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Defending Mangroves and Afforesting Underwater



Having had a keen interest in marine conservation since the inception of its environmental arm, Dilmah Tea is strengthening its investments in blue carbon – particularly mangrove conservation and sustainable seaweed harvesting in keeping in line with the UN decade of (ecosystem) restoration in 25 acres of land in Kappaladi Kite Lagoon in Kalpitiya, a company news release said.

Dilmah Conservation (DC), the sustainability arm of the tea company, is restoring mangroves. Currently a nursery with over 800 mangroves saplings consisting of seven species has been established and once at a ready height the saplings are planted in the degraded mangrove forest area. Meanwhile in Mannar, around 10 acres of land are being used for seaweed cultivation through sustainable methods, the release said.

Investing in blue carbon by restoring such ecosystems can contribute towards climate resilience as mangroves and Seaweed are better at storing carbon that terrestrial forests. Mangroves can absorb up to five times more carbon than forest trees. Similarly, seaweed generates more oxygen that land plants and absorbs more carbon too, it explained.

“A standout feature of Dilmah Conservation has been its collaborations and partnerships with different stakeholders and establishing the project on a strong scientific foundation. The organization partly attributes public-private partnerships for the long-term success of its marine conservation-related projects and therefore collaborates with the Marine Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA) and National Aquaculture Development Association (NAQDA) and maintains dialogues with universities and independent organizations such as Pearl Protectors,” the release said.

“Under the Defending Mangroves project, a baseline survey in collaboration with MEPA helped identify types of mangroves existing in the area, suitable locations for restoration, and ideal mangrove species suited to the area. Hands-on experiential learning sessions with schools in the area have also been instrumental in generating awareness about the importance of these ecosystems.

Harvesting seaweed in Pesalai.

“For maintaining a nursery Dilmah has employed community members. The value of mangrove ecosystems stands in stark contrast to the dearth of available research. Therefore, Dilmah will establish a research station to strengthen the success of the project and make it replicable in other parts of the island as well.”

Under the sustainable seaweed cultivation project: Afforesting Underwater, DC has sought technical expertise and works closely with the National Aquaculture Development Association (NAQDA) to develop community fishermen into sustainable seaweed farmers. So far, around 10 acres have been cultivated in Pesalai, and plans to expand to other parts of the coastline are underway, the release further said.

“As conservation and culture overlap Dilmah takes into consideration sustainable livelihood upliftment in its projects. Thereby, in a collaborative effort seaweed agripreneurs were empowered through an incubator program known as the Lost Ingredients Lab.

“Education and awareness are one of the important pillars for Dilmah Conservation, thus the organization has consecutively sponsored the Pearl Protectors’ World Ocean Summit – a landmark event spearheaded by the independent marine conservation organization. In 2021 this was the largest virtual summit in Sri Lanka. This year the event was held at One Galle Face Mall to the enthusiasm of the public.”

Muditha Katuwawala, Founder of Pearl Protectors said, “We are absolutely delighted to have Dilmah Conservation onboard towards celebrating World Oceans Day for the second year. The Pearl Protectors have been consecutively celebrating world oceans day through knowledge sharing, art competitions, and inspiring the generation of Ocean enthusiasts. We hope our collaborative efforts will continue to positively impact the marine environment in Sri Lanka”

Driven by Dilmah Tea founder’s vision of creating a better tea for people and the planet, the tea company has constantly initiated projects to impact terrestrial ecosystems. Marine ecosystems are also close to Dilmah’s heart. In the past initiatives such as enabling the gazetting of an important reef called Kayernkerni in Kalkudah as a marine sanctuary, education, and awareness creation about Dugons in a fishing community, and keeping 50 km of the coastlines free by employing 50 caretakers, the release concluded.

