The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will be hosting its landmark global forum, the World Parks Congress, for sharing expertise and experience on the vital role of protected areas in conserving nature and delivering essential ecosystem services in Sydney in November 2014. Dilmah is honoured to be a part of this milestone international event focused on 'parks, people, planet: inspiring solutions' and share its pioneering efforts in conservation, sustainable development, and financially, ecologically and socially sustainable business solutions.
Businesses have a key responsibility towards the environment. Their role must involve actively working towards lowering their negative impacts on the natural environment, leading environment and climate related innovation, and embracing ecologically and socially sustainable business solutions.
Since its inception in 2007, Dilmah Conservation has engaged in promoting sustainable environmental and social development initiatives as part of Dilmah's vision to foster greater respect for the environment and ensure its protection by encouraging the harmonious coexistence of man and culture.
Dilmah's environmental initiatives are focused on strengthening education, engagement and partnership. This is in effort to raise awareness on the importance of conservation and the protection of nature and the environment, enhance public engagement with Sri Lanka's natural and cultural wealth and establish local partnerships with a view of contributing to environmentally-sustainable social development. These efforts are founded on the belief that learning to understand, appreciate and enjoy nature in central to enhancing positive engagement and a sense of shared responsibility towards the environment.
Highlights include support extended to the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home (ETH) care for rescued elephants. The ETH provides protection for orphaned or abandoned elephant calves who cannot survive in the wild alone, and are accorded special care and nourishment by a dedicated team of keepers who also offer them comfort and encouragement. All resident elephants are returned to the forests when they are old enough to care for themselves, and as such are raised with minimal human interaction.
Moreover, In a ground-breaking community-centred initiative aimed at enhancing the biodiversity of Sri Lanka's small forest areas, Dilmah Conservation has been working towards establishing a biological corridor forest areas in Sri Lanka's Ratanapura District. The Dilmah Bioregional Initiative is aimed at mitigating the damaging impacts of human activities to the natural environment and plant and animal forest habitats in particular, with a special focus on remedying the loss of biodiversity. In order to ensure greater sustainability and local empowerment, and foster broader environmental awareness and responsibility, Dilmah Conservation established a partnership with the local residents to ensure the Dilmah Biological Corridor is community-driven.
Dilmah Conservation has also focused particular attention to empowering Sri Lanka's indigenous Veddah Community whose lives, livelihoods and beliefs have been defined by their closeness to nature and the environment. Rapid social and environmental changes to Sri Lanka's landscape have deeply affected members of these communities who have relied on traditional subsistence cultivation, foraging and fishing. Dilmah Conservation is engaged in supporting the Veddah community establish sustainable crafts-based livelihoods drawing on their unique aesthetic traditions and play a central role in preserving by sharing the significance their distinctive traditional inheritance.
Enhancing Sri Lanka's ecological value through conservation-oriented programmes and preserving its natural and cultural heritage through community engagement has been central to Dilmah Conservation's success.