Is there a business case for worker empowerment? New evidence suggests the answer is yes. Twenty-three tea estates partnering with CARE International Sri Lanka have successfully implemented Community Development Forums, which are ‘mini-parliaments’ that facilitate dialogue between workers, management and the broader community. The model opens up new channels of communication between stakeholders across the plantation region, serving as a forum where collective decisions about community development priorities and labour conditions are negotiated and decided in a transparent way.
An independent assessment by the New Economics Foundation showed that that there was a 1:26 return on investment for estates, plus additional gains for workers and the community.