Sri Lanka’s tea industry this week saw the launch of the Mother and Child-Friendly Seal for Responsible Business, an effort towards establishing a supply chain that has improved focus on the well-being of women and children in the plantations.
In the first phase, seven entities in the tea sector came onboard to join the cause. The entities are Kelani Valley Plantations, Bogawantalawa Plantations, Elpitiya Plantations, Horana Plantations, English Tea Shop, Eswaran Brothers and Talawakelle Plantations.
Meanwhile, three other entities – Maturata Plantations, Udapussellawa Plantations and Hapugastenna Plantations, have expressed interest in committing to the initiative.
The initiative is a collaborative initiative between The Centre for Child Rights and Business Sri Lanka, Save the Children and other key stakeholders, which include plantation companies.
The Mother and Child-Friendly Seal for Responsible Business aims to improve the well-being of women and children in Sri Lanka’s tea sector by encouraging business entities in the tea supply chain, including buyers, brands, plantation companies and estates, to make sustainable and meaningful investments in the well-being initiatives targeting children and women in tea communities.
Speaking at the launch event held in Colombo this week, The Centre for Child Rights and Business CEO Ines Kaempfer stressed the seal is not a certification but a commitment by businesses to further improve the working conditions and have a more family-friendly tea supply chain.
“It is not a standard that we are assessing; it is a commitment. We did not want it to be just another tick the box, where we would need to come in to monitor and evaluate.”
“We need businesses in the sector to step up with their actions,” said Kaempfer. She also pointed out that an increasing number of entities coming on board to have the seal will further uplift the brand image of Ceylon Tea on the international market.
To receive the seal for their packaging and marketing, tea producers, buyers and brands are expected to fulfil a number of core requirements and self-selected improvements.
All measures taken are based on the capacity self-assessment baselines of business entities.
Kaempfer noted that while the activities may vary between actors and buyers and brands, the seal initiative awards those that demonstrate continuous improvement of family-friendly workplace practices and visibly improved conditions for women workers and their children.