• Sustainability

Managing Human Elephant Conflict in Buttala Divisional Secretariat - Konketiya Village

Sri Lanka truly is “A land of Elephants”.

With almost 6,000 wild elephants roaming the island, Sri Lankan lives and culture are intertwined with elephants and we have always loved and adored them.

But recent developments have neither benefited humans nor elephants. The Human Elephant Conflict has escalated so drastically and quickly in the recent past that both parties have suffered immensely.

Elephants in major sub-ecosystems such as Wasgamuwa, Yala & Wilpattu have reacted in astonishingly different ways to strategies implemented against them by humans. Their problem-solving skills include being able to use tools to overcome the obstacles that are placed in their way.

The unfortunate truth about the majority of projects is that they are implemented with only human well-being in mind and with no consideration or empathy for the elephants. Some are even implemented with vested political and commercial interests at heart. Although it’s painfully obvious, habitats for elephants haven't been a focus of many HEC management approaches in the country.

Short term solutions have cost enormous amounts of public money, lives, crops and time with little to no results. To put some of the spending in perspective, 450 million rupees (USD 228,350) is invested annually in managing the HEC in the Buttala area only. However, as mentioned before, this expenditure hasn’t yielded the expected results. Yet, despite that colossal spend in that area, 14 human deaths and 3 elephant deaths have been recorded since 2019 in the Buttala Divisional Secretariat.

We want to work on the wellbeing of Humans, Elephants & Habitats concurrently and deliver a long-lasting solution. We also aim to approach projects with community participation where people take the ownership of the projects and their actions.

Our latest project is in the Buttala Divisional Secretariat - Konketiya Village and we have collaborated with “All for Nature” in the Netherlands and “Sri Lanka Wilderness Foundation” to see this through.

Currently we have shortlisted the Elephant Trench & Concreting method, mostly because of the strong disappointment expressed by the community and the area officials towards previously implemented methods. They have tried them all and failed. However, we are still researching alternative methods and getting consultations from experts. 

The project report is given below and we look forward to your comments and feedback. 

Read the project proposal

Project team - 

Nishanthi Kulathunga - Manager - FTO - ET
Yasantha Kuruwita Arachchi - Assistant Manager - Business Development - ET
Migara Perera - Assistant Manager - Sustainability - ET
Chaminda Attanayake - Assistant Wildlife Officer - DWC


We are a local organization with a global focus that facilitate world class tourism experiences and wilderness accommodation that are socially and environmentally responsible, that embraces our motto to provide innovative and passionate service to our customers in a manner that is financially rewarding for our employees and stakeholder.


Sustainability Policy

1. Our Mission towards Social and Environmental Sustainability

We are a local organization with a global focus that facilitate world class tourism experiences and wilderness accommodation that are socially and environmentally responsible, that embraces our motto to provide innovative and passionate service to our customers in a manner that is financially rewarding for our employees and stakeholder.


2. Sustaining People

Our Objective is to provide a sustainable working environment by making their work exciting, safe and progressive, in a physically and spiritually enhanced work environment that provides flexibility, autonomy with respect to one another including diversity and equality.



Talent Acquisition and Management work role

We aim at getting the best suited candidate from the available human resource pool. This is done through comprehensive interviewing process and clear job roles.

Identifying the knowledge and skills of staff members and using such understanding to provide the best suited job role is primary. The basis for recruitment, hiring, placement, training, compensation and career advancements are considered as the key attributes to making this process successful.

Orient each new staff member or a staff member who takes up a new role by way of written and oral guidance. We aim to provide the shortest and a comprehensive path to achieving this.

Gender Balance and Equity

We provide equal opportunities irrespective of gender. We aim for greater gender balance in our company at all management and non-management levels.  Our recruitment process including communication is aligned for gender equity.

Staff growth and  turnover

We strive hard to break the glass ceiling by providing support for mothers and women. We aim to create a supportive culture that is respected by peers.

Although we appreciate people moving for better opportunities, we strive towards retaining members of our team who will grow with the company

Work place safety

We Provide an environment where work-related health and safety risks are controlled to prevent injuries and occupational ill health.

workplaces that are free from discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, sex, color, nationality or social origin, religion, age, less-/disability , political opinion or any other status protected by applicable law.

A primary goal of a workplace safety policy is to establish the expectation that it is the responsibility of all personnel to create and maintain a safe work environment.

Working environment

Physical and other

Equality of Status

creating workplaces in which opens  honest communications

among all employees. Such interactions and openness is valued and respected.

We do not discriminate  employee due to  age,  gender, being less able, other health drawbacks, gender or gender reassignment, sex or sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status; family status including pregnancy, maternity, paternity or other career status; race including ethnic origin, nationality or color; religious, political or other beliefs, full-time or part-time status etc.

We employ those who are at the legally accepted age level in the country.  We strive to support people from the community by providing employment when the opportunity arises

Maintain discipline of employees

We inculcate a culture that enhances respect  and discipline ( Self and collective)

Internal communication

We conduct internal communication amongst ourselves in an open and transparent manner.

Grievances and Issues

We address and aim to resolve grievances and concerns of our members of staff in a mutually beneficial manner.



 3. Sustaining Communities ( local)

Local community  involvement

We trust in involving the local communities and conducting our business in a manner that creates sustainable livelihood for the local communities. Such efforts include purchasing for our consumption, educating and providing resources as and when the opportunity arises for their betterment.


