Handing Over of the PlasticNeutral® Certificate (from Left) Sanith de S. Wijeyeratne – CEO, CCC, Marc Perera – CEO, Eco Friends, Dr. Lakmini Senadheera – Head of Sustainability Assurance and Advisory Services, SFG, Subramaniam Eassuwaren – Deputy Chairman, Eswaran Brother Exports, and Upamali Perera, Eswaran Brother Exports.
Eswaran Brothers Exports, one of Sri Lanka’s premier tea suppliers for over five decades and the World’s first CarbonNeutral® certified tea company, have taken another giant leap in environmental responsibility and set the bar one step higher for other companies in the beverage industry.
With carbon neutrality already propelling its brand image and reputation for sustainability to new heights, the company took a step forward and has worked towards reducing the amount of plastic used in the processing of their ‘T-GO’ brand tea products. But determined to go beyond the “business as usual” scenario, the company partnered with The Carbon Consulting Company (CCC) and The Sustainable Future Group (SFG) to obtain Sri Lanka’s FIRST PlasticNeutral® Product Certification for its ‘T-GO’ product range.
Plastic neutrality is the concept of having a net zero plastic footprint by first reducing the amount of plastic utilised and then compensating for the unavoidable plastic utilised and/or produced with an equivalent amount of plastic that is extracted from or prevented from entering the natural environment. When companies cannot perform such activity under the stringent verification of an independent outside party, they can apply the concept of a “Plastic Credit” to carry out such a reduction. A “Plastic Credit” can be defined as a reduction/removal of one kilogram of plastic from the environment, and the credit can be attributed to the organisation compensating for its unavoidable plastic utilisation/production, which is responsible for funding the related activity. The PlasticNeutral® Certification is awarded if a credible, transparent and practical process is followed to offset plastic usage, as outlined in The PlasticNeutral® Guideline.
“Our goal has always been to set the benchmark in sustainability in our product category as well as our marketplace”, says Subramaniam Eassuwaren, Deputy Chairman of Eswaran Brother Exports. “We were the world’s first tea company to be certified CarbonNeutral®, and that bold step was an extension of the company’s overall position on its environmental responsibility. In today’s context, plastic has come to be the most visible, tangible and talked about aspect of environmental pollution by companies and products. We wanted to do everything we possibly could to not only reduce the amount of plastic we use, but to also be able to compensate in some way for the unavoidable plastic. The concept of plastic credits provides us with a practical and reliable mechanism to compensate for this plastic. We are thankful to both CCC and to SFG for providing us with an invaluable method to make our vision a reality, and are proud to launch Sri Lanka’s first PlasticNeutral® Product.”
In order for Eswaran Brothers to obtain the PlasticNeutral® Certification, The Carbon Consulting Company (CCC) – Sri Lanka’s foremost integrated sustainability solutions provider, analysed and comprehensively mapped out the plastic usage and wastage during the product’s life cycle and quantified its Plastic Footprint. Following targets to achieve net zero plastic waste for the selected product range, the company’s internal reduction measures were coupled with supporting an external plastic reduction programme. The programme is run by Eco Friends Sri Lanka, a company that collects and recycles plastics, and Plastic Credits were generated from these activities.
Leading sustainability verification and certification body and the regional partner of Natural Capital Partners of the UK, The Sustainable Future Group (SFG), carried out detailed independent verification of the audit conducted by CCC for the selected product as well as the Eco Friends’ Plastic Credit Generation Project to determine if the processes followed were transparent and accurate. Globally recognised standards and guidelines were adhered to in conducting this verification that included ISO 17422:2018, Global Recycled Standard V 4.0, The Ocean Works Certification Standard, and the ISO 14040:2006 Standard. Eswaran Brothers were subsequently awarded PlasticNeutral® Certification for its T-GO product range by SFG and becomes the FIRST company in Sri Lanka to achieve this significant distinction.
Sanith de S. Wijeyeratne – CEO of CCC, commented, “The PlasticNeutral® certification enables the generation of positive environmental, economic and social impacts with a direct link to the operations of a business. Corporates can use plastic credits to take stock of their actual plastic use in the production process and set realistic targets to reduce their plastic footprint over the years. In addition, a percentage of the funds go toward improving the standard of life for underprivileged communities involved in the Plastic Credit Project. This mechanism of measuring and tracking of the Plastic Footprint of a corporation or product provides numerous opportunities to manage the issue of plastic waste in a more sustainable manner. Undertaking such a study is a challenging exercise, but it can also deliver some great insights into opportunities to reduce plastic and waste overall.”