Eco-innovation is crucial to managing the humanitarian and environmental challenges a country faces, and to the sustainable growth and development of a nation. There is countless anecdotal evidence of impressive inventions created by Sri Lankans from all corners of the country. These inventions are usually a result of the sheer determination and ingenuity of amateur inventors, often with no formal training or education and very little resources. With some assistance, these inventions could become very useful (and even profitable) products that may help address nationwide or global environmental concerns.
Dilmah Conservations aims to give these inventors the opportunity and support they require to further develop their innovation, benefitting both the inventor and the country. The Merrill J. Fernando Eco-Innovation Award thus serves as a platform where individuals with or without any formal education are able to compete with academics on a level playing field while also helping find innovative low-cost answers to national and global environmental issues. The Award not just appreciates a concept or prototype, but facilitates its incorporation into the society. For this purpose, Dilmah Conservation has allocated a fund of LKR 10,000,000/= to provide winners with guidance and support necessary to develop and commercialize their innovations.