Dilmah Conservation was initiated in 2007 to incorporate environmental and wildlife conservation efforts into the work of the MJF Charitable Foundation, which primarily focuses on social justice.
The philosophy of ‘Business as a Matter of Human Service’ underpinned by the six pillars of Quality, Tradition, Our Customer, Ethics, Integrity and Sustainability is central to Dilmah’s enterprise. Dilmah Conservation firmly believes in the importance of making a conscious effort to uphold these six pillars to both society and the environment through its work.
Following its inception, Dilmah Conservation has worked towards promoting the sustainable use of the environment in partnership with other organisations including the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL), the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS) and a number of professional and academic institutions including several local universities. This work has been categorised into four focal areas which are sustainability, biodiversity, heritage and communications.
With the 2010 Declaration of a Core Commitment to Sustainability (below), Dilmah further reaffirmed its commitment to sustainable initiatives with environmental protection at its core. This was followed through by the projects launched by Dilmah Conservation which revolved around the creation of reconciliation programmes by using nature as a catalyst, introduction to sustainable initiatives in the spheres of agriculture and the implementation of programmes on the protection of species habitat and biodiversity through public service announcements and other media.
Dilmah owes its success to the quality of Ceylon Tea. Our business was founded, therefore, on an enduring connection to the land and the communities in which we operate. We have pioneered a comprehensive commitment to minimizing our impact on the planet, fostering respect for the environment and ensuring its protection by encouraging a harmonious coexistence of man and nature. We believe that conservation is ultimately about people and the future of the human race, that efforts in conservation have been associated with human well-being and poverty reduction outcomes. These core values allow us to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations of sustainability.
The continuous use of fertilisers has rendered soil and waterways within many tea plantations unproductive. In order to address this situation, bioremediation is carried out on selected sites. The success of the programme is measured with water quality tests. The data, once collated can be applied as a tool for determining and predicting water quality in other locations.
The Thondaimannaru Field Research Station, an important centre of scientific learning, was vested on its custodians – the Field Works Centre (FWC) and Jaffna’s scientific community by Dilmah Conservation. It is an initiative of the ‘Reconciliation through Power of Nature’ programme. This is the first centre of scientific learning to be rebuilt post conflict in the Northern Province.
A programme initiated to document and preserve disappearing cultures of indigenous and traditional communities in Sri Lanka. As a result, two important publications, on Sri Lanka’s Veddah and Ahikuntaka (gypsy) communities - Indigenous Communities in SriLanka: The Veddahs and Traditional Communities in Sri Lanka: The Ahikuntaka were produced and are being widely circulated.
The largest privately held solar power generating plant in the country was established in 2013 at the Dilmah Office in Peliyagoda. The 417 panel solar array has a power generation capacity of 100 kW and is functioning above its expected power generation capacity. The solar array was established as part of Dilmah’s core commitment to sustainability.
The Dilmah Conservation Butterfly Garden located inside the MJF Centre Moratuwa, is home to over 50 species of butterflies, some of them endemic. This model garden in an urban environment is now being replicated in other locations to offer a safe haven for butterflies, whose natural life cycles are threatened by a loss of habitat and host plants.
Dilmah Conservation launched the Sri Lanka Business & Biodiversity Platform in partnership with IUCN Sri Lanka and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The Platform aims to foster dialogue between the private sector and conservation agencies and ensure long-term sustainability of private sector projects and minimise environmental damage caused as a result.
Our efforts to support the conservation of Sri Lanka’s finite biodiversity resulted in the discovery of nine amphibian species from two diverse locations in the country. These discoveries are a positive indicator of the country’s species diversity and Dilmah Conservation works closely with the Herpetological Foundation of Sri Lanka to facilitate novel species identification.
Sri Lanka is blessed with pristine beaches while the sea is home to a diverse range of species. Both natural and man-made causes are affecting the well-being of these habitats and Dilmah Conservation is carrying out species diversity assessments, information sharing and working with relevant local and national institutions to ensure conservation of these habitats.
Dilmah Conservation is implementing the UN memorandum on Dugong Conservation to protect this globally threatened species identified as one of the critically endangered marine mammals in Sri Lanka. An information dissemination campaign targeting school children and fisher communities in Sri Lanka’s North, where this species was once found abundantly, is carried out along with surveys and information gathering.
Tea estates are identified as semi natural areas, harbouring various fauna and flora. In an effort to conserve the finite biodiversity that exists within these areas, Dilmah Conservation launched the first connectivity conservation initiative undertaken by a private tea company in Sri Lanka, and will play a major role in Sri Lanka’s efforts to conserve its biodiversity.
The Dilmah Conservation Sustainable Agriculture Research Centre – DCSARC was established at the MJF Centre Moratuwa to carry out research on high yield crops, grow pesticide free vegetables and provide training on sustainable agriculture. Visitors are shown how to set up vertical agriculture models in limited spaces using discarded items and utilising kitchen waste to create organic fertiliser.
Human – elephant conflict has led to the dwindling of the Asian Elephant population in Sri Lanka. In an effort to conserve this majestic species, Dilmah Conservation is supporting the Elephant Transit Home for baby orphaned Elephants and the Elephant Information Centre, both situated next to the Udawalawe National Park in Southeast Sri Lanka.