Tea — A Hero Crop for 2030

WTN140217_TheFutureofTea_Report_ARTLONDON, England – Tea 2030, a project co-coordinated by Forum for the Future that aims to help create a more sustainable future for the tea industry, on Thursday released its first report following an 18-month review.

Steered by some of the world’s largest tea companies (Unilever, Twinings, Finlays, Yorkshire Tea, Tata Global Beverages, S & D Coffee & Tea), and major ethical and certifying bodies (The Ethical Tea Partnership, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade International), the new initiative is committed to making tea a ‘hero crop’ that delivers major benefits to the millions of people across the world who work in the tea sector, as well as to the wider environment and the economy.

By encouraging collaboration between tea companies, tea producers, ethical organizations, NGOs, national and local governments, the project will work across all aspects of the industry to consider and improve approaches to such issues as wages, conditions of employment, the position and treatment of women, the balance of power across the supply chain, the availability of labor and mechanization, the way in which tea is bought and sold, natural resources such as water and soil, land usage, deforestation, usage of agro-chemicals, climate change, investment for the future, and consumer attitudes and behavior.

The 31-page report establishes three platforms for collaboration. The first seeks to engage tea drinkers, creating more demand for sustainable tea globally. The second explores how markets can be shaped to benefit plantation workers and small holders. The third platform is to facilitate conversations among producers coping with environmental change, land use and social issues that vary by growing region.

Sally Uren, Chief Executive of Forum for the Future, explained that “The Tea 2030 partnership is leading the way by planning action to make tea a crop that not only delivers a great commodity but also improves livelihoods, and engages the support of tea drinkers throughout the world in creating a sustainable industry.” The forum recognizes the enormity of the challenge and the scale of its ambition, but it hopes that, by drawing on the experience of other industries, by working together to examine and possibly change current practices, by informing and educating growers, processors, blenders, retailers, and tea drinkers, it can build a more sustainable future for the international tea industry.

Learn more: Forum for the Future