From left: Walkers Tours Manager Keerthi Ekanayake, JKH AVP Kishan Thomas, JKH AVP Vindya Cooray, CCC CEO Sanith de Silva, JKH VP/Walkers Tours CEO Nalaka Amaratunga, SFG Head of Sustainability Assurance and Advisory Services Lakmini Senadheera, SFG AM Sustainability Assurance and Advisory Services Sajeewa Ranasinghe, CCC AM Client Relationship Management Ruwanthi Halwala, Walkers Tours AM Yudesh Gunaratne, JKH VP Prabath Harshakumar, (Absent: JKH VP Nalika Abeysuriya)
Sri Lanka’s premier destination management company and a subsidiary of the country’s largest blue chip conglomerate, John Keells Holdings (JKH), Walkers Tours Ltd. celebrated yet another year of Carbon Neutrality.
History was made in 2012 when Walkers Tours’ core business element – their vehicle fleet – became the first in Asia to go CarbonNeutral, and to date, remains the only company in their sector in Sri Lanka to hold this status. This significant effort in environmental consciousness and the reduction of their operational impact on global emissions was recently recognised by the developer of The CarbonNeutral Protocol, Natural Capital Partners of the UK, who presented their long-standing global climate champions with special commemorative plaques.
The assessment was conducted by The Carbon Consulting Company (CCC), who has assisted and directed Walkers Tours from the beginning of their sustainability journey in managing and mitigating the operational emissions of their vehicle fleet. Walkers Tours’ certification was awarded by the Sustainable Future Group (SFG), Sri Lanka’s only accredited sustainability verification and certification body that is authorised to verify and validate Organisational and Project-level Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventories according to the official GHG Reporting ISO Standards, ISO 14064 Parts 1 and 2.
SFG is also the regional partner for Natural Capital Partners, who was recently recognised as the best carbon offset retailer in the world for a record ninth consecutive year. The certification process included an extensive analysis of the GHG emissions of the vehicle fleet, followed by the company supporting a Renewable Energy Project in return for internationally registered Carbon Credits to offset the fleet’s Carbon Footprint.
Walkers Tours CEO Nalaka Amaratunga stated, “Being carbon conscious in conducting its business operation has always being a core principle of Walkers Tours and since 2012 we have looked at ways of strengthening this further. In addition to expanding our fleet of hybrid vehicles and training our chauffeurs on industry best practices on sustainable driving, we are continuously looking at ways to ensure this concept is passed through our entire value chain and hence have now we have looked at ways of sharing knowledge and influencing our partners too to adopt these good practices. This would assist us in the future to provide a wholesome product in a carbon conscious manner and be proud of our responsible contribution to the environment at large.”
Having worked with over a hundred local and international corporates to develop solutions for sustainability issues that companies currently face, CCC is well aware of the challenging nature that sustainability certification poses for clients. Speaking on the occasion, CCC CEO Sanith de S. Wijeyeratne commented, “It gives us great pleasure to stand alongside Walkers Tours as they are recognised for this monumental environmental achievement. Not content on being the first in Asia to achieve this status they have remained the only internationally certified fleet of vehicles for period of seven years – thus earning them further global accolades. This recognition from Natural Capital Partners further cements their sustainability credentials, and we are proud to be their partner in this endeavour.”
Walkers Tours has regularly monitored and managed its fleet’s operational carbon footprint for the past seven years, demonstrating that becoming a sustainable business is at the epicentre of its values, long-term goals and business strategy. As a company that dedicates itself to contributing towards economic, ecological and social development in their region, they have focused on new product development in less-developed parts of the country. Equipped with ISO 9001 & 14001 certifications, Walkers Tours has also been recognised as one of the best performing ‘TourCert Check’ Companies and is a member of the ‘Responsible Tourism Partnership Sri Lanka’ initiative.