Scoring a hat-trick of accolades at the 2021 Presidential Export Awards, ethical tea company Dilmah has been selected Most Globally Outreached Sri Lankan Brand, Market Diversified Exporter and Contributor to Sustainable Development in the Export Industry for 2019/20. 

The national awards are facilitated by the Export Development Board (EDB) and chosen by an eminent panel of judges, to felicitate exporters who make the highest contribution to the development of the sector. 

The 24th Presidential Export Awards (PEA) by the Export Development Board was held at BMICH with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as Chief Guest. Among the 63 outstanding export companies in Sri Lanka, Dilmah received three awards for the financial year 2019/20.  

Taking Sri Lanka’s prized two leaves and a bud to the world, family tea company Dilmah has won the recognition of tea drinkers from around the globe. The brand is available in over 100 countries, served inflight on several airlines, and the preferred cuppa in over 5,000 hotels located around the world. Founded by the first tea grower to offer tea grown, picked, perfected and packed at source, direct to customers around the world, Dilmah Tea has a reputation for quality and integrity. Its founder, Merrill J. Fernando’s seminal achievement is the disruption of an exploitative, colonial model in tea with value addition at source, benefiting the producer rather than the middleman.

From its humble beginnings, Dilmah grew on the strength of the brand’s focus on purity of origin, freshness and ethics, strengthened by innovation. The Dilmah family applied its unique passion for tea, in developing revolutionary, tea inspired concepts from its tea culinary and mixology contests, to the Dilmah School of Tea and its t-Lounges. Dilmah’s Camellia Epicurean, a tea inspired fine dining concept is acknowledged as the pinnacle Ceylon Tea experience. 

The brand’s fulfillment of its founder’s wish to serve humanity through business forms one of the three pillars that form its foundation – taste, goodness and purpose. The sincerity of that commitment earned Dilmah the Contributor to Sustainable Development award. The company assigns a minimum 15% of its pretax earnings to its humanitarian and conservation initiatives with over Rs. 290 million spent in those areas in the year under review. These fund direct education, welfare, nutrition, medical and emergency humanitarian aid from the establishment of hospitals, and schools to scholarships, vocational training, entrepreneurship development and care for disabled persons. 

The same philosophy extends to the brand’s conservation and restoration efforts with the establishment of a Climate Change Research and Adaptation Centre, demonstrating and educating communities on sustainable agriculture, species, and ecosystems restoration, promoting biodiversity, blue carbon and multiple other initiatives. 

“In recognising the obligation that every business has, to its community, and natural environment, my father is a disruptor in more ways than one,” Dilmah CEO Dilhan C. Fernando commented. “Quality and integrity are at the heart of Dilmah, and their expression in the assurance of good taste, natural goodness and the ethical purpose beyond profit are what makes Dilmah different. We are humbled by these awards but also encouraged in our mission.”
 
This article was originally published in the Daily FT

This article was also published in The Sunday Observer, The Sunday Times, and Ceylon Today

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