Institute for Governance and Policy Studies

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When Merrill Fernando joined the tea industry in Sri Lanka in the 1950s, he observed that Sri Lankan tea was treated as a raw material and shipped at nominal value to Europe where value addition, branding and packing took place. As a result, producers of Sri Lankan tea received a tiny fraction of the profits from the sale of their tea, while large corporations benefited disproportionately. Fernando has dedicated his career to addressing this inequity.
Fernando’s love for tea led him to establish the Dilmah brand in 1988 which was founded on a passionate commitment to quality and authenticity in tea. Dilmah was also part of a philosophy that went beyond commerce in seeing business as a matter of human service.
Fernando also pioneered the concept of single origin tea and packaging tea garden fresh, at source. These initiatives pitched Fernando directly against corporations many times the size of his tiny and fledgling business, and it also brought him into conflict with his peers and the Sri Lankan government who did not share his belief that tea could be picked and shipped direct from origin by growers themselves.
In this talk, Merrill Fernando will share his journey in the tea industry and discuss how he built a global brand against the back drop of civil war and economic inequity


Date: Tuesday 4th October
Time: 5:45pm - 7:00pm This time was incorrectly advertised as 12:30
Location: Old Government Buildings Lecture Theatre 1
RSVP: Please register here
Photo Of Merrill FernandoMerrill Fernando is the founder and Chairperson of Dilmah, the world’s only ethically produced tea, which retains all the profits in his country and they are shared with the poor and the wider community through the MJF Charitable Foundation ( He is equally conscience of the sustainability of the industry and the importance of protecting the environment  In recognition of the commitment to his philosophy of making Business a matter of Human Service, he was awarded the prestigious Business for Peace Award in Oslo in 2015 by the Noble Peace Laureates Committee.  

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