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ILO together with EFC launches pilot project to address employee grievances at the workplace



EFC's team of trainers visited the selected companies and engaged in discussions with their management

Five companies volunteer to participate in the project

By Sanath Nanayakkare

Grievance handling in Human Resource Management (HRM) refers to the process by which employee complaints, concerns, or disputes are formally addressed and resolved. The goal is to provide a structured channel for employees to express their concerns or report issues they are facing in the workplace for the benefit of the company, the management and the employees.

True to those values, the International Labour Organization (ILO) recently invited the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) to initiate a pilot project to launch Grievance Handling Guidelines that were formulated through several workshops conducted in 2019 in consultation with ILO constituents.

Giriulla Mills Ltd, HNB Assurance Ltd, HNB General Insurance Ltd, Cambio Software Engineering and Taj Bentota Resort and Spa, volunteered to participate in this project. They represented the manufacturing, finance, IT, and hospitality sectors respectively. The pilot project was formally launched on 20th September 2022.

EFC’s team of trainers visited these selected companies and engaged in discussions with their management to gain insights into their existing employee grievance handling systems.

They also gathered feedback from employees to assess their satisfaction with present grievance mechanisms. Based on the findings, EFC team developed customised grievance handling policies aligned with each organisation’s culture and specific requirements of each company to ensure practical implementation of the same.

All these grievance policies were designed in adherence to the Guidelines on Grievance Handling which were established for Sri Lanka in 2019 through workshops conducted by the ILO.

Following the development of these policies, four training sessions were conducted for the management teams of the participating companies. During these training sessions, the policies were presented in detail. The sessions also aimed to provide a comprehensive understanding of what constitutes employee grievances, the importance of addressing them promptly and the potential consequences if grievances are left unattended.

In addition to policy dissemination, the training sessions also focused on equipping managers with the necessary skills to effectively handle employee grievances. This included discussions on communication strategies, conflict resolution techniques, and the importance of empathy and active listening when addressing employee concerns.

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Rage Coffee forays into Sri Lanka market



The brand has secured investment from Virat Kohli

Rage Coffee, an internationally acclaimed coffee brand, was launched in Sri Lanka recently.

Originating in 2018 from the visionary mind of Bharat Sethi, Rage Coffee emerged to address the dearth of high-quality artisanal coffee in the Indian market. It fills the void with a unique plant-based, vitamin-enriched coffee selection.

A notable milestone for Rage Coffee was securing investment from Virat Kohli during its initial seed round. Kohli, known for his discerning brand choices, not only invested but also became the official brand ambassador, accentuating the brand’s quality.

Sourcing beans from Ethiopia and India, Rage crystallizes them, preserving a distinct nutty and earthy flavor profile. The brand’s proprietary blend, boasting 100% plant-based ingredients, eliminates harmful waste elements found in other leading coffees, prioritizing nutritional value. Each serving packs an impressive 120mg of caffeine, offering a superior boost to kickstart one’s day compared to standard brands.

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NSB Nawala branch relocated at spacious new premises



The new premises is poised to deliver a supreme customer service catering to all the financial requirements of the public.

NSB Nawala Branch which was relocated recently, was first established in the year 2003 and had been renowned for its customer service over a span of two decades.

Anoma Gomes, Deputy General Manager of National Savings Bank graced the occasion of the opening of the newly relocated Nawala Branch at the new address No. 221, Nawala Road, Nugegoda.

Furthermore, the former General Manager / CEO of NSB, Eastman Narangoda, Dr. Anura Wickramasinghe of the Open University of Sri Lanka, Dr. Hector Jayawardane graced the occasion as special invitees.

Higher Management of NSB and invited guests including Asst. General Manager – Nalika Wijesinghe, Regional Manager – Charini Ekanayake, Branch Manager of Nawala Branch – Chaminda Piyathilake also attended this event.

Equipped with ATM facilities and state-of-the-art banking facilities the relocated NSB Nawala Branch is housed in a spacious premises to deliver a supreme customer service catering to all the financial requirements of the public.

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