This tea company thinks globally and acts locally
First published in: Herbal-teas Blog
I have recently so much enjoyed my Dilmah tea that I started reading the box details. Although I did have other things to do, I was attracted to the claim that: “Dilmah is the world’s first truly ethical tea”, a strong claim to make. I went investigating (as one does when you sit down with a brew).
By the end of my investigation I chose to become a website ‘Fan’ of Dilmah tea and I have a trip to the Sri Lankan Dilmah tea factory and one of its amazing local initiatives on my Bucket List.
So what drew me to take that action? Here are some of the things I found out about Dilmah, along with links for you to go see for yourself.
Social responsibility to share profits
The Dilmah Tea Company is based in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon. It uses only tea grown in Sri Lanka, and is NOT a blend. Unlike major tea monopolies, which purchase tea from anywhere at the cheapest price, the Dilmah company produces, packages and sells directly to supermarket chains in order to keep the profits in Sri Lanka.
“By supplying direct, profits are retained in Sri Lanka and are shared with workers, (and) the wider community.” (Quote from the packaging material) So where is the proof? First stop the M. J. F. Foundation ()
“The MJF Charitable Foundation was established by Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando, to fulfill his commitment to make his family business a matter of human service.”
Social responsibility to economic development
As well as the Foundation, Dilmah contributes to local environmental causes. On the Dilmah Conservation website they spell this out very clearly: http://www.dilmahconservation.org/
“In Sri Lanka, the private sector is the engine of growth. The combination of sustaining high economic growth rates and improving the lives of marginalised communities whilst not compromising on environmental conservation and restoration is one of the biggest challenges facing the country and the Asia region as a whole.” (Quote from the Dilmah Conservation’s Business @ Biodiversity Platform)
The company has initiated setting up Conservation’s Business @ Biodiversity Platform. This organisation focuses on conservation and environmental concerns like:
- Ecosystems Restoration
- Culture & Indigenous Communities
- Environmental Education & Awareness
- Inland Species conservation – elephants, butterflies and frogs
- Marine Species Conservation
“The demand for resource-intensive agricultural produce is rapidly increasing in Sri Lanka. The Dilmah Conservation Sustainable Agriculture Research Centre promotes healthy living by producing healthy vegetables and fruit using only organic composting techniques and zero application of agro chemicals.” The focus is on providing fruit and vegetables off a typical family-owned piece of land in a sustainable way.
Peace and healing responsibility
By far the greatest humanitarian intention of the Dilmah MJF Charitable Foundation is its work to unify the communities of the North and East that were so affected by the civil war with the Tamil Tigers trying to over-throw the government. The war caused significant hardships for the population, environment and the economy of the country, with an estimated 80,000–100,000 people killed.
The aftermath, as in all civil wars, has left people with disabilities, under-currents of anger and feelings of disempowerment. The Charitable Foundation, however, tackles this in practical ways, engaging the communities in initiatives that improve their daily lives.
“Reconciliation has been identified as an important factor in the quest for lasting peace in Sri Lanka. Coming out of a protracted three-decade long war, reconciliation between communities is of paramount interest in the face of rifts and misunderstandings. Dilmah Conservation, having recognised this need for reconciliation among the younger generations, initiated an environmental programme to build a common Sri Lankan identity.”
Spread the word for others to follow
Go see for yourself and become a ‘Fan’ too. In my mind, the company truly deserves to be applauded for its forward social, ethical and environmental forward thinking. Bravo! May other Western companies take a lead from Dilmah.