Sunday, September 5, 2010

Aisle 7 - Liquid Challenges 1: Hot Drinks

* Challenge 20: Does Fairtrade tea make the best brew?
* Challenge 21: Does ethical coffee hit the spot?

I am a tea drinker. A chai consumer. And a coffee hater!

But have I really thought about the ethical/environmental background of my tea?

Not really.

I use a combination of loose teas and tea bags. I am a Twinings girl when it comes to bags and I prefer the individually wrapped ones - with full knowledge of the extra waste this creates. For my loose tea, I mainly buy from T2 (I was startled to learn recently this is owned by the Coca Cola company!) and I buy my chai latte in bulk from a company called Kenteco, either online or direct at expos etc.

So I am taking this challenge quite seriously and doing the research that I should have thought of long ago.

Twinings - I found their website (which has lots I want to explore) and was relieved to read the following statement:

Tea with standards

We want people to be able to drink Twinings tea without worrying about the welfare of the people who picked it.

Twinings is committed to ethical sourcing and it is our responsibility and that of all tea companies to;

- buy from tea estates where social and environmental standards are at an acceptable level

- try, with the means we have available, to work with tea estates, their communities and other stakeholders to improve standards.

Given the size and scale of the tea sector, Twinings believes that the best way to improve conditions is at an industry level and that is why Twinings is a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP).

The goal of the ETP is to ensure that all of the teas its members buy are being produced in a socially responsible way. Members include many of the world’s best-known tea companies.

The ETP continually monitors 6 areas of estate life ; employment (including minimum age and minimum wage), education, maternity, health and safety, housing and basic rights. The ETP also provides remedial advice and support to achieve these standards which are based on the UK Ethical Trading Initiative and the International Labour Organisation conventions. Click here for a copy of the ETP standard.

To find out more about the Ethical Tea Partnership visit

I think that is a pretty good result - maybe not specifically Fair Trade, but trading fairly. I will continue to buy.

T2 - when googling T2 and Fairtrade - found this on their Facebook page:

Tea T2 tea and the subject of “Fair Trade” products.
Whilst we scrutinise all our suppliers and their estates to ensure decent working conditions and local sustainability as well as seeking to build long term relationships with fair pricing in developing regions – we do not at this moment align ourselves with any particular organisation and brand ourselves with these accreditations.

mmm ... sounds okay, but I will keep a watch on this one.

Kenteco - Kenya Tea Company
What makes Kenya unique among tea growing nations is its tea producing and marketing company KTDA – wholly owned and directed by the 370,000 small-holders who skillfully grow the crop in often difficult conditions. For the past 30 years Kenya has produced fine small leaf teas by the CTC(Cut Tear and Curl) method used mainly for teabags. Recently traditional methods of tea making have produced Orthodox Kenyan teas.

I think that is good news - although they don't say anything about Fairtrade specifically. I think I am happy to stay with them.

Coffee - Apart from not buying Nestle products, I haven't really explored the coffee I provide for others at home or work. So I will endeavour to be more pro-active in this area in the future.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Hey Yvette,
We have a tin of Kenteco Chai at our house!

Jamie R