Teas are not all created equally. From one estate and factory to the next, environmental and social standards vary greatly. My Tea Shop and our suppliers are committed to dealing only with growers and manufacturers that exhibit a sustained commitment to environmental and social ethics.
Fair Treatment & Trading
Our annual tea-buying missions provide us with regular opportunities to inspect the estates and factories we work with. Our checklist includes:
- Zero tolerance for child & slave labor
- Fair compensation for workers
- Free housing, medical care and education
- Reinvestment in infrastructure
- Respect for the labor force
- Good community relationships
Only when all categories have been confirmed, will we do business with a supplier.
More on child or slave labor: Zero tolerance policy.
Child, and even slave labor does occur in some developing countries. We take strict care to ensure all of our products are produced 100% free of both. We feel very strongly about this, and wish all tea companies took the same consideration.
Plant-based Teabag Material
Our pyramid tea bags are made from plant based material (sugar cane, corn or abaca). They’re both backyard compostable and biodegradable. Commodity-grade pyramid bags are typically made of plastic/nylon fibres, which while steeping release thousands of microparticles into the tea and thus into your body. For our pyramid tea bags we have never used nylon or any other petroleum-based compound. You can relax and enjoy your tea safely, naturally, at peace.
Habitat conservation is good for the environment and for tea. Soil nutrients are maintained, creating a healthier terroir for growing luxury grade leaf. Our experience has also shown that the healthier the habitat, the greater the crop yields for our farmers.
We look for tea farms with a working Environmental Management System that includes:
- Ecosystem Conservation
- Wildlife Protection
- Water Conservation
- Integrated Crop Management
- Soil Management and Conservation
- Integrated Waste Management
RESPONSIBLE TEA PRODUCTION
Why buy luxury grade teas?
Tea is a continuous crop. Unlike many other commercial crops, it can be grown 12 months of the year. For estates that value sustainability over quick profits, tea provides stable year-round income and jobs — both badly needed in the developing world.
Unfortunately, many tea estates don’t follow sustainability principles. The results are lower yields, poorer quality teas, lower prices and less stability for workers. By purchasing luxury grade teas, you play a part in supporting farmers, workers, and small businesses in some of the world’s most challenging locations.
The Luxury Tea difference.
- Luxury quality teas are hand-plucked. This reduces reliance on fossil fuels and pollution, with virtually no CO2 output. (Japan is an exception. There, luxury teas are harvested by machine.)
- Tea plantations absorb CO2. The better run the estate, the more carbon absorbed. As well, most of the estates we deal with use renewable timber and old root stock for fuel, further reducing emissions.
- Luxury-grade estates rehabilitate their soil. Fields are rotated and left fallow on a regular schedule, allowing the nutrients in the soil to replenish. The tea thus produced brings those rich nutrients into your body.
- Better botany, means less reliance on pesticides. We look for luxury teas that are pesticide-free. Many of our luxury tea sourcing areas (i.e. Darjeeling, Kenyan Highlands or Sri Lanka) can support tea 100% free of pesticides - due to the high altitudes, tea pests can’t survive.
When these policies are followed, luxury estates thrive, providing jobs, housing, education and medical care for workers and their families.
ETHICAL TEA PARTNERSHIP
The Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) is a not-for-profit organization which convenes tea companies, development agencies, governmental and nongovernmental organizations to improve the lives of communities within the tea sector.
We work in partnership to tackle the deep rooted issues that are holding back the sustainability of the tea sector. These include: improving the incomes and well-being of farmers and workers; improving living conditions and nutrition; improving the lives and opportunities for women and young people in tea communities and reducing gender-based violence; improving climate change resilience.
To find out more about the ETP and its role at the centre of tea sustainability go to: www.ethicalteapartnership.org