The Founder of Dilmah, Mr Merrill J. Fernando and IUCN Sri Lanka Country Representative Dr. Ranjith Mahindapala formalised on 11 February 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding which would unite Dilmah Conservation and IUCN in a series of projects designed to promote biodiversity conservation and conservation and sustainable development.
Dilmah first entered into a partnership with IUCN in 2004, in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami which devastated most of Sri Lanka’s coastal areas. Together with Mr Merrill J. Fernando’s MJF Charitable Foundation, the Union saw the restoration of livelihoods, emergency medical, nutrition and other forms of assistance as well as a long term commitment to supporting the differently-abled, especially children.
IUCN in Sri Lanka seeks to engage the business sector in working towards a sustainable economy in which the private sector and the conservation community are committed and form effective partnerships.
Dilmah is a family tea company founded on the philosophy that business is a matter of human service. The Dilmah Founder’s pledge to share the success of his brand Dilmah with the underprivileged, is fulfilled by the charitable foundation that bears his name – the MJF Foundation.
The Dilmah commitment to humanitarian service was extended in 2007 with the formation of Dilmah Conservation, with the involvement of IUCN. The rationale for this development was that humanitarian service and the welfare of underprivileged communities are inextricably linked with the state of their environment. Dilmah Conservation was established with specific alignment towards promoting biodiversity, species and habitat protection as well as promoting sustainable human interaction with the environment.
IUCN and Dilmah Conservation envisage a series of programmes under the Memorandum of Understanding. These will encompass the promotion of biodiversity, cultivation of medicinal plants, assisting isolated, remote and marginalized communities in adopting sustainable practices including rainwater harvesting, home gardening and waste recycling. The partnership also aims to address issues of resource utilization and conservation by establishing centres for the demonstration of sustainable agricultural practice.