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Reinventing the face of the Handloom Industry for future sustainability

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Selyn launches the ne ‘New30’

Q: What are the current challenges faced by the handloom industry?

Sri Lankan handloom has a long and venerable history of over 2500 years and has been a sustainable industry since its inception: energy consumption in production is low, and the industry has created thousands of jobs for rural artisans and communities across the country. However, despite various efforts, the industry finds itself in a state of deterioration owing to different factors, more recently the negative impact of degrowth of the tourism sector in Sri Lanka.

Unfortunately, handloom is no longer widely seen as an item of intrinsic value that speaks of our history and culture, and embodies the skills of talented artisans. Our artisans are no longer venerated for their skills, and are too often seen through a charity lens. It is crucial that Sri Lankan handlooms are pitched to premium or even luxury markets, which value quality over mass quantity and speed.

In addition and perhaps more innovatively, increasing the transparency of our production methods with the integration of blockchain technology into our supply chains will be a crucial step to allow us to better tell the Sri Lankan handloom story, addressing the ‘green-washing’ debate, and providing consumers with verifiable data to inform the purchase of a higher value textile. Global emerging trends support this hypothesis, as these premium markets and more conscious customers are now craving the stories of heritage and responsibility that fair trade and ethical brands can tell. This is an opportunity, for not just the handloom industry but in my opinion, for many Sri Lankan brands.

Q: How is Selyn integrating Blockchain into their production system?

We envision a different future for the handloom sector. Having begun the process of integrating blockchain into our supply chain, we believe we can truly walk the talk and present to the world a truly authentic and responsible craft brand. Drawing on our fair-trade foundations and using our social enterprise credentials and with COVID19 accelerating our work, Selyn is repositioning its work in the handloom sector to address emerging market opportunities.
Q: What do you hope to achieve through this novel technology?

Our aim is to leverage a commitment to ethical and sustainable practices combined with greater transparency, and ultimately carve out a unique niche for handloom as an important part of Sri Lanka’s intangible cultural heritage. And, we are working hard to bring the industry along with us. We believe that the concept of blockchain in the handloom sector is an innovative step towards positioning Sri Lanka as an industry and global leader that combines technology and tradition to conquer sustainability.

Q: How can blockchain benefit Sri Lanka?

For those companies in control of their supply chains, especially those committed to fair trade and ethical

trading practices, blockchain is the perfect tool to validate authenticity and for story-telling. With blockchain integrated from the point of sourcing to point of purchase – from fiber to fashion – with the swipe of a QR code, a consumer can now be fully aware of what goes into their product, and how it is made. Blockchain technology ensures that each point in the production process is recorded so that consumers can access independently verified, real-time, detailed metadata of what they want to know. And that’s not all. Consumers can input their own information to the QR code, thereafter if it is given to a friend or resold; it enables the needed circularity for the product.

For us in the handloom industry and even for the larger apparel sector, this means openly sharing information about how, where, and by whom a product was made. This becomes more than a story-telling exercise, especially since this technology demands that we pay attention to people at all stages of the supply chain: who works for the brand, in what factories, under what conditions, are they safe, are they paid a living wage, how many hours do they work, do they have workers’ rights? It also demands that we be conscious of the waste we reject into the environment – into our forests and our seas and brings our attention to how we may be more carbon neutral as we maximise profit. It allows us to humanize our supply chains and spread the premiums gained fairly among all those involved in the process of taking a product to market.

Q: Why is Blockchain essential to the future?

We see the overuse of these words; “sustainable”, “empowerment” “circular” and are led to

believe it addresses and solves the bigger problems at hand. None of which mean anything or truly give impact, if we aren’t transparent about how we achieve these outcomes. In other words, the practice of openly sharing information about how, where, and by whom products are made is critical. We can’t achieve sustainability without being truly transparent, which is why blockchain has gained its well-earned prominence. About Selyna Peiris (Attorney-at- Law): Being the Director-Business Development at Selyn, Selyna is also Co-Founder and Partner at Positive Impact Consultancy, an advisory service assisting stakeholders in various sectors to make purpose led transformation to create a positive impact. She was previously the Deputy Director – Programmes at

the Office for National Unity & Reconciliation (ONUR), Government of Sri Lanka and has consulted for the UN and other international and non-governmental organizations. As a youth activist, she has spear-headed and

worked along many movements working towards a racism free Sri Lanka and continues to be a strong

advocate for equitable development especially for the women of SriLanka.



