Sri Lanka’s Dilmah unveils supply chain sustainability road map
Daily FT: Establishing a sustainable supply chain implies “shaping a company’s investment, operational and procurement decisions to achieve positive environmental, social, and governance outcomes and reduce harm” – World Economic Forum. These may range from issues such as climate action to labor standards. Fundamentally demonstrated when Dilmah Tea recently invited its supply chain to the heart of its operations in Peliyagoda for an evening of discourse and exchange about sustainability practices and strategies with aspects to product, packaging, the environment, humanity, legal concerns, and so on. Dilmah’s purpose has always been and continues to transcend its quest for quality and business profitability for initiatives aimed at making a better tea for people and the planet.
A family business, founded on strong values and ethics such as integrity, the tea company strives to instill the very same amongst its stakeholders by creating avenues for visibility and points of engagement The result is a one-of-a-kind long-term sustainability initiative aimed at facilitating a sustainable supply chain.
The comprehensive MJF Group’s Supply Code of Conduct is a guide that lays out policies and codes, procurement best practices, supplier engagement, and verification, and disclosure protocols. The document further addresses the principles and objectives of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and UNGC 10 principles for responsible business operations.
Dilmah Tea has maintained its commitment to safeguarding natural and cultural ecosystems and developing interventions for a better society long before sustainability became a core business strategy. These aspects are driven through Dilmah Tea’s environmental sustainability and conservation arm Dilmah Conservation and the Humanitarian arm known as MJF Charitable Foundation, respectively.
A fully sustainable supply chain is one that ensures socially responsible business practices. Dilmah has integrated the above-mentioned principles into its corporate strategies, culture, and day-to-day operations to enforce sustainable practices. It also continuously monitors the enforced practices through continuous training, assessments, and supplier feedback to further strengthen its commitment to the aforementioned. Through this path, Dilmah has succeeded in maintaining its presence in 108 countries through an ever-changing socio-economic landscape.
Apart from the general sustainable supplier chain of code of conduct, Dilmah strives to adopt a platform where suppliers are in turn encouraged to share their best practices with the company.
Further, the Dilmah code of conduct recognizes its suppliers’ efforts of adhering to Dilmah standards. A mechanism to approve the supplier as an MJF-verified supplier has been developed in tribute to Dilmah Tea founder Merrill J. Fernando by his son, Dilhan C. Fernando.
The initial programmed launch for the Sustainable Supply Chain initiative was organized for National and International packaging suppliers. The program will also extend to suppliers of tea and other raw ingredients of the MJF group.
Sri Lanka’s Dilmah Teas have managed to establish a brand synonymous with high quality in the international markets. The success story of Dilmah and the brand’s global expansion is indicative of the growth and strength of Sri Lanka’s tea industry is its potential is fully explored. Other tea producers in Sri Lanka also hold the potential to grow and expand similar to Dilmah. The many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by Sri Lanka are an added boost for Sri Lanka’s tea exports. The ongoing promotional campaigns and the awareness created on value addition and diversifying Sri Lanka’s tea products portfolio, indicates the business potential in the local tea industry. Foreign businesses/investors could therefore explore the expanding opportunities in Sri Lanka’s tea industry or look at forming partnerships or joint ventures with local businesses engaged in the industry with the aim of further expansion.
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