Dipped Products Group
“A home grown sourcing initiative coupled with market sustainability and corporate social responsibility, aligned to empower small holder rubber farmers”
INTRODUCTIONDPL sources rubber latex – the main raw material in Sri Lanka. The major portion of this rubber is purchased from local middlemen who control the latex supply through smallholders. The middlemen indirectly exploit these smallholder farmers, who come from economically disadvantaged communities yet account for 65% of Sri Lanka’s national rubber crop.
To counter this situation and to secure reliable supply the company decided to take initiative to protect these smallholder farmers. A policy was undertaken to deal directly with these farmers and the resulting programme was branded as ‘Firstlight’.
Firstlight symbolizes the dawn of a new day; the best time for tapping rubber trees. Dawn is a symbol of birth and reawakening, bringing hope for happiness and improvement.
FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGYEncouraging the move towards ethically sourced and manufactured products, the company identified an opportunity of marketing such gloves. Several styles of natural rubber gloves are made in Sri Lanka by DPL for Traidcraft–UK’s leading Fair Trade organization. This has resulted in DPL giving the world its first Fair Trade rubber gloves.
All DPL’s own brand packaging supports Firstlight. The ethical gloves which include the Firstlight logo are marketed at a premium for every pair sold, which is contributed towards ‘Firstlight’ and channeled back to smallholder farmers to develop the Firstlight programme. Through this engagement with customers and buyers, the much needed funding is provided to sustain the project.
Firstlight makes it viable for small farmers to stay with rubber production. Smallholders account for 65% of Sri Lanka’s national rubber crop. Rubber accounts for 6% of Sri Lanka’s National GDP.Therefore, sustenance of small farmers is vital for continuity of the rubber finished products industry in Sri Lanka. Firstlight is also a Green initiative, as it helps sustain rubber lands, commonly regarded as man-made forest
ACHIEVEMENT AND IMPACTThe Firstlight initiative reflects DPL’s commitment towards business sustainability in which economic, environmental, and social factors are integrated so as to empower smallholder rubber farmers to achieve their full potential and make the transition to a brighter future.
Firstlight today has evolved into an exciting cause –related marketing programme that advances the concept of ethical or fair trade based production in the rubber industry, and engages all components of the value chain, from suppliers to buyers and end customers.
- Fair Price For Field Latex
- Educate And Empower To Maximize Income
- Implements / Input Material To Protect And Augment Crop
- Sustaining Of Rubber Properties And Preserving Forest Cover
- Community Capacity Building
FUTURE DIRECTIONDPL recognizes that corporate social responsibility projects undertaken need to offer synergies with business priorities. DPL will seek out opportunities such as the Firstlight initiative which gave the world its first Fair Trade rubber gloves.
Firstlight makes it viable for small farmers to stay with rubber production. Smallholders account for 65% of Sri Lanka’s national rubber crop. Rubber accounts for 6% of Sri Lanka’s National GDP.
Established in 1976, Dipped Products is one of the leading non-medical rubber glove manufacturers in the world, accounting for 5 percent share of the global glove market. DPL’s products now reach about 68 countries worldwide.