In another major step towards safeguarding the wellbeing of women and children from Sri Lanka’s estate sector communities, The Centre for Child Rights and Business (The Centre) in partnership with Save the Children, and key stakeholders, the Planters Association of Ceylon, Plantation Human Development Trust, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs announced the launch of the island’s first ‘Mother and Child-Friendly Seal for Responsible Business’ (Seal initiative).
In the backdrop of a looming economic crisis that threatens to erode Sri Lanka’s strong progress quality of life, key socio-economic and health indicators, the Mother and Child-Friendly Seal for Responsible Business initiative is designed to guide businesses on a path that incorporates the wellbeing of women and children across their business.
“This initiative is a new concept that will improve the overall wellbeing of women and children in Sri Lanka’s plantation sector. The most valuable resource a plantation company has is its human capital.
We believe in ensuring the wellbeing of women and children living among the plantation community as they are the key in influencing the sustainable development of the industry,” Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) Chairman, and Director/CEO of Elpitiya Plantations PLC, Bhathiya Bulumulla stated.
Business entities which enroll in the Seal initiative will initially take a pledge and develop an action plan to strengthen initiatives for women and children in the communities they are connected to. Based on the child-centric impact assessments carried out on the initiatives, they will be issued the Mother and Child-Friendly Seal for Responsible Business.
The initiative also aims to provide encouragement to businesses in the tea supply chain – from brands, exporters, brokers, to plantation companies and estates - to make sustainable and meaningful investments in the wellbeing of women and children.
Notably, the Mother and Child-Friendly Seal for Responsible Business initiative builds on the prior work of Save the Children in Sri Lanka under its Mother and Child Friendly Tea Plantations programme, which was developed over time into the Seal Initiative.
“For over 8 years, we have continuously worked to improve the lives of children living in the tea estates. By investing US$ 1.5 million, our programmes focused on introducing a child protection policy to tea planation companies, strengthening the community-based child protection mechanisms and empowering children for their child rights.
This initiative has paved way to build strong alliances with the Planters Association, the Plantation Human Development Trust, and tea producers, exporters and brands to create sustainable standards for mother and child friendly tea estates,” Save the Children National Director, Julian Chellappah explained.