Our approach to sustainability has always been collaborative. We know that to have a deep and lasting impact as a business, we have to work closely with others.
Many of the regions in which tea and coffee is grown face big, systemic challenges, and to make meaningful changes we have partnered with others in our industry to combine our resources and increase our influence.
The Ethical Tea Partnership
It’s been over 20 years since we started working with the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP). We were founding members back in 1997, and our work with them stretches across many different projects and regions.
Through the ETP we’ve been able to partner with our suppliers and other tea companies to champion and support initiatives responding to the major social and environmental challenges facing the tea industry. With the ETP, we’ve worked on projects to empower workers in Assam, helped to close the living wage gap in Malawi, developed farmer livelihood programmes in Rwanda and looked at workers’ rights issues in Kenya.
Simon Hotchkin, our Head of Sustainable Development, is also a board member of the ETP and chairs working groups throughout the year.
The British Coffee Association
The British Coffee Association (BCA) serves as the voice of the UK coffee industry, representing its members in order to foster a favourable environment for all aspects of the industry. The BCA protects and promotes coffee to regulators, politicians, the media, and the public and ensures an accurate understanding of coffee on behalf of its members.
We’ve been members of the BCA for over a decade and our Sustainable Sourcing Manager, Dr Krisztina Szalai has been co-chair of the BCA Sustainability Committee since it began in 2017, encouraging collaboration and providing thought leadership on key sustainability issues our industry is facing.
World Coffee Research
We sit on the board of World Coffee Research (WCR) — an organisation set up in order to ensure the future of coffee is protected. Their aim is to grow, protect and enhance the supply of quality coffee across the world while improving the livelihoods of those who produce it. WCR collaborate with farmers and industry partners on their research and it’s very much needed, as coffee is already suffering from the effects of climate change and is susceptible to diseases that can destroy whole farms.
From 2019 we have committed to support 45 of WCR’s on-farm trials in Rwanda and Uganda over the next five years. These trials will be planted on many of the farms that supply our strategic suppliers in Rwanda and Uganda. The trials will give us data on coffee varietals and farming techniques that can provide farmers with the quantity and quality of coffee that they need to sustain their livelihoods in the future. We’re really excited about what the research will reveal and we’re delighted that farmers who supply us will be directly involved in the work and benefit from it in the long term.