What does Dilmah do for the environment?

The Ethical Tea Society

Dilmah places great emphasis on the environment. The MJF Charitable Foundation is a partner organization with IUCN (International Union of Conservation of Nature) Ref. IUCN website.

Dilmah’s Conservation efforts were created within the framework of its Social Justice Commitment (“business is a matter of human service”). Dilmah Conservation http://dilmahconservation.org/ complements the activities of the MJF Charitable Foundation by focusing on environmental issues. The Conservation projects support and protect endangered plants and animals in Sri Lanka and abroad. Dilmah’s efforts are designed to help compensates for the environmental footprint left by its tea monoculture.

Dilmah is currently involved with a range of environmental schemes including:

The Ethical Tea Society
  • At the elephant transit home in Uda Walawe, Sri Lanka, Dilmah Conservation and the Department of Wild Life Conservation is upgrading the existing elephant orphanage into an Elephant Breeding Centre. The work will include the provision of medical and other elephant care facilities and a visitor centre, aimed at educating the general public and tourists on the role elephants play in Sri Lanka’s culture.

  • A 200 ha Aroboretum in partnership with IUCN (the World Conservation Union) in the Moneragala district of Sri Lanka, to showcase the ecological integrity of the area whilst also serving as a biodiversity and ecological research station for both local and international research personnel.

  • Building, equipping and staffing an Ayurvedic hospital where underprivileged people will receive free treatment. This project will extend to cultivating Ayurvedic herbs on non-productive areas of tea estates.

  • Educating fishermen about the importance of responsible fishing (through the MJF Foundation’s Pallansena project)

Does Dilmah use pesticides?

The Ethical Tea Society

In a humid tropical country a limited use of pesticides is essential to prevent diseases that can affect the tea leaf. The Tea Industry in Sri Lanka is the best regulated in the world and the Tea Research Institute is a pre-eminent research and monitoring body. Strict controls are placed on permitted pesticides and fertilizer; and teas are strictly monitored up to the point of export by the Sri Lankan Tea Board and Dilmah’s laboratories. Sri Lanka is proud that its teas have been considered the “cleanest teas in the world” by the International Tea Council. Ceylon tea’s reputation is jealously guarded.

The most stringent standard for pesticides and fertilizer residues are in Japan and Dilmah tea meets this requirement. Japan is one of the largest markets for Dilmah tea.

Why isn’t all your tea organic?

The Ethical Tea Society

Dilmah recognizes the popularity of organic produce and the preferences of a core of consumers. As a consequence it has developed a range of organic teas for the UK that are certified by the Swiss IMO organization.

Organic production is more than merely avoiding fertilizer usage; it is a holistic approach to agriculture that emphasizes sustainability. Until recently, organic tea was uncommon, as the misuse of fertilizers on other crops didn’t apply to tea. Organic tea production in Sri Lanka is less than 0.5% of total production.

With organic products in vogue now, it’s difficult to see how the original intentions of the organic movement could be met in terms of holistic, sustainable farming when it becomes so widespread and commercialized.

The Ethical Tea Society

Ceylon tea is renowned for its exquisite flavour. Without the requisite limited applications of fertilizer which provides essential nutrients, the tea bush does not fully develop and the end result is a tea that does not fully meet the usual characteristics of Ceylon tea. It is therefore not possible to produce an organic tea that has all the classical hallmarks of flavorful, bright Ceylon teas.

Ceylon tea does retain, however, a reputation as the “cleanest in the world”, meaning that they can be widely consumed without concern.  

What is Dilmah’s view on genetic modification?

The Ethical Tea Society

Dilmah does not use genetically modified teas whatsoever. As far as we know, teas are not genetically modified anywhere.