Bigelow Tea blending and packaging facilities in Idaho, Kentucky, and the company’s headquarters in Fairfield, Conn., run on carbon-free sources of energy. The company, which produces 2 billion tea bags annually, has reduced its carbon footprint by 12 million pounds using a combination of 90% wind power and 10% solar generation. Compliance includes the purchase of RECs (renewable energy certificates).
“Achieving this certification for using 100% renewable energy is just part of our continuing journey to be a good corporate citizen,” said Bigelow, a third-generation manager of the family-owned company. “These are things that we do simply because it is the right thing to do. All of us need to explore where we can make a difference, and, if possible, we need to try and focus on making those changes. So we are very proud of this most recent accomplishment, and we hope other companies will consider looking into how they can also achieve the same goal.”
Green-e Certification requires that at least half of the energy used by the company is from renewable resources that include solar, geothermal, wind, and hydropower. Qualifying began with investments in energy-saving equipment, LED lighting, the installation of motion detectors, and conservation. Bigelow said the company, which sells 150 kinds of tea, far exceeded the minimum.
“Sustainability has always been a core business value of the company, and this is an important step in advancing the company’s mission,” said Bigelow, noting that the 75-year-old firm is registered as a Certified Benefit “B” Corp. in 2019. “Doing the right thing has been part of the company’s DNA since it was founded by my grandmother Ruth Campbell Bigelow. This is who we are as a company,” she said.
“We are very proud to be operating with 100% renewable energy because this is a goal that complies with our mission statement, written more than 30 years ago,” Bigelow said.
“To me, ethical leadership means thinking about the long term and ensuring we are doing the right thing for our future. It means constantly working to create an environment of pride and making a difference every day, so we all feel motivated to be the best we can possibly be,” she said.
Green-e is the leading independent consumer protection program for the sale of renewable energy and greenhouse gas reductions in the US retail market.
Bigelow also has been a “Zero Waste to Landfill” company since 2012. To qualify, a company must divert 90% of its waste from the landfill. Bigelow Tea exceeded that minimum requirement at its three facilities by composting, recycling, and relying on trash-to-energy plants.