It’s an exciting time to be a tea enthusiast. With a multitude of unique flavours, high quality varieties and even a few creative restylingson the market (have you met our Green Lady?), the world of tea is constantly growing. However, with this tea takeover comes the need for a stringently ethical production process. Here’s what quality tea manufacturers are doing to ensure that their teas are sustainably and ethically produced, and how consumers can support these efforts by choosing their teas conscientiously.Tea and People
Like fine wines, the best teas are made through artisanal methods. Tea leaves are cared for and harvested by hand, and quality tea manufacturers must always ensure that their workers are well-paid and safe.
However, many tea companies are not adequately supporting their employees. Low wages and poor working conditions are still a significant problem on the tea estates and plantations owned by several high-profile tea companies – in fact, an investigation by the BBC revealed that the poor conditions of some estates in India have even resulted in the malnourishment and illness of their workers. Since this report, greater attention has been drawn to the cause, and companies and organisations have focused their efforts on improving these working environments – but there is still a long way to go.Tea and the Environment
The process of making tea can also have significant effects on the environment. Since tea is such a popular product, large amounts of farmland and rainforest have been turned into tea plantationsin order to meet demand. This has resulted in a loss of biodiversity, and has even contributed to the scarcity of two endangered species, the lion-tailed macaque and the Horton Plains slender loris.
Farming practicescan also negatively impact the regions surrounding tea estates. Spraying pesticides on plants poisons nearby wildlife, and the constant use of the land can strip the soil of its nutrients, making it difficult to grow anything.
Practicing the right farming and production methods is key to reducing the impact on the earth. Organic farming, the passage of protective laws and oversight by ethical certification organisations are all helpful measures in the increased sustainability of the tea industry.What You Can Do
In order to crack down on concerns about working conditions and the environment, a number of ethics organisations are re-examining their own requirements for ethical certification. However, it is not up to these organisations alone to make a change. As consumers, we must support the companies that embrace human and sustainable production methods. Through guides like Ethical Consumer, tea drinkers can see which brands are most committed to social and environmental causes.
Consumers should also pay attention to labels such as ‘Fairtrade,’ ‘Organic’ and ‘Rainforest Alliance Certified.’ These initiatives each mean different things for the tea production process, and can offer buyers insight into how a tea was farmed and manufactured.
At Green Lady, we’re dedicated to crafting a tea beverage that’s both delicious and sustainable. We make our sparkling tea using only the finest natural ingredients grown through responsible methods, and we care about the social and environmental implications of the tea production process. Above all, we want to ensure that everyone who is involved in Green Lady Sparkling Tea feels uplifted by her light effervescence, from the worker who harvests our Green Darjeeling tea leaves to the customer takingthat refreshing first sip.