Merrill pledges fully Carbon neutral Dilmah by 2017View(s):
Sri Lanka-based global tea giant Dilmah recently committed to an annual US$ 1 million donation to the dual causes of nature conservation and community upliftment, according to the company’s founder Merrill J. Fernando.
Speaking at a two-day sustainability and conversation event, titled “Who Cares about Nature”, organised recently by the Dilmah Conservation organisation, Mr. Fernando also stated; “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 minimising our impact on the planet, fostering respect for the environment and ensuring its protection by encouraging
a harmonious coexistence of man and nature”.
In keeping with these assertions, Mr. Fernando also pledged to make the company he founded fully Carbon Neutral by 2017. The company already works according to “The Carbon Neutral plan for Dilmah”, based on a study done by Dr. Erandathi Lokupitiya (University of Colombo) and Jagath Vidanagama (National Cleaner Production Centre), which consists of comprehensive recommendations pertaining to production processes and other utilities, such as transportation, environment and energy management systems, as well as internal training and awareness programmes, energy and resource efficiency improvement, adding to renewable energy sources and the implementation of other alternatives reducing emissions.
Dilmah’s ongoing plan has also already resulted in a 100 kw solar unit being installed at the company’s Peliyagoda factory premises in February 2013, along with steps towards neutralising its carbon emissions through re-forestation projects, such as the Greening Batticaloa initiative wherein 100,000 cashew plants were planted with a further 50,000 plants to be planted this year. Following its success in the East, the project has been extended to Elephant Pass in the Jaffna Peninsula, where 25,000 plants will be distributed. In addition, Dilmah has an existing trial at the Pelmadulla Tea Estate, in which large sections of the tea crop are treated with the more ecologically friendly “Biochar”, which r
Meanwhile, the “Who Cares about Nature” event itself featured a number of presentations, including a presentation on “Man in the Natural Ecosystem” by Dr. Bill Jackson, Chief Executive, Parks Victoria, Australia, wherein he quoted Jim Leape, the Director General of WWF International in the 2012 Living Planet Report, who stated that “we are using 50 per cent more resources than the Earth can provide, and unless we change course that number will grow very fast – by 2030, even two planets will not be enough”. He added; “As a consequence, biodiversity in particular has been subject to grave losses both in terms of genetic diversity of species and the health of ecosystems, with 12 per cent of birds, 23 per cent of mammals and 41 per cent of amphibians being declared as threatened in the IUCN Red List and 60 per cent of ecosystem services worldwide have become degraded in the past 50 years as revealed in the grievous loss to forests globally and a five-fold increase in fishing since 1950 which has resulted in a serious depletion of marine life. Not only have these losses compounded climate change phenomena worldwide, they have indirectly influenced harmful impacts to human health, with a notable rise in malaria and other insect-borne diseases causes by drastic changes to land usage”.
Further, the event also comprised a panel discussion under the subject ‘Reconciliation through the Power of Nature’, which commented on the “importance of promoting and strengthening environmental and nature education. The distinguished panel was headed by
Udaya Gammanpila, Minister of Agriculture, Agrarian Development, Irrigation, Trade and Environment in the Western Provincial Council, Professor Sarath Kotagama, Head of the Department of Zoology, University of Colombo, K. Raja Ram, Committee Member of the Jaffna Peace Council and moderated by Dr. Jehan Perera, Executive Director at the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka”.
Additionally, also featured were a number of activities such as “cultural demonstrations by the indigenous Veddah, snake charming and fortunetelling led by representatives of the Ahikuntika community, a puppet show on dugong conservation, arts and crafts for children, the reading of popular environmental stories by Shanuki De Alwis and a wildlife photography workshop conducted by four of Sri Lanka’s most popular contemporary wildlife photographers, Namal Kamalgoda, Sarinda Unamboowe and Gehan Rajapakse”.
Ultimately, the event also spawned eight publications, namely; “Jaiva Vividhathwaye Sri Lankeeya Urumaya (Our Biological Heritage) – authored by a panel of scientists and compiled by Prof. Hiran Amasekara, Prof. Devaka Weerakoon and Dr. Siril Wijesundara; Sri Lanka’s Forests: Nature at Your Service – by a collection of 10 scientists and edited by Asoka De Silva, A Pictorial Guide to Udawalawe National Park – edited by Prof. Sarath Kotagama, Traditional Communities in Sri Lanka: The Ahikuntaka- by Nuwan Gankanda, Indigenous Communities in Sri Lanka: The Veddahs – by Nuwan Gankanda, An introduction to Common Spiders of Sri Lanka – authored by Ranil P. Nanayakkara, Recognising Deadly Venomous Snakes from Harmless Snakes of Sri Lanka – authored by L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe and a Field guide on Pest Management Strategies as Alternatives to Methyl Bromide in Sri Lanka – by Dr. H.M.R.K. Ekanayake and Prof. W.L. Sumathipala”.