems serve as vital nurseries for fish species, boosting local fisheries and providing economic opportunities for countless individuals.

In the pursuit of environmental sustainability, DIMO has not only revitalized ecosystems but also uplifted local communities, fostering economic prosperity and social well-being. Through a series of transformative projects, DIMO has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to empowering communities and promoting sustainable development.

An Ongoing Journey

Looking ahead, DIMO remains committed to expanding its environmental initiatives and driving positive change. Today, DIMO continues its commitment  to the Panama Turtle Conservation Project as the pioneering funding partner, along with MAS and Commercial Bank. DIMO also maintains its partnership with the LIFE Forest Restoration project as the official fertilizer provider. Moreover, the ongoing Mangrove Project in Galle will evolve into an education hub, further emphasizing the importance of conservation and sustainability.

DIMO’s dedication to environmental stewardship, community empowerment and economic development serves as a beacon of hope for a more sustainable future. Through its strategic environmental projects, DIMO has not only revitalized ecosystems but also empowered local communities, fostering a harmonious relationship between humans and nature. DIMO’s unwavering dedication to sustainability sets a powerful example, demonstrating that environmental conservation and economic prosperity can go hand in hand. With continuous collaboration and inventive approaches, DIMO is poised to lead the way towards a world where environmental conservation and socio-economic development are intertwined.