Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In essence, when one talks about sustainability in the tea industry, you have to understand that, in reality, sustainability works hand in hand while being carbon neutral, ethical and fair trade. The new word orders seem to be creating a fairer, more sustainable tea industry for tea workers, farmers, and their families, as well as the environment.
What is carbon neutrality?
Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to the actions taken by an organization, a business, or an individual in an effort to remove the same volume of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they release into it, with the ultimate objective of achieving a net zero carbon footprint. When it comes to the tea industry, it accounts for the carbon dioxide emissions starting at the point where the tea leaves are grown, plucked, processed, transported, and packed, until they leave the company’s premises. In essence, it is nature, pristine and untouched, that gives life to the unique teas that are grown in Sri Lanka. With this in mind, tea growers seek to maintain this harmony while minimizing any impact on the environment.
Ethical tea can have different connotations. Also, it applies to varying degrees of acceptance. From a Sri Lankan perspective, we can safely say that ethical tea involves tea that is produced in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, it also means some profits from the enterprise of manufacturing and marketing tea are reinvested back into the wellbeing of the community. In the parlance of the tea trade, we could safely say giving back to the community means improving the living standards of tea estate workers and their community at large through dedicated efforts.
Fair Trade Tea
Tea is the world’s most popular drink (after water), with about 70,000 cups drunk every second. From its origins as an ancient medicinal crop in China, tea has spread far and wide. The multi-billion dollar tea industry employs millions of people, but working conditions and earnings for the workers are often comparatively poor. Fairtrade "tea" refers to all teas that stem from the leaves and buds of the Camellia sinensis plant, grown year-round. Fair Trade Certified Tea ensures that farmers, producers, and suppliers are paid a fair price, with employees who are treated fairly and with a safe work environment.