Trees — they’re proper important!
Deforestation can be devastating for the environment. Trees store approximately 500 billion tonnes of the world’s carbon stock. They also absorb other harmful pollutants like carbon monoxide and ammonia which is why every branch that we burn contributes to climate change.
Deforestation is bad news for our suppliers too. Many of our smallholdings are vulnerable to soil erosion, drought and desertification. Unfortunately, all three of these processes speed up when we remove natural tree cover, and expose bare soil to a tropical climate.
Redressing the balance — one tree at a time
As a business that’s totally reliant on agriculture, we understand the importance of environmental conservation. We know that we have to work in harmony with the natural world, and we know that we have to be proactive if we want to mitigate the environmental impact of our business activities.
That’s why we’ve been planting trees around the world since 1990.
Most of these tree planting programmes are multi purpose. They protect local environments by reducing soil erosion and flooding, they improve water conservation; they help to combat climate change through carbon sequestration; and they support families and communities by providing food and enhancing livelihoods.
To date, we’ve planted 5 million trees. We’ve also helped to protect 237,000 hectares of Amazon Rainforest.
And our commitment is only getting stronger. In the last few years, we’ve worked on a project that has seen us planting trees in and around Mount Kenya.
This area is one of our most important tea-growing regions. It’s also been stripped of much of its natural tree cover, but planting native tree species is helping to protect the land owned by the tea farmers who supply us.
We’ve worked with The International Small Group Tree Planting Association (TIST) and the Kenyan Tea Development Agency on this five year project and we’re incredibly proud to have helped plant nearly 2 million trees around our Kenyan factories with 7000 farmers.
The trees these farmers have planted are already making a big difference to their livelihoods. Trees are planted at the top of the farms to hold the soil and prevent water run off in the rainy season. They’re planted between tea bushes to provide shade in the dry season and shelter when it’s cold. Some of the trees carry beehives to provide honey and cross-pollinate the crops. Others are fruit trees — such as mango, avocado and macadamia that can help farmers to earn an income beyond tea. All of them are sequestering carbon — as each quantifier who painstakingly measures the trees on every farm — will tell you, which has helped us to achieve our Carbon Neutral goals.
And the work doesn’t stop there. In conjunction with the Kenyan Tea Development Agency , we’ve also helped plant 5,000 trees in the grounds of 28 different schools. Trees that will be used to teach important lessons about conservation and provide shade so that children can learn outdoors.
And then there’s the work we’re doing here in the UK. For the last five years we’ve worked in partnership with the Woodland Trust to provide tree packs for school kids and community groups to plant in their grounds. Through this work we’ve planted another 500,000 trees across Britain.
Next time you sit down with a brew, give yourself a pat on the back because drinking our tea means that you’re helping us to fight deforestation one tree at a time.