Planting 4000 trees - Bernard Botejue joins hands with ReForest Sri Lanka for a greener tomorrow

A large scale environmental project was witnessed in Ratnapura recently, spearheaded by the oldest apparel manufacturing company in Sri Lanka. Implemented under its key annual CSR initiative, Bernard Botejue Industries (Pvt.) Ltd. joined hands with ReForest Sri Lanka to successfully reforest 7 acres of land in Ratnapura. The timely initiative was of great significance as it was recorded as the largest single-day reforestation project that has taken place in the history of Sri Lanka with the planting of 4,000 trees. The event was held with the participation of a large number of volunteers including the employees and staff of Bernard Botejue, members of ReForest Sri Lanka as well as the residents of the area.

Forests are rapidly dwindling due to various reasons including climate change, global warming and human interventions. A considerable number of bush fires were reported towards the end of 2016, and the situation continued in early 2017 destroying acres of land in forest reserves like Knuckles, Bibile and Moneragala. Bush fires not only destroy primeval trees, wildlife, and eco-systems, but also have a drastic impact on the climate and dry up water sources and springs, which in turn causes water scarcity throughout the island.

Mr. Janaka Botejue - environmental enthusiast and chairman of Bernard Botejue Industries, expressing his views over this momentous project said, “We began this reforestation initiative last year by distributing 850 samplings to all the workers of Bernard Botejue Kolonna and the residents of the area to be planted as a part of the factory’s anniversary celebration. Following the success of the project, we wanted to continue the reforestation initiative in a larger scale this year. Unlike projects that give instant results, this initiative will be different as it contributes to the bigger picture of the deteriorating environment we live in. The thousands of trees we planted today will not only purify the air and enrich the soil, but also help the country immensely to restore its receding forest coverage and refill water springs in the long run. I would like to take this opportunity to thank ReForest Sri Lanka for the invaluable support they have extended to us throughout this initiative. This is only the beginning, we hope to conduct similar initiatives in the future and empower our communities further through better environmental standards.”

Bernard Botejue Industries (Pvt.) Ltd. was established by Mr. Bernard Botejue back in 1948. The company, which started with one knitting machine, three sewing machines and 6 employees including the founder himself, is today the oldest apparel manufacturers in Sri Lanka. Growing from its humble beginnings, Bernard Botejue today has diversified its business making strong foot prints in scores of industries and sectors including apparel manufacturing, luxury travel, and state of the art music studios. Furthermore, they also offer promotional T-shirts in addition to facilitating a versatile Business park providing ample parking for metropolis with high end retail shops.

The tree planting Project of Bernard Botejue Kolonna in collaboration with ReForest Sri Lanka took place under the guidance and purview of Mr. S.M. Samarasinghe, the Divisional Secretary of Kolonna. The 4000 trees were planted across seven acres of land in Galkadagoda, Koppakanda, Kolonna in Ratnapura District. Sharing his views on the collaborative efforts of reforestation, Initiator and Partner of ReForest Sri Lanka Mr. Achela Meddegama said, “It’s a great privilege to partner with Bernard Botejue Kolonna, a company that has been well known for generations in the apparel industry. Their strong enthusiasm and focus on environmental protection which has led them to choose a CSR project of this nature is highly commendable. Considering the radical changes in the climate and the prolonged drought seasons, such initiatives are critical in the country and we hope this would set an example and create a ripple effect in spreading the message throughout the country.”

ReForest Sri Lanka is a non-profit society committed towards expanding the forest coverage in Sri Lanka. Initiated by a group of students pursuing MBA in IT – 2015 batch of the University of Moratuwa, the society builds awareness among the masses on environmental protection and consequences of deforestation.

Distribution of 840 mango plants

Bernard Botejue Kolonna distributed 840 mango plants on the 18th of May 2016 to all employees and the people of the town to kick start their Reforestation program in order to create a greener Sri Lanka.

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