Title: Environmental and social sustainability of the tea industry in the wake of global market challenges: a case study in Sri Lanka

Authors: S. Kamalakkannan; A.K. Kulatunga; N.C. Kassel

Addresses: Department of Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka ' Department of Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka ' Department of Production and Process Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany

Abstract: The tea industry is one of the main export earners of Sri Lanka with over 150 years of history. It faces severe threats to sustainability due to contamination issues, low productivity, yield drop, climate changes, labour shortage, internal migration of workforce etc. This study focuses on examining the environmental and social impacts of Sri Lankan tea processing industry to withstand global market challenges. The environmental impacts of tea processing were analysed using life cycle assessment techniques, while social impacts were evaluated by UNEP framework on social life cycle assessment. The fieldwork was carried out in one of the tea plantation companies located at multiple areas, within and external to the tea processing needs improvements in terms of environmental and social sustainability. Furthermore, the selected plantation company is lagging behind environmental sustainability when compared to the reference factory of Tea Research Institute Sri Lanka. Recommendations are provided to mitigate environmental and social hotspots identified in the study.

Keywords: life cycle assessment; LCA; environmental sustainability; social sustainability; sustainable manufacturing; environmental impact.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSM.2020.10028814

International Journal of Sustainable Manufacturing, 2020 Vol.4 No.2/3/4, pp.379 - 395

Received: 01 Mar 2019
Accepted: 28 Jun 2019

Published online: 23 Apr 2020 *

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