The Ecosystem Promise breaks new ground on ecosystem valuation
The Ecosystem Promise, launched in June 2012, is identified as one of the first publications for the general public on the financial value of nature. Conceptualised and edited by independent Dutch conservationist Meindert Brouwer, the first copy was handed over to Crown Prince Willem Alexander of the Netherlands. The Ecosystem Promise explains the value of ecosystems and the benefits of ecosystem services through the work of top scientists, conservationists, entrepreneurs as well as through the testimonials of locals involved in conservation efforts around the world. The innovative conservation efforts of Dilmah are featured in the Responsible Business section in an interview with Dilhan C. Fernando, son of Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando.
The Ecosystem Promise showcases how important it is to assign a financial value to nature as the services that nature offers are often taken for granted and abused due to the lack of valuation. It explores a new international trend of payments for ecosystem services (PES) which ensures that nature’s services are valued and paid for by those benefit from it.
In his interview, Dilhan C. Fernando explains the core values of Dilmah namely its Six Pillars on which the brand is based on. He explains that Integrity, Tradition, Quality, the Consumer, Ethics and Sustainability makes the Dilmah brand into what it is today. Speaking about Dilmah’s working principle that business should be a matter of human service, Dilhan explains that ‘caring for nature and the welfare of people are inextricably linked’. This is what has led to Dilmah giving back to the people and the environment ten per cent from its global sales through the efforts of the MJF Charitable Foundation and Dilmah Conservation. He explains that the efforts to make Dilmah sustainable includes an ongoing partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature – IUCN, minimising packaging material and transport, planting trees alongside tea plants, digitising operations, energy audits and the use of biodegradable teabag envelopes. Along with these basic initiatives, Dilhan explains that Dilmah Conservation has an ongoing bioremediation programme in Dilmah tea plantations to rejuvenate deteriorating soil conditions and minimise the input of fertilisers.
Answering a question regarding the reinvesting of ten per cent of the profits of Dilmah in humanitarian efforts and conservation, Dilhan explains that it is his father’s way of taking care of the people who should matter over mere profit making for shareholders. He further explains the benefits of the Small Entrepreneur Programme initiated in the aftermath of the 2004 Asian Tsunami which gave hope to devastated communities and became a tool in providing people with livelihood opportunities rather than charity alone.
The Ecosystem Promise is an inspiring publication which gives light to the efforts of individuals across the world and shows that investing in nature restoration pays off and that consumers and companies can become allies on the pathway to sustainability. The publication shows that restoring nature is possible in many places and that there is an opportunity for companies to invest in nature conservation and nature restoration.
Copies of The Ecosystem Promise are being presented to 250 decisionmakers in business and politics worldwide, according to the Editor in order to share the wealth of information generated through this publication. The Ecosystem Promise is due for distribution in seventy countries across the world.
Copies of the publication are available online at www.ecosystempromise.net