A strong commitment towards environmental preservation and community engagement has been the driving force behind the growth of Kelani Valley Plantations. In this interview Mr Ranil Fernando, General Manager Rubber Marketing & Administration, Kelani Valley Plantations, explains how the company has achieved its goals over the years.
IRSG: We are glad to have visited your plantation whilst in Sri Lanka in May 2018 during the World Rubber Summit, could you please tell us a bit more about Kelani Valley Plantations?
Ranil Fernando: Kelani Valley Plantations PLC (KVPL) owns and manages 13,000 hectares of plantation land, annually producing approximately 7 million kgs of tea and 4 million kgs of rubber. The company provides direct employment to over 10,000 people and nurtures a resident population of around 55,000 people.
IRSG: You have shared that KVPL is part of Hayleys Group of companies, KVPL has a philosophy towards sustainability and the environment, what steps was taken in maintaining such good practices throughout the Group?
Ranil Fernando: Our company is a member of the Hayleys Group of Companies, a highly diversified Sri Lankan conglomerate with world-wide business interests in coir, glove manufacture, activated carbon manufacture & purification, textiles, transportation & logistics, construction material, agri inputs, plantations, leisure & aviation, power & energy, consumer products and BPO services.
KVPL consists of 10 rubber plantations covering an extent of 4500 hectares all of which have obtained Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, certified by Rainforest Alliance (RA).
FSC is an internationally recognized accreditation, confirming the company’s compliance with all standards applicable to environmentally sound forest management practices.
We ensure that all operations in our plantations are consistent with parameters of environmentally sound management systems as defined by the FSC certification. These certifications are voluntary and go beyond industry standards. KVPL’s six processing centers annually produce 4 million kgs of Sole Crepe, Latex Crepe, Centrifuge Latex, Scrap Crepe and Skim Crepe.
Two of our processing facilities have obtained FSC Chain of Custody and are specialized in Sole Crepe and Latex Crepe manufacture. We manufacture over 500 metric tons of Sole Crepe and 1000 metric tons of Latex Crepe annually.
Sole Crepe and Latex Crepe of Sri Lanka origin is probably the most unadulterated natural rubber products made for human use, and is manufactured after reducing the protein levels naturally present in the rubber to the very minimum and is free of leachable chemicals.
Sole Crepe is a tried and tested material used in shoe soles to withstand extremes of cold weather, and is an ideal material for superior grip on icy surfaces.
Latex Crepe is used in high end medical equipment, baby teats etc, which come in direct contact with the human body and in the adhesive industry.
We are also capable of producing FSC certified Centrifuged Latex in our production facility which has FSC chain of custody. Centrifuged Latex is the main raw material used in the manufacture of gloves, condoms, toys, foam mattresses etc.
KVPL’s high grown plantations in Nuwara Eliya produce tea renowned for delicacy of flavor and quality, whilst thick liquors are produced by our estates in Dickoya. Our low-grown tea plantations produce strong and heavy liquors. We produce Green Tea at Glassaugh Tea Processing Centre located in the central hills.
The Company’s 13 Black Tea factories were accredited with ISO 22000: 2005 and HACCP certifications. All 17 of its tea estates obtained Rainforest Alliance certification, mandating conformity to good agricultural practices, Biodiversity and Ethical Business practices. KVPL’s Tea Plantations and factories located in Nuwara Eliya Region have obtained UTZ Certification.
IRSG: It was a pleasure to have visited KVPL’s community and saw the cooperatives and empowerment. How does KVPL and the Group continues to sustain these engagements with your Smallholders and Community?
Ranil Fernando: The development of the plantation community has been a major component in the KVPL management strategy. In support of this policy, in 2006 KVPL launched a multi-dimensional CSR initiative branded as
“A Home for Every Plantation Worker”. This programme addresses the living environment, health and nutrition, community capacity building and the empowerment of youth in the KVPL plantation community. It is an on-going project designed to uplift the quality of life of the community within the KVPL plantations.
This initiative has received many national and international accolades and has been the subject of two case studies, one by Insead School of Business and the other by CSR Asia.
In 2006 the Company became a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact Charter (UNGC) which is an initiative through which all member organizations pledge to uphold key principles with regard to Human Rights, Labour Standards, Environment and Anti-corruption. To mark this occasion KVPL launched its Single Origin Tea pack range. A predetermined amount of the sale value is credited to Home for Every Plantation Worker Trust which is utilized for the benefit of our employees.
KVPL recently became a signatory to the Child Protection Policy initiated by Save the Children Sri Lanka. Our aim is to improve the lives of children living within our community and contribute to making a significant impact on their fundamental well-being, protection and development.
IRSG: As a member of the IRSG Panel of Associate Member, what was one of the key benefits KVPL has enjoyed?
Ranil Fernando: KVPL joined as a Panel of Associate Member of the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) in 2017, and a signatory to the Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative (SNR-I) spearheaded by IRSG.
KVPL became a member of IRSG as a PoA to get an in-depth understanding of the Natural Rubber Industry, especially the future prospects. This information is essential for KVPL to make our future planning and investment decisions.
Having joined the IRSG and participated at the World Rubber Summit 2018 held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, we were able to meet key industry players and likeminded people who are interested in sustainable agriculture. We will be happy to join hands with anyone who wishes to partner with us in promoting NATURAL RUBBER WITH RESPONSIBILITY.
Should you have further queries and clarifications, please do contact:
Mr Ranil Fernando
General Manager Rubber Marketing & Administration
Kelani Valley Plantations PLC
400 Deans Road, Colombo 10
TP : 94 11 2627708 Fax : 94 11 2694216
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Web : www.kvpl.com