Human prosperity need not cost the earth. Living sustainably is about doing more and better with less. It is about knowing that rising rates of natural resource use and the environmental impacts that occur are not a necessary by-product of economic growth. The theme of World Environment Day 2015 commemorated on June 5 – ‘Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care’ - underline that living within planetary boundaries is the most promising strategy for ensuring a healthy future.
Sustainable consumption had played and continues to play a major role in the businesses of the John Keells group. The different sectors of the group have taken varied and effective initiatives to enhance sustainable consumption within the group, which includes wise use of resources and minimization of waste and pollution.
The sustainability strategy of the transportation sector of the group has led to many sustainable initiatives including monitoring fuel consumption based on the route and vehicle usage analysed on a daily basis, while the sales routes are continuously restructured to ensure maximum efficiency.
While basing its sustainability strategy under the umbrella of the John Keells group Sustainability Policy, the leisure industry has also sought to bring its business units within a unified, holistic strategy under the ‘Cinnamon’ brand. All Sri Lankan Resorts of the Group continue to increase the use of recycled water for washrooms, gardening and washing purposes whilst Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo reuses its laundry steam for water heating which has resulted in a saving of 87,600 litres of furnace oil per annum.
Cinnamon Grand Colombo’s popular Banners to Bags (B2b) initiative has been held each year since 2009 in commemoration of the World Environment Day. In June 2014, the sale featured 170 exclusive bags made out of used flexi banners of the hotel. Cinnamon Grand is Asia’s first and world’s fourth company to embark on this unique recycling initiative. The bags are sewn by retired tailors who benefit from the income while sale proceeds are directed towards the Children’s Ward of the Maharagama Cancer Hospital. This innovative concept was was endorsed by Prof. Mohan Munasinghe, the Vice Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Co-Laureate, Nobel Peace Prize 2007 with Al Gore.
Of the John Keells Hotels in Maldives, Cinnamon Island Dhonveli has installed a multi-chopper in a bid to reduce the volume of waste sent to landfill at Thilafushi, while a bio gas digester is installed at Cinnamon Lagoon Hakuraa Huraa, reducing the air pollution and minimizing the amount of waste released to the environment.
The consumer foods and retail sector continues to procure a significant component of raw materials direct from local suppliers under its long-term Sustainable Sourcing Initiative, thereby facilitating fair prices and sustained livelihood and income generation for the rural farmers whilst ensuring safe and high quality products for the consumers. Ceylon Cold Stores procured ginger, cashew, vanilla, treacle and kithul jiggery amounting to Rs.166 million from local suppliers located in various parts of the country in the financial year 2014/15 while Keells Food Products procured vegetables and spices as well as other meat products totalling to Rs.809 million from local farmers and suppliers during the same period. JayKay Marketing Services, which operates Keells supermarkets, procured Rs.458 million worth of fresh fruit and vegetables from farmers in proximity to its collection centres in Suriyawewa, Thambuththegama, Nuwara Eliya and Jaffna in 2014/15, whilst it also currently works with 10 organic produce farmers, purchasing 2,000 kg of organic produce.
Ceylon Cold Stores also initiated the use of renewable energy sources to reduce furnace oil and diesel consumption through the installation of a five ton per hour biomass boiler which replaced two furnace oil fired boilers in the ice cream and soft drink factories. This resulted in a saving of 650,000 litres of furnace oil amounting to an annual saving of Rs.54 million and a carbon footprint saving of approximately 1,700 MT.
The information technology sector of the group monitors and manages its energy usage, carbon footprint and waste generation whilst encouraging the engagement of third parties to dispose of its electronic waste by reusing and recycling wherever possible. Both John Keells Computer Services (JKCS) and InfoMate (Pvt) Ltd implemented a heat insulation project which insulated windows to improve air conditioning efficiency. As a result, energy consumption was reduced by 99,000 kWh per annum, realizing a saving of Rs.3.8 million.