In 2017, we rolled out a number of focused green initiatives in each of the provinces in which we are present. The aim of our Green World initiatives is to enable rural communities to produce and consume organic food, while generating an income from that in an environmentally sustainable way. While our business has always operated on the basis of ensuring a positive environmental impact, we wanted to take direct, proactive steps to implement programmes that actively foster green opportunities.
We first introduced the initiatives to our staff in each branch with an awareness programme and training on how the initiatives work in practice. We then informed rural communities through posters in common places that we would be holding free training for anyone who wished to participate in the programme, with the ultimate goal of generating an income the ‘green’ way.
In our efforts to ensure our clients receive high-quality service and guidance, we have partnered with industry leaders for some of these initiatives.
- Objective: To produce organic food for consumption and to develop organic pesticides. We launched this programme with the Sooriyawewa Urban Council, where a farmers’ society had set up a stall to sell the organic pesticides they were producing. We began to sponsor the stall and supply them with the bottles and stickers for packaging.
Having a home garden is a compulsory prerequisite to obtaining a loan to develop it as a business.
- Implemented in the Northern, North Central, North Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, and Western Provinces.
- Objective: To earn an income and create a positive environmental impact. Through our women investment societies we learned that there is a high demand for anthuriums.
- We partnered with the Mahima Plant Nursery in Ratnapura, who is providing each client with a full-day training programme in anthurium plantation, 50 plants, 50 pots, a 12m2 net bag, 10 sand bags, 10 coco chip bags, one sand mesh, fertilizer, two anthurium handbooks, and transportation to the nearest PCCL branch for training. They also offer their consultation services and purchase the flowers once harvested.
- Implemented in the Sabaragamuwa Province.
- Objective: To produce dairy products and generate an income.
- We partnered with Fonterra Brands Lanka, who is providing technical expertise and buying back the milk at their milk collecting centres.
- Implemented in the Northern, North Central, and North Western Provinces.
- Objective: To produce organic food for consumption and to generate an income.
- We partnered with Prima Ceylon (Pvt) Ltd, who is providing technical expertise and buying back the products, and Sanasa Insurance Co. Ltd for crop insurance.
- Prima Ceylon also visits the client on a monthly basis to monitor their progress.
- Implemented in the Southern Province.
- Objective: To develop the ability of local farmers to produce organic mushrooms to sell to local supermarkets as well as for export.
- We partnered with the Mushroom Development & Training Centre (Pvt) Ltd in Ratmalana, who are providing technical expertise. They help the farmers build a small greenhouse on their home premises to grow the mushrooms, and can also be consulted throughout the harvesting process.
- Implemented in the Southern Province.
- Objective: To enhance the harvest of bees and honey through bee cultivation, using the honey to generate an income.
- We provide bee cultivation boxes at a minimal price as part of our service.
- Implemented in the Northwestern Province.
Protecting the environment
Jeiwashakthi bio-gas development programme
- Objective: To reduce carbon emission by purchasing a home bio-gas unit (on a loan). Using a bio-gas unit reduces household expenses as it can be used to produce gas for cooking, liquid fertilizer and to light gas lamps.
- We have partnered with the People in Need Foundation, Sri Lanka, for this initiative.
Vibahwa solar power development programme
All of our branches are going solar. We are partnering with Greenray Solar Solutions for this initiative.
E-waste management programme
Once a month, Ceylon Waste Management Pvt Ltd removes all of our electronic waste such as CDs, mother boards and toner cartridges for recycling.
Rukropa plant donation programme
We give each household we lend to a plant for cultivation. Over 7,000 plants have been distributed from January to August 2017.
This means that in 10 years we would have reduced our carbon footprint by 345,982.56 lbs.
A sustainable development officer visits the family every month to ensure they are taking care of the plant and using it to generate an income through a home-garden concept.
How planting trees can help reduce your carbon footprint
- A mature tree helps to reduce runoff in urban setting.As rainwater falls, much of it gets picked up by trees, preventing it from ending up in storm drains. On average, a mature tree can absorb up to 1,000 gallons of rainfall that would otherwise need to be pumped and filtered, requiring additional energy.
- Trees absorb ozone, which is a potent greenhouse gas. While ozone is helpful high up in the stratosphere, terrestrial production of the growth magnifies global climate change. Technically, this benefit doesn’t reduce your carbon footprint, but its impact is the same.
- The shade for a single tree can save the same amount of energy as what 10 room-size air conditioners need to run for 20 hours a day.
- Using trees to provide windbreaks around your house can reduce your heating bill— and the attendant energy consumption — by 20 to 50 percent per year.
- If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, planting trees is one of the most effective ways to do it.Along the way, you also beautify your house or office as well as potentially increase its value by as much as 20 percent. A nicer home, a better environment and more money in your wallet — if those aren’t reasons to plant trees, what is?
Practicing the 3 ‘R’s internally
“Working in the sustainability department has made me mindful of the things I need to do on a daily basis to look after our planet and protect our natural resources. At PCCL, we practice the concept of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We make sure we use both sides of an A4 page and thereafter we send all our paper for recycling. In each branch, we maintain a folder placed next to the printer titled “Used paper”, to store paper that can be reused for printing. We also reuse and recycle bags and bottles, and make sure our waste is separated. These go a long way and are as important as the green initiatives we carry out.”
- Tharuka Wanniarachchi, Research Executive, Sustainable Department