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Saturday July 20th, 2024

Teejay Lanka’s Eco-Conscious Strategy

Ishara Perera, Assistant Manager Sustainability, and Mendaka Hettithanthri, Deputy General Manager Engineering

Teejay Lanka’s Mendaka Hettithanthri, Deputy General Manager, Engineering, and Ishara Perera, Assistant Manager, Sustainability, discuss the listed fabric maker’s dedication to biodiversity conservation, emphasizing its strategic efforts in tree planting and habitat restoration, particularly along the Kelani River and through community-driven projects. This commitment aligns with global sustainability goals, enhancing environmental health and community relations while fostering a positive corporate agenda. By integrating biodiversity into its core business operations, Teejay Lanka mitigates environmental risks, attracts eco-conscious stakeholders, and ensures long-term business resilience, demonstrating how responsible environmental practices can lead to competitive advantages and sustainable economic growth.

 Why is biodiversity conservation important to Teejay Lanka?

Teejay Lanka embodies its “To Earth with Love” philosophy and the essence of being “Guardians of the Earth,” demonstrating a steadfast commitment to protecting and restoring natural habitats. This dedication is crucial to the well-being of both the environment and the communities we serve.

Central to Teejay Lanka’s Abhivarah 2030 strategy is the ambitious goal of planting a million trees along the Kelani River. We are guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Science-Based Targets initiative, ensuring that our efforts are globally aligned and scientifically sound.

Apart from our Abhivarah 2030 strategy, we also drive community tree-planting projects. Our notable efforts include the “Greening Sri Lanka” initiative, where we are planting 28,000 Nelli trees in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, the Central Environmental Authority, and other partners. Additionally, we have planted 3,500 trees across 22 acres in the upper reaches of the Kelani River, working closely with the Wildlife Department (Dehiowita, Kegalle Division), Sri Lanka Police (Ruwanwella), Forest Department (Dehiowita), and the Divisional Secretariat (Ruwanwella).

We also have habitat restoration programmes. In partnership with the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS), we are involved in reforestation projects such as the Maskeliya Oya reforestation initiative. These efforts aim to create green corridors that enhance biodiversity, connect fragmented habitats, and support various species, thereby promoting ecological balance. In January 2023, we signed an MOU with WNPS, the third oldest nature protection society in the world, and the first in Sri Lanka,

Can you discuss their impact thus far?

Our conservation projects have significant and multifaceted impacts. Our Kelani Riverbank Restoration project aims to plant one million trees along the Kelani River by 2050, enhancing the river’s ecosystem. This effort stabilizes riverbanks, reduces soil erosion, and improves water quality, thereby providing a sustainable and high-quality water source for our operations and the surrounding communities.

Our tree planting projects not only enhance local biodiversity but also instil a sense of responsibility and ownership among community members. These projects foster environmental awareness, inspire leadership, and engage both employees and the community in sustainability initiatives.

Through our participation in the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), we are committed to reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 42% and Scope 3 emissions by 25% by 2030. This proactive approach to climate action contributes to global climate goals and helps mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The Abhivarah 2030 roadmap is central to balancing our business interests with corporate responsibility. It aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Science-Based Targets, weaving sustainability into the core of our business operations. Our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives are integral to our success, not merely add-ons.

Our sustainability strategy emphasizes responsible consumption (“Doing more with less”), responsible discharge (“Waste to wealth”), and support for a thriving planet (“To Earth with Love”). This strategy ensures that operational efficiency complements environmental stewardship. Our commitment to Science-Based Targets for emission reductions positions us as a leader in corporate climate action, aligning our business strategies with global environmental goals and demonstrating our dedication to mitigating climate change impacts.

How are your pursuits in biodiversity conservation helping the business? Is there a strong case for Sri Lankan businesses to focus on those big issues that matter?

By restoring ecosystems, Teejay Lanka enhances resource security, reduces operational risks, and strengthens community relations, ensuring a stable and high-quality water supply essential for our manufacturing processes. This not only protects crucial natural resources but also cultivates a positive corporate image and builds trust with stakeholders, including local communities and customers.

Our commitment to biodiversity aligns with global sustainability goals, attracting eco-conscious clients and investors. These efforts mitigate risks associated with environmental degradation and climate change, thereby ensuring long-term business resilience. Focusing on significant environmental issues provides dual benefits: it protects vital ecosystems while achieving sustainable economic growth, illustrating how responsible practices can offer substantial competitive advantages.