There is an amazing story behind your cup of Dilmah Tea. It is a tale that unfolds each day on Dilmah Tea gardens around Sri Lanka. It begins with the blessing of nature upon Ceylon Tea – the natural alchemy of climate and soils that produces the world’s finest tea. It develops from there, weaving through the lives of the tea pickers and their families, through the village communities around our island, through the forests and waters around Sri Lanka, and reaching its climax in your cup of tea.
Dilmah was born of a simple tea grower’s vision. Merrill J. Fernando’s desire to share the pleasure in tea with the world, and to do so ethically by benefiting workers in the exploited tea industry, was the genesis of Dilmah Tea. Nearly four decades of struggle that Merrill invested in making his dream a reality, were rewarded with an unexpectedly powerful welcome from tea drinkers around the world.
Dilmah has grown from the impossible and often ridiculed dream of an ordinary Sri Lankan to a brand that is enjoyed in over 100 countries around the world. Dilmah is recognised as one of the top 10 tea brands in the world. These are not the definitions of success that Merrill J. Fernando and his family seek for Dilmah though.
Merrill fulfilled his pledge to making his Dilmah a genuinely ethical business with the establishment of his charitable foundation – the MJF Charitable Foundation. That commitment to ethics was set at the heart of Merrill’s business in the 1960s, long before Corporate Social Responsibility became the buzzword that it is today. Within that commitment lies a very powerful philosophy – that of making business a matter of human service.
In seeing success as something beyond its conventional, commercial definition, Merrill demonstrated a powerful truth. He showed how relevant the often discarded traditional, family values are in present context. By placing integrity – as much in relation to his customers, in the quality of Dilmah Tea as to the workers and environment that help make Dilmah special – at the heart of his business, he offered a potent solution to many of the problems our world faces today.