Sustainability is a consumer “megatrend” that is gaining in importance according to those queried in the Natural Marketing Institute’s most recent “State of Sustainability” survey.
“Consumer skepticism regarding a company’s sustainable efforts prompts consumers to seek solid proof of their legitimacy – make sure “transparency” is front and center as consumers evaluate company claims and messaging with more scrutiny,” according to NMI which found that 65% of respondents “believe companies are primarily focused on making money and only embrace “social” initiatives when they are profitable.” Similarly 64% percent agreed with the statement that companies only embrace “environmental” initiatives when they are profitable.
The tea industry is vulnerable to consumer criticism as both the media and tea industry insiders raise questions about how tea is sourced, processed and marketed. Non-profits including the Forum for the Future and Ethical Tea Partnership as well as academics and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations have documented widespread unsustainable practices from soil depletion to the exploitation of workers.
The North American Sustainability Awards highlight positive steps taken by those in the tea industry to address these concerns.
“In recognition of all the hard work being put forth, globally, across the tea industry, we are announcing the inaugural year of our annual North American Sustainability Awards,” said Canada Tea Association President Louise Roberge.
Roberge is accepting nomination in two categories: Best Social Initiative, and: Best Environmental Initiative. “Submissions can be made from all aspects of the industry: growers, importers, packers, etc.,” she said.
The awards will be presented during the 7th Annual North American Tea Conference at the Hilton Niagara Falls, Sept. 20-22. Learn more: www.tea.ca/about-tea/news/7th-annual-north–american–tea–conference
Waarts, Y., L. Ge, G. Ton, Jansen, D., 2012. LEI report 2012-043. Sustainable tea production in Kenya: Impact assessment of Rainforest Alliance and Farmer Field School training. LEI Wageningen UR, Wageningen.