Press Release | The Centre Hosted Multi-Stakeholder ‘Towards a Family-Friendly Tea Industry’ Conference

Photo Credit: Save the Children Sri Lanka 


Colombo, 23rd November 2022: The Centre for Child Rights and Business in Sri Lanka (The Centre) hosted a conference yesterday, under the theme ‘Towards a Family-Friendly Tea Industry’. The one-day conference, supported by Save the Children’s Country Office in Sri Lanka, took place in Colombo and brought together child rights specialists, women trade union activists, government entities, regional plantation companies, tea exporters, and other stakeholders from the entire tea supply chain.

 

The conference provided a platform for stakeholders to share best practices and discuss how stakeholders in the tea industry could better collaborate to find solutions to existing and emerging challenges that plantation communities face. The six panel discussions covered various topics, namely ‘Food Security and Nutrition’, ‘Child Protection’, ‘Gender Equality and Justice’, ‘Impact of Climate Change’, ‘Access to Quality Education’ and ‘Adolescent and Youth Skills Development’. 


Photo Credit: Save the Children Sri Lanka 


Dr. Ines Kaempfer, CEO of The Centre, emphasised the importance of a family-friendly supply chain and its impact on businesses and communities. She states, “Children have the right to health, education, family, play and recreation, an adequate standard of living, and protection from abuse and harm. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all children. As such, businesses play an important role in either being a multiplying factor to child rights violations or an enabler of child rights.” Dr. Kaempfer further explained that this is why the private sector should invest in ensuring that their business operations and supply chains are family-friendly. 

 

Ahila Thillainathan, Country Director for The Centre in Sri Lanka said, “This conference is one of a series of initiatives that The Centre is facilitating towards multi-stakeholder engagement to promote child rights in businesses in Sri Lanka. We have invited the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) – London School of Economics to share their experience on developing a multi-dimensional equality framework for children in the hope that it would spark new ideas and contribute towards the ongoing discussions that the ‘Tea 2030 Roadmap’ strategy group, spearheaded by Ceylon Tea Traders Association, is currently having on the social and economic sustainability of the tea industry.”


Photo Credit: Save the Children Sri Lanka 


The conference built on the ‘Mother and Child Friendly Seal for Responsible Business’ launched by The Centre on 15th June 2022 earlier this year. The Seal Initiative supports business entities in undertaking a capacity self-assessment to: 1) better understand where they are currently at in terms of addressing potential risks to children in their own business operations, as well as that of their supply chain; 2) make meaningful investments that will strengthen and address prioritised areas; 3) collaborate with other stakeholders such as development agencies, civil society organisations, and government institutions to promote and protect women and children’s rights;  and 4) demonstrate the Sri Lankan tea industry’s progress in its transformation as a family-friendly tea supply chain.


Photo Credit: Save the Children Sri Lanka 


Dr. Roshan Rajadurai, Planters Association of Ceylon’s Media Spokesperson and Managing Director of Hayleys Plantations pointed out, “Women have been integral to the development of Sri Lanka’s tea industry for generations. In the context of the present economic crisis, it is vital that all stakeholders band together to protect these most vulnerable communities.” 


Julian Chellappah, National Director of Save the Children’s Country Office in Sri Lanka stated that, Save the Children has for over 8 years, worked to improve the lives of children living in tea estates by strengthening community-based child protection mechanisms and empowering children to advocate for their rights. To continue this work in a sustainable manner, Save the Children facilitated the establishment of The Centre for Child Rights and Business in Sri Lanka in 2022. He added, “We partnered with The Centre for Child Rights and Business in Sri Lanka with an aim to create the ‘Mother and Child Friendly Seal for Responsible Business’ to differentiate Sri Lankan tea in the marketplace. We are very proud of the way this work is being carried forward by The Centre, and we will continue to work with them as one of our strategic partners.”


About The Centre for Child Rights and Business

The Centre for Child Rights and Business supports companies to deliver improvements within their supply chains that benefit workers, families and children, and deliver positive business outcomes. Our mission is to improve the lives of children by working with companies to promote and respect children’s rights in all their operations, with a particular focus on supply chains in manufacturing, agricultural and raw materials settings. Throughout our work, we strive to create tangible and long-term impact that serves both children, parent workers and business.

 

About Save the Children

Save the Children is a global leader in development and humanitarian programming, working for over 100 years as the pre-eminent voice for children with governments, civil society and private sector partners in 120 countries worldwide. In Sri Lanka, Save the Children was established in 1974, at the request of the government, to assist in their efforts to address issues faced by children in the   country. The organization has been contributing to both humanitarian and development needs in Sri Lanka for 48 years. 

 

About The Planters’ Association of Ceylon

The Planters’ Association of Ceylon is the apex body of the plantation sector, representing 23 Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) to promote, foster and protect the plantation industry of Sri Lanka and the interests of the planting community. The RPC sector provides direct employment to a workforce of approximately 165,000 workers, out of a resident community that is in excess of 1 million. Apart from providing, healthcare, maternal care and custodial child care RPCs have constructed over 48,000 individual housing as well as water and sanitation facilities across its estates.

 

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To learn more about the Mother and Child-Friendly Seal for Responsible Business, please visit www.srilanka-motherandchildseal.org  

 

For further enquiries, please contact: info.SL@childrights-business.org



Published on 23/11/2022

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