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Brand ambassador for Tiesh

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The Tiesh family, Thiyasha, Lasantha, Bryony Stephanie and Ayesh de Fonseka

Stephania Siriwardhana with elegance and style

As a family owned company comprising of Lasantha, Bryony, Thiyasha and Ayesh de Fonseka, Tiesh Jewellers was born out of wanting to give modern woman an opportunity to wear fine jewellery every day.Their jewellery have all the classic codes of exquisite craftsmanship. There are several factors that make Tiesh unique, the magnetic relationship between their pieces jewellery and the customer, this is signature style. The Tiesh jewellery pieces are not only meant to empower women but are also made to celebrate women.

By Zanita Careem

Pure Gold by Tiesh, a jewellery brand renowned for its exceptional craftsmanship and timeless designs, appointed Stephanie Siriwardhana, a globally recognised celebrity and multi-faceted artist, as the brand ambassador.

Known for its array of 18-karat and 22-karat gold jewellery pieces, Pure Gold by Tiesh stands as a beacon of exquisite craftsmanship and design. The brand showcases a range of breathtaking earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings that exude elegance and individuality, also available in tri-colours, rose gold, white gold, and yellow gold.

Stephanie Siriwardhana, an icon admired globally for her natural elegance and style, expressed her excitement in being appointed as the brand ambassador, saying, “I am thrilled and honoured to be appointed as the brand ambassador and face of Pure Gold by Tiesh. My relationship with Tiesh goes back to more than ten years.I have been a loyal customer and always admired and loved thier jewellery I appreciate and admire the dedication and commitment they put into perfecting each piece of jewellery.”

What is so different about Tiesh ? They distinguishes itself by blending traditional craftsmanship with modern design aesthetics, catering to the discerning tastes of the new-age woman. Commitment to versatility, allowing each piece to be worn in multiple ways,exclusivity are some of the hallmarks the brand prides itself. They are also renowned for catering to diverse cultures and ethnicities, offering something for everyone, from beautiful Hindu brides to Muslim brides and traditional Kandyan n brides.

Stephanie expressed her appreciation for the brand’s commitment to creativity, stating, “I am especially drawn to Pure Gold by Tiesh’s unique commitment to creativity and making each moment and story special with their endless personal styling options. The quality and service provided by Pure Gold by Tiesh are remarkable. When you visit Tiesh, it’s not like visiting your typical jewellery shop; it’s like visiting your home. There is always a sense of familiarity and hospitality, they understand your personal taste making it a personalised and custom experience. I feel blessed to be a part of the Tiesh family of jewellery and they always have some exciting things in the pipeline.”

The staff at Tiesh Jewellers

Pix by Thushara Attapathu

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Vitamin E for skin hydration

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Antioxidant that protects and hydrates skin, leaving it refreshed and plumped is Vitamin E While Vitamin E is a vital antioxidant with many benefits, our bodies cannot produce it naturally. Therefore, it is important to supplement our lifestyle and skincare with Vitamin E rich products to protect and nourish our skin. The Body Shop’s Vitamin E range has been a symbol of excellence since the 1970s. The Vitamin E range suits all skin types, leaving skin feeling hydrated, healthy and happy. The range’s crowing star is its moisturizing cream which delivers a +38% boost in skin hydration for eight hours.

The Body Shop Sri Lanka launches its iconic Vitamin E range at an event at The Body Shop store in Bagatalle Road, Colombo.

The Body Shop’s Vitamin E infused range now available in Sri Lanka includes a day cream, night vream, cleanser, facial wash, sleeping mask and serum.

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects and hydrates skin, leaving it refreshed and plumped.

While Vitamin E is a vital antioxidant with many benefits, our bodies cannot produce it naturally. Therefore, it is important to supplement our lifestyle and skincare with Vitamin E rich products to protect and nourish our skin. Vitamin E range, It has been a symbol of excellence since the 1970s. and suits all skin types, leaving skin feeling hydrated, healthy and happy. The range’s crowing star is its moisturizing cream which delivers a +38% boost in skin hydration for eight hours.