We promote activities that  offer our guests means of contributing to the neighboring community

We provide opportunities for employment for the local communities when suitable opportunities are available

Assisting the Community

We encourage employees to volunteer their time to contribute to the community and to enhance their own skills and experience.

4. Sustainable Supply chain

We believe in facilitating our supply chain in a sustainable manner by selecting supply/ suppliers/ partners who conduct business in a responsible manner. And that they abide by the aspects that are respected by Eco Team.




Forced Labour

Suppliers shall employ all employees of their own free will with no employee being subject to forced or bonded labor.

Child labour

Suppliers shall not employee people under the minimum legal working age (18 years)

Sexual exploitation of children

Supplier shall take adequate measures to prevent sexual exploitation of children.

Anti -Corruption

Suppliers shall engage in fair business practices, avoid corruption including bribery and extortion, and comply with applicable laws and regulations.

Safe and healthy Working Environments

Suppliers shall work to provide employees with safe and healthy working environments

Suitable Remuneration

Suppliers shall pay employees at least the statutory minimum wage and shall not unreasonably reduce wages.

Abuse and Harassment

Suppliers shall ensure that employees' working hours and use of leave entitlements are appropriately monitored so as not to infringe upon any statutory regulations.


Suppliers should work to protect the environment and will consider the environmental impact of their business activities on local communities and ecosystems.

Information Disclosure

Suppliers shall disclose information with respect to the aforementioned matters in a timely and appropriate manner.


5. Environmental Sustainability

Our core business is based on environmental sustainability. As such preserving the nature in its purest form is one of our main missions. We conduct our business demonstrating good stewardship in preserving the natural environment by adopting and following practices that benefit the environment and our customers. Part of our effort is to educate our customers so that they in turn become spokes people for preserving the natural environment.

5.1 Natural Environment





Natural Habitat

In conducting our day to day activities we focus on preserving the natural habitat of the natural environment. This includes fauna and flora

Given every single opportunity we get we aim to do something extra to preserve the natural environment

Each of our staff member is provided a orientation with  our role in providing a sustainable natural environment.

Education of staff

Our recruitment policy is designed to attract those who are passionate about the natural environment as it is the heart of our business

Educating our customers

We take every possible opportunity in educating our customers and making sure that they contribute to the preservation of the natural environment.

Use of non-biodegradable items

In our endeavor to conduct a business that is environmentally sustainable, we strive to limit our use of non-biodegradable items for both our own consumption and for our customers.

Waste Management

We strive to  use the best possible methods that are environmentally friendly in managing our waste,

5.2 Water 



Drinking water.

Our focus is to provide our customers and our employees’ water that is safe for consumption. In doing so we adopt methods that limit wastage of drinking water.

Water usage

We adopt measurements and mechanism to monitor the effective use of water in providing services to our customers as well as

Waste water management

We strive to find the best available methods in managing waste water in providing services to our customers.




Continuous improvement in energy-related performance

We seek to achieve continuous improvement in energy-related performance. In so doing, compliance with statutory requirements is assumed to be the minimum standard. We aim to have carbon neutrality in providing accommodation

Energy monitoring and audit

We monitor and measure our consumption of energy in order to minimize and reduce wastage and have optimal use of the energy sources

Energy consumption is constantly measured and monitored. Important energy aspects are regularly recorded, verified and communicated

Sustainable energy

We strive to use sustainable energy where and when possible


The active involvement of all employees is necessary for implementation of the energy policy. Employees are provided with comprehensive information, notified of energy-related issues and integrated into the energy management program.

Our Customers

Our customers are informed regularly about energy aspects, energy consumption and the energy management programmes..


In conjunction with the energy objectives, emission targets are also defined for our accommodation related products. Emissions are constantly reduced through improved energy efficiency and a steadily higher proportion of renewable in the energy mix.

6. Our Customers 




We aim to provide experiences to our customers that are sustainable and created in a socially and environmentally sustainable environment.


We strive to provide physical and non-physical environment that is safe, respectful that respects diversity and non-discrimination for our customers.

We welcome customers of any ethnicity, age, gender, gender and sexual orientation.

We maintain high degree of confidentiality and privacy for our customers


We take every single opportunity to create a learning and educational environment with regard to social and environmental sustainability for our guests. We believe such effort is fruitful in reciprocation.



Why we do not promote following attractions

You may find that we have not included certain common tourist attractions that are generally found in other programme designs; namely, the turtle hatcheries on the southern coast, the Pinnawala elephant orphanage, the Habarana elephant rides and the Bullock Cart Trail. These are not included due to conservation and ethical reasons.


Turtle Hatcheries

We do not encourage our visitors to patronize the turtle hatcheries as this concept has serious negative aspects in terms of conservation. We encourage visitors to observe turtles in their natural habitats. For further information check the link below. 
More Information

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

We do not encourage our clients to visit the above either. We do not agree with the concept of how the establishment is run. We are happy to see that even the Born Free Foundation has now taken a similar stand. 

Elephant back rides – Habarana
We have concerns about the way this is being done. However, there may be a few ethical operators but in general, we do not agree with the “working hours”, how they give rest to the animals, trails they use etc.

Traditional village tour with a canoe trip and bullock carts – Habarana
This is an extremely commercialized touristic operation where a lot is “staged”. We encourage the visitors to have less touristic experiences and instead experience the real Sri Lanka.



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Hotline : (+94) 70 222 8 222
Office Address : 20/63, Fairfield Garden, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka


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