Dilmah Conservation was initiated in 2007 as a dedicated arm to carry out biodiversity conservation and environmental sustainability initiatives of Dilmah Tea.
Following its inception, Dilmah Conservation has proceeded in promoting environmental sustainability partnering with other organisations as well as a number of professional and academic institutions including several local universities. This work has been categorised into three focal areas which are environmental sustainability, biodiversity conservation and climate action.
Dilmah further reaffirmed its commitment to sustainable initiatives with environmental protection at its core.
Declaration of Our Core Commitment to Sustainability
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 minimizing our impact on the planet, fostering respect for the environment and ensuring its protection by encouraging a harmonious coexistence of man and nature. We believe that conservation is ultimately about people and the future of the human race, that efforts in conservation have been associated with human well-being and poverty reduction outcomes. These core values allow us to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations of sustainability.
Conservation through Awareness
The Human – elephant conflict has led to the dwindling of the Asian Elephant population in Sri Lanka. Dilmah’s involvement in elephant conservation began in 2009 at the Elephant Transit Home (ETH) in UdaWalawe National Park. The Elephant Transit Home in Sri Lanka’s Udawalawe National Park is a haven for displaced baby elephants, including our very own Baby Dilmah, where they are taken care of until they are old enough to return to the wild.
Dilmah Conservation aims to create a better understanding of these charismatic giants to strengthen the efforts at protecting this species -by sharing knowledge through an information centre and radio – collaring programmes designed to understand their interaction with their habitats.
Dilmah Conservation established an information centre at the premises to provide visitors an immersive learning experience on this magnificent mammal using state of the art facility and create awareness on the issues that threaten their survival. Dilmah Conservation collaborated with the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka to develop a ticketing system enabling the ETH to generate a steady revenue that feeds back into improving the facilities at the centre. Dilmah also initiated a programme designed to train trackers and safari guides at the Uda Walawe National Park.
We have also collaborated with local conservation bodies dedicated toward the protection of the Sri Lankan elephant to create awareness and study their ecological behaviour through radio collaring programmes.
Ted and Baby Dilmah
Dilmah Conservation is currently sponsoring the care of ‘Baby Dilmah’ and sponsored ‘Ted’. Baby Dilmah celebrated her third birthday on the 26th of September 2020. You can learn more about her story here.
Ted was an orphaned baby elephant when he was rescued by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) staff who brought him to the ETH. He was one of the youngest baby elephants at the ETH, when Dilmah adopted him and named him Ted after the famous Sir Graham Henry, the 2011 Rugby world cup winning coach of the famous All Blacks! With around the clock care, 8 feeds of milk a day and plenty of other baby elephants to play with, Ted transformed into a healthy juvenile elephant calf. He grew stronger and bigger each time the Dilmah Conservation team visited him. In 2019 he was deemed fit to be reintroduced back to the wild and was released into the jungles of Udawalawe, his true home.
Read up on his story here.
Mankada Pottery Project
The Mankada PotteryWorkshop is a women’s empowerment project established by Dilmah Conservation that sees local women trained to make hand-crafted pottery, much of which is themed around the endangered elephants that roam in the national park.
As well as promoting the park and shining a light on the threats to its wildlife to tourists through its pottery and workshop tours, Mankada provides training and support to some of the poorest people in Sri Lanka. This allows them to earn a living and support their families with wages much higher than any other employment opportunities in the area.
Prior to working at the pottery workshop, most of the staff, who are mainly women, were unemployed or labourers who had difficulty finding a regular income.
At Mankada, the workers are trained by master potter Ajith Perera to make objects such as terracotta figurines, pendants, teapots, mugs, tiles and plates, and they also learn valuable language and management skills.
They are also helping to conserve an ancient Sri Lankan artform. Pottery has been made in the country for several millennia, as archaeological digs have shown. There was even a caste or clan assigned to make pottery during the time of kings in ancient Sri Lanka, called Kumbalkaruvo.
The Mankada Pottery Workshop has grown to be one of the area’s main tourist destinations and counts celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Peter Kuruvita among its many fans.
As a national treasure of Sri Lanka, the bold and beautiful elephants are the inspiration behind Dilmah’s new black tea, Ceylon Bold, which is bold and strong too, but has the distinct Ceylon character of a bright tasting tea full of character.
The next edition will feature Dilmah’s commitment towards climate change adaptation including our very own Climate Change Research Centre.
For more information about the work of Dilmah Conservation, visit