We are strong believers in living in harmony with nature and are committed to living a healthy, sustainable and simple lifestyle. Both environmental and social sustainability are therefore fundamental to everything we do as a business.
Climate change is the biggest challenge facing our world today and we are committed to play our part in addressing it. By the very nature of our community business, our products travel an incredibly short distance (often by foot!) from where the raw product is harvested to where it is processed and packaged. In this manner, vehicular transport of goods which is a major contributor to the carbon footprint is mitigated. When drying the raw product in our own dryers, no fossil fuel is burnt and very little electricity is consumed - used only to work the small fans.
Our packaging is designed to keep our food safe, fresh and ready to enjoy. Eco-friendly packaging is both necessary and at the same time, expensive. Despite the high cost, we shift this balance continuously in favour of biodegradable packaging. Our long-term goal is to promote zero waste packaging options whereby consumers bring their own reusable containers to fill.
From the family organic farm that inspired the development of Eko Land to our work with farmers, sustainable agriculture is at the heart of our operations. Our goal is to grow organic foods not only in our own land but also in the lands of the local farmers who work with us by paying them a premium for their produce.
We also promote forest conservation to ensure that nature is not harmed. It is essential to find opportunities to enhance the productivity of Sri Lanka’s existing agricultural land to ensure the protection of its precious forests and biodiversity. By providing a fair price for forest produce, we can give a financial incentive to protect the trees. We also run a separate non-profit organization called the Forest Healing Foundation, which supports local sustainable agriculture projects such as water management and works with farmers to plant additional fruit and spice trees in additional endemic forest trees.
A fair price
In 2019, the Financial Times reported that the coffee grower received 0.4% of the total price of a cup of coffee, and this is likely to be lower for smallholder farmers. Ensuring a fair price to the farmers for their produce is the only way to ensure sustainability. We work with our farmers via a variety of models to ensure they receive a fair price. For our spices and Jack fruit, we work closely with a farmer cooperative whose lands, together with our own, have been certified as organic. We aim to substantially increase their farm-gate price by bringing their produce directly to the consumer.
Jobs and training
One of the key goals of Eko Land is to provide employment for the local community. We provide additional income at all levels from harvesting, preparing, processing and packing to marketing and accounting.These additional incomes go a long way to support their families in this rural area. While we expect a high degree of efficiency from our staff members we also encourage them to be relaxed and to enjoy their work. Consequently, there is a real community spirit among our team and it is always great to see everyone laughing and joking as we work.
By providing training opportunities, we can help our community develop new skills or gain a higher income for their produce. We support our farmers to develop sustainable and organic production practices, as well as training local community members in new areas, such as product processing and packaging.