Ethical tea: why should we care?
We’re a nation of tea monsters consuming over 165 million cuppas every year and growing. It’s no surprise then that we have nightmares about empty cuppas and the future of our tea. Consumers should buy ethical tea - and we’ve got your backs. To keep up with the worlds growing love affair with tea in a socially just and environmentally sustainably way, the Ethical Tea Partnership was formed.
What is the Ethical Tea Partnership?
Established back in 1997, there are now 40 international members with staff in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China and our home turf London! Membership is open to any company involved in the sourcing, trading, or packing of ethical tea, as well as retailers.
So, what does the Ethical Tea Partnership do?
Working with individual tea estates, we help producers & smallholder farmers raise their performance against international social & environmental standards to produce ethical tea, as well as address key issues holding back tea sustainability in the global tea producing regions. Funded by us and the other members, this training and support is free for the tea producers (yay).
Sounds great! And how does the Ethical Tea Partnership ensure the production of ethical tea?
The Ethical Tea Partnership maintains its superhero status by carrying out regular audits as well as providing training on improving productivity and quality. Within the ethical tea estates they encourage & distribute pest management alternatives to nasty agrochemicals such as traps and glue boards. Training programmes aimed at children living on the estates educates them on the risks agrochemicals pose, they then go home and help to reinforce this with parents – win win!
The Ethical Tea Partnership ensures workers have safe working conditions by providing the right equipment (dust masks, safety goggles etc). Not only do they help with conditions within the estates, they also help with issues that go beyond the boundaries of the tea estate such as discrimination to women/minority groups, poor nutrition, water access and other basic needs.
Okay I get it now ethical tea is the way forward, I’m ready to see case studies!
Ethical Tea Partnership partnered up with the humanitarian aid company CARE international to improve conditions on 13 ethical tea estates on the island of Sri Lanka. The results saw reductions in rates of domestic violence and alcoholism as well as a 25% improvement in workforce productivity - this was in part helped by the introduction of estate services such as childcare. When surveyed 90% workers felt economic and social opportunities had improved. Pretty impressive stuff!
Back in 2014 Ethical Tea Partnership partnered up with UNICEF, launching a 3 year programme to improve the lives of children in the Assam area. Over those 3 years they provided support and training to help with the issues surrounding child exploitation. Ethical Tea Partnership trained 10,000 community members on how to spot and prevent exploitation in the communities where tea workers live. They also spoke to families to make them aware of their children’s rights and the support they are entitled to. They didn’t stop there – they also provided training for young women in tea communities so they could better understand their rights and become agents of change to protect young women and girls from trafficking and other forms of exploitation.
Want to find out more? Delve in the world of Ethical Tea Partnership.