Talawakelle Tea Estates’ Great Western Estate secures ISO accreditation for environment and quality management
The Great Western Tea Estate of Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC (TTE), one of three companies within the plantation arm of Hayleys PLC, announced the successful completion of accreditation processes which secured ISO 14001:2015 certification with respect to the company’s Environmental Management System (EMS) in addition to ISO 9001:2015 certification for its Quality Management System (QMS) effective from March 2018.
The new certifications for TTE’s Great Western Estate represents the first time that an estate under management by Sri Lanka’s regional plantation companies has been able to secure ISO 14001:2015 certification.
Designed and developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the certifications are considered a vital prerequisite towards the development and implementation of robust EMS and QMS processes that are capable of meaningfully improving operational standards.
The tea fields on Great Western Estate are considered among Sri Lanka’s most innovative High Grown Tea estates, symbolizing a unique brand of exceptional teas that continue to set new local and international benchmarks in terms of tea prices, quality, and food safety, as well as social and environmental sustainability in the Sri Lankan plantation industry. With the collaboration of a human resource base of 7,469 people and a land extent of 6,491 hectares, the company produces approximately six million kilograms of black orthodox tea as well as green tea, annually.
“It is a true honour for us at Great Western Estates to receive ISO quality certifications. This stands as a testament to the tireless efforts of our team of employees and the estate management staff under the guidance of the company’s senior management working hand-in-hand to carry out the Eco-friendly and quality adhering culture of Hayleys Plantations.” Senior Deputy General Manager, Great Western Estate Kosala Wijesekara.
Previously, Great Western Estate broke its own all-time record price by setting another record of Rs. 1,850 per kilogram for BOP grade in the Western High Grown category at the Colombo Tea Auction held on 21 March, 2018 similarly, in 1998, the Great Western Tea Estate became the first tea factory ever to be awarded a JASTECA 5S award. It was also the first estate to achieve the HACCP certification in the industry back in 2001.
As a regional plantation company, TTE PLC pioneered the quality and food safety concepts in the tea industry, which were endorsed by Great Western as well as Kiruwanaganga, thus managed to achieve the first-ever ISO 22000:2005 Food Safety Certification among all food processing factories in the country back in 2006. All operational factories of the company are now ISO 22000:2005 FSMS certified, which is a credible achievement for the Sri Lankan tea industry. The quality of its tea is the key business driver and strategy that ensures its premium quality, which has set the benchmark within a competitive industry.
Meanwhile, TTE PLC has received many awards which emphasise its robust commitment to social and environmental good governance and sustainability. These awards include the National Presidential Green Awards, Gold Award for Environmental Sustainability in National Business Excellence Award of the National Chamber of Commerce, Highly Commended Integrated Annual Report in Asia Sustainability Reporting Award, Gold Award in the Plantation category at the Annual Report Awards by the Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, and many more.
Moreover, the company has since 2011 successfully implemented Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Programme – which is an internationally-recognised certification programme integrating the best social, environmental, and ethical management practices in daily operations. Also the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) and the UTZ Sustainable Tea Certification emphasise their continuous commitment to sustainable business practices.
The Plantations sector employs nearly 24,000 people, and supports a further extended community of 140,000 people. Hayleys owns and manages three plantation companies, Kelani Valley Plantations (KVPL), Talawakelle Tea Estates (TTEL) and Horana Plantations PLC (HPL) and manages 60 Tea & Rubber estates, spanning over 26,750 hectares of land and account for 3.8 percent and 3.4 percent of Sri Lanka’s tea and rubber production respectively.
Through concerted efforts to improve the social and economic standards of its 24,000 direct workforce and its 140,000 strong extended plantation community, Hayleys Plantations has worked to ensure that these communities are given a meaningful stake in the profitability of its plantation sector.