KVPL wins prestigious UNV Award for service to plantations communities

Kelani Valley Plantations General Manager – HR and Corporate Sustainability, Anuruddha Gamage accepting the award from UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka, Robert Juhkam in the presence of Sharmalee Jayasinghe, Country Coordinator of UNV.
  • The first Sri Lankan RPC to win a United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Award
  • Recognised for multiple environmental and social projects

In celebration of its remarkable positive impacts on estate workers and communities, Kelani Valley Plantations PLC (KVPL), a member of the Hayleys Plantations Sector, was honoured with a United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Award in the Corporate Sector category at the 50th United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Golden Jubilee Anniversary Celebrations.

The United Nations Volunteers Sri Lanka presented 50 awards to individuals and organisations that have contributed to the country’s development efforts through volunteerism. This honour marks the first occasion in the Sri Lankan Plantations Sector’s rich 150+ year history that a Regional Plantations Company (RPC) has won a UNV Award, bolstering efforts taken at the source of one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic export industries.

“We are honoured by the recognition we have been given and the global visibility this provides our ethically-sourced tea exports. We are grateful for the active participation and unique engagement of our Plantations’ Management to support and care for these communities 24/7, 365 days a year. As a pioneer in sustainable and ethical plantations management, KVPL will continue to make the development of the sector, and all who are connected to it our utmost priority,” Hayleys Plantations Managing Director, Dr. Roshan Rajadurai said.

“This overall commitment exemplifies the values of the Hayleys Group and is representative of our pioneering HRM model, which transcends traditional approaches to continuously raise the quality of life of our direct workforce and dependents, in collaboration with local and international bodies,” he also said.

The RPC was recognised for multiple environment protection projects with thousands of volunteers, such as tree planting, organic rubber, and municipal waste compost projects, in addition to conducting awareness programmes on child protection, and developing universal tools for sustainable business practices.

KVPL’s flagship ‘A Home for Every Plantation Worker’ programme is a voluntary holistic commitment across the management, staff and estate workers, supporting the well-being of a 60,000+ strong plantations community.

From medical camps to awareness programmes, child and maternal care activities, development work on living facilities, drinking water schemes and other community capacity development initiatives, Kelani Valley Plantations has adopted a relentless multi-pronged approach to safeguarding the interests of its workforce and the broader estate community.

Notably, the company was the first RPC in Sri Lanka to adopt a comprehensive ‘Child Protection Policy’ in partnership with the Save the Children Fund, including establishing child protection focal points and child protection committees.

The past year saw the establishment of voluntary community efforts headed by KVPL Estate Managers to protect lives and overcome the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the potential vulnerability of its workforce and their families to the pandemic, Hayleys Plantations mobilized its entire workforce to raise awareness on measures to prevent COVID-19.

As a result, the team was able to complete a 100% vaccination drive in partnership with local health authorities, in turn ensuring zero casualties amongst its estate workers.

“The prolonged lockdowns necessitated by the pandemic threat posed difficulties to estate communities in accessing food and other essentials. Across estates, our team never hesitated to put themselves at the frontline, making a concerted effort to purchase, pack and deliver essential provisions in addition to implementing the required safety and hygiene measures beyond the workforce to the surrounding communities as well. Recognising that income streams would be affected, the team also visited our estate workers’ homes and engaged them in the fields to actively promote the outgrower model,” Kelani Valley Plantations General Manager – HR and Corporate Sustainability, Anuruddha Gamage said.

KVPL also launched a series of online learning sessions at zero cost, open to the wider estate communities under KVPL’s youth empowerment agenda on IT and English and Tamil language training. Special training was also provided for designated Child Development Centre officers on caring for their children during these conditions.

Over the years, KVPL has consolidated its reputation with numerous accolades, including being the first plantations company in the world to commit to the globally-recognised Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) aimed at reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and obtaining the world-first Sustainability Framework (SF) certificate as a validation of their social and environmental efforts towards becoming a global sustainability leader.

Reinforcing KVPL’s award-winning Human Resource Management practices, the company has also gained global recognition with a Gold Award at the National HR Excellence Awards 2016, Great HR Practices in 2018 and 2019, Asia- Pacific HR Excellence Awards in 2017 and 2018 and the Global HR Excellence Awards for the first time in 2019.