“Sri Lanka is a very important market for The Body Shop. Over the years, we have learnt from the country’s resilience and the ability to bounce back with growth trajectory. As a change making beauty brand, we are committed to empower customers, employees and partners to drive positive change for the world though our channels, our products and our activism. We are thankful for all the support and remain on track to provide responsible beauty products in the market.” said Vishal Chaturvedi, Vice President – Retail & Operations, The Body Shop South Asia speaking at the event.

The Vitamin E range’s ingredients are a key highlight. The range adeptly harnesses the power of Vitamin E to soak deep into skin and preserve natural fats, while replenishing the outer layer of skin and helping minimise moisture loss and skin dehydration. The Body Shop’s Vitamin E range is also replete with natural-origin hyaluronic acid from wheat and corn, which increases skin elasticity by keeping it plump and hydrated.

The range, which is vegan-friendly, is also enriched with Raspberry Seed Oil from up-cycled cold-pressed raspberries, known to be rich in Vitamin E. True to The Body Shop’s ethos of sustainability, ethical production and helping the planet, the product range sources Raspberry Seed Oil Its packaging includes recyclable packaging made from recycled materials.

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Jetwing Hotels recognised at the Annual Green Building Awards 2023

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The Green Building Council of Sri Lanka (GBCSL) recognised Jetwing Hotels, among the tourism sector, for their commitment to promoting environmental sustainability and sustainable tourism in Sri Lanka, at the recently concluded Annual Green Building Awards 2023.

GBCSL, a consensus-based nonprofit organization representing diverse sectors of the property industry, environment, and academia, seeks to revolutionize the Sri Lanka construction sector through green building practices. Their goal is to promote sustainability as the foundation for environmental well-being, economic prosperity, and societal growth. The Annual Green Building Awards, initiated by GBCSL, aims to recognize business leaders who have demonstrated their commitment for environmental sustainability.

A committee was set up by the Board of Directors of GBCSL, to gather relevant data and information relating to the sustainability performances of the business organizations in the hotel sector in Sri Lanka. The committee conferred that Jetwing Hotels Ltd has made a commendable commitment to foster environmental sustainability and integrate sustainable development principles throughout its chain of hotels, while also working for the promotion of sustainable tourism in Sri Lanka. In recognition of this commitment Jetwing Hotels was honoured with the Green Investment Excellence Award for 2023 in the tourism sector.

Each Jetwing property unfolds a distinctive narrative, intricately weaving together the local culture, the spirit of its people, and a harmonious integration with the environment. Designed to seamlessly blend with their surroundings, each hotel’s architecture embraces green building principles, prioritizing energy efficiency, resource conservation, and waste management.

The open architectural layout and incorporation of courtyards not only enhance the aesthetic appeal but also facilitate natural illumination and ventilation. Jetwing Hotels takes a significant stride towards sustainability by investing in renewable energy, which contributes to over 60% of the hotels’ total energy demand. Most properties have integrated grid-tied or off-grid solar installations contributing to meet the daily electricity required. Innovative vapour absorption chillers are employed in 04 Jetwing hotels.

These systems are powered entirely by steam generated from biomass boilers that utilise cinnamon wood – a byproduct derived from the cinnamon industry. A comprehensive waste management system is diligently implemented in each hotel. Solid waste is sorted at source; food waste is fed into onsite biogas digesters – with the biogas generated fuelling staff kitchens and the sludge produced utilised as liquid fertiliser in the gardens. Waste generated in the gardens are composted and repurposed as fertiliser.

Any plastic, glass, and paper waste are entrusted to third-party recyclers. Demonstrating a commitment to reducing its ecological footprint, Jetwing Hotels pioneers the use of glass water bottles which are filled at on-site bottling plants around the island. This initiative serves as a sustainable alternative to single-use plastic bottles, emphasizing the brand’s dedication to environmental responsibility and resource conservation.

Commenting on the latest accolade, Director of Engineering at Jetwing Hotels, Jude Kasturi Arachchi, stated “We are honored to receive the Green Investment Excellence Award from GBCSL. This recognition reaffirms our commitment to environmental sustainability and sustainable tourism. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with GBCSL, paving the way for innovative solutions, and setting new benchmarks for environmentally conscious practices in the hospitality sector. This accolade is not just an award; it’s a testament to our ongoing journey towards a more sustainable and responsible future for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.”

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