Tea sustainability was the topic of the week at the 7th North American Tea Conference, hosted by the Tea Association of Canada at Niagara Falls. The event drew 180 and a dozen exhibitors, several from producing countries recognized for their commitment to social and environmental sustainability.
Categories included “Best Social Initiative” for advancing social conditions such as empowering women, improving the quality of life, and increasing diversity.
The winner was Emrok Tea, Kenya for its Ngererit School World Reader program with a silver award to Goodricke, Group Ltd., India for establishing a school for special education. Sorwathe, Ltd., Rwanda received the bronze prize for its one pre-school per year and one cup of porridge per child program.
The category “Best Environmental Initiative” is for advocating environmental benefits such as reduced carbon emissions, reductions in waste or pollution, and the protection of ecosystems.
The top prize went to Metropolitan Tea Company for its environmental action program to reduce carbon emissions by alternate power (solar), with the silver prize awarded to the Ethical Tea Partnership and KTDA Kenya for work on climate change adaptation that has resulted in planting of drought-resistant cultivars. The bronze award was presented to Kabepe Chakra Tea Estate in Indonesia for its environmental sustainability and biodiversity program.
Competitors were praised by presenter Jem McDowall for long-established programs that demonstrate commitment to the environment long before it made headlines. Judges were Dr. Norman Kelly and David Browning. The competition was sponsored by UCTT (Universal Commodities (Tea) Trading, Inc. in New York.
Gold Medal Awards
JA-Shizuoka Keizairen won the best overall tea at the onsite cupping competition at this year’s conference. The firm’s green tea (Jichihitoe) in Shizuoka, Japan was named best in its category as well.
First-place winners are selected by country and include:
- Future Generation Vinh Phuc Co., Ltd. Vietnam, its Jasmine Green COZY from the Phu Tho factory and Hung An Factory
- Tai Shiang Tea Co., Ltd. Taiwan, for its Formosa Wen Shan pouchong oolong tea
- Lumbini Tea Factory, Sri Lanka, for its FBOPF Extra Special black tea
- Sorwathe Ltd., Rwanda, for its Rukeri black tea OP
- Satemwa Tea Estates, Ltd., Malawi, for its Father Zambezi’s Mission #315 oolong tea
- Tea Board of Kenya for its Kangaita white silvery tips white tea
- Ambootia Tea Estate, India, for its golden pekoe SFTGFOP1 black tea
- Fujian Chunlun Tea Group Co., Ltd. China, for its green tea super
- Don Basilio SRL, Argentina, for its Campos de tea (green loose leaf)
Source: North American Tea Conference.