World Environment Day (05th June 2015) : “Sustainable Consumption – the John Keells Way!”

Human prosperity need not cost the earth. Living sustainably is about doing more and better with less. It is about knowing that rising rates of natural resource use and the environmental impacts that occur are not a necessary by-product of economic growth. The theme of the World Environment Day 2015 commemorated on June 5th – “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care” – underline that living within planetary boundaries is the most promising strategy for ensuring a healthy future.

Sustainable consumption had played and continues to play a major role in the businesses of the John Keells Group. The different sectors of the Group have taken varied and effective initiatives to enhance sustainable consumption within the Group which includes wise use of resources and minimization of waste and pollution.

The sustainability strategy of the Transportation Sector of the Group has led to many sustainable initiatives including monitoring fuel consumption based on the route and vehicle usage analyzed on a daily basis, while the sales routes are continuously restructured to ensure maximum efficiency.

JMS Farmers
(JMSL extension officer providing technical advice to farmers at Sooriyawewa)

With increasing global demand for sustainable tourism and responsible travel, both by tour operators and independent travelers, the Leisure industry strives to follow a sustainable and environmentally friendly strategy. While basing its sustainability strategy under the umbrella of the John Keells Group Sustainability Policy, the Leisure industry has also sought to bring its business units within a unified, holistic strategy under the “Cinnamon” brand. All Sri Lankan Resorts of the Group continue to increase the use of recycled water for washrooms, gardening and washing purposes whilst Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo reuses its laundry steam for water heating which has resulted in a saving of 87,600 litres of furnace oil per annum.

Cinnamon Grand Colombo’s popular Banners to Bags (B2b) initiative has been held each year since 2009 in commemoration of World Environment Day. In June 2014, the sale featured 170 exclusive bags made out of used flexi banners of the hotel. Cinnamon Grand is Asia’s first and world’s fourth company to embark on this unique recycling initiative. The bags are sewn by retired tailors who benefit from the income while sale proceeds are directed towards the Children’s Ward of the Maharagama Cancer Hospital. This innovative concept was was endorsed by Prof. Mohan Munasinghe, the Vice Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Co-Laureate, Nobel Peace Prize 2007 with Al Gore.

Of the John Keells Hotels in Maldives, Cinnamon Island Dhonveli has installed a multi-chopper in a bid to reduce the volume of waste sent to landfill at Thilafushi, while a bio gas digester is installed at Cinnamon Lagoon Hakuraa Huraa, reducing the air pollution and minimizing the amount of waste released to the environment. Walkers Tours, the Destination Management Company of the Group, successfully offsets the entire carbon footprint of its fleet, continuing to retain its carbon neutral fleet status.

With Sri Lanka’s expanding property market, the Property sector of the Group seeks to differentiate itself by maintaining the quality standards of its products and reputation as a responsible corporate citizen. A case in point is the effluent treatment plant at K-Zone Ja-Ela which serves to reuse 100

Forestry inspection(Monitoring visit in progress under the Forestry project)

per cent of its waste water. The treated water is used for gardening and general cleaning purposes at the premises.

The Consumer Foods and Retail Sector continues to procure a significant component of raw materials direct from local suppliers under its long term Sustainable Sourcing Initiative, thereby facilitating fair prices and sustained livelihood and income generation for the rural farmers whilst ensuring safe and high quality products for the consumers. Ceylon Cold Stores procured ginger, cashew, vanilla, treacle and kithul jiggery amounting to Rs.166 million from local suppliers located in various parts of the country in the financial year 2014/15 while Keells Food Products procured vegetables and spices as well as other meat products totaling to Rs.809 million from local farmers and suppliers during the same period. JayKay Marketing Services which operates Keells supermarkets procured Rs.458 million worth of fresh fruit and vegetables from farmers in proximity to its collection centres in Suriyawewa, Thambuththegama, Nuwara Eliya and Jaffna in 2014/15, whilst it also currently works with 10 organic produce farmers, purchasing 2,000 kg of organic produce.

Ceylon Cold Stores also initiated the use of renewable energy sources to reduce furnace oil and diesel consumption through the installation of a 5 ton per hour biomass boiler which replaced two furnace oil fired boilers in the ice cream and soft drink factories. This resulted in a saving of 650,000 litres of furnace oil amounting to an annual saving of Rs.54 million and a carbon footprint saving of approximately 1,700 MT.

The Information Technology Sector of the Group monitors and manages its energy usage, carbon footprint and waste generation whilst encouraging the engagement of third parties to dispose of its electronic waste by reusing and recycling wherever possible. Both John Keells Computer Services (JKCS) and InfoMate (Pvt) Ltd implemented a heat insulation project which insulated windows to improve air conditioning efficiency. As a result, energy consumption was reduced by 99,000 kWh per annum, realizing a saving of Rs.3.8 million.

In recent years, the Plantation Services sector has focused on a concerted drive towards sustainable practices in the areas of cultivation, manufacture, transportation and distribution of produce following government proposals for incentives and concessions for plantation companies which invest in replanting, value additions, labour welfare and soil and water conservation.

Meanwhile, the Group’s CSR entity, John Keells Foundation, continues with its community based reforestation project in collaboration with Tea Smallholder Factories PLC. The project is aimed at increasing the forest cover in an endangered area with a long-term view to creating a bio link between the Kanneliya and Sinharaja rain forests. It involves 31 plots of tea smallholder farmland in the vicinity of Halvitigala ,Hingalgoda, Neluwa and Kurupanawa in the Galle district. Since its launch in 2014, the planting and maintenance of 3000 saplings of selected varieties of forestry trees and crop bearing trees has been undertaken in 15 acres of barren lands belonging to the tea smallholders.

While the John Keells Group joins the world to commemorate the ‘World Environment Day 2015 – Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care’ on 5th June, its efforts towards sustainable consumption will continue to be sustained and enhanced in the long term.

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