Environmentally sustainable tea

Like so many agricultural commodities, tea contributes to climate change and is also vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Poor production practices degrade soil, use excessive amounts of water and can be energy inefficient. At the same time, tea farmers worldwide are dealing with soil degradation, weather shocks such as floods and droughts, and the rising cost of energy. Our work on environmental sustainability looks at mitigation and adaptation measures, as well as reducing carbon.

Climate resilient agriculture

Future-proofing tea production involves increasing the use of drought and flood-tolerant tea plants, reducing the use of agrochemicals to cut carbon and costs, and protecting biodiversity. Regenerative practices such as integrated pest management, inter-cropping and landscape approaches are also part of the solution. This is all part of a move to improve ways of growing tea towards a lower impact, more resilient, sustainable future for tea.

Zero deforestation

Deforestation is the conversion of forest to other land use, or the permanent reduction of the tree canopy cover below the minimum 10 percent threshold. In tea, deforestation occurs for two main reasons: land clearance for new planting, and sourcing fuelwood to use in tea factories and the homes of tea workers.

Our approach to zero deforestation encourages the use of wood from sustainably managed plantations, avoiding wood sources from ‘natural’ forests. We also drive energy efficiencies in tea factories to reduce the volume of wood used, and encourage tea communities to value and respect the biodiversity of forests.

Net zero tea

ETP references the Science-Based Targets (SBT) approach to climate action.

Science-based Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets ensure that companies reduce their emissions at a rate that is consistent with the level of decarbonisation required to limit global warming to 1.5°C or well-below 2°C.

Reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) that are science-based ensure that companies reduce their emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. This means committing to a reduction rate that will help limit global warming to well below 2°C.

Science-based net-zero targets go beyond this. Building on science-based GHG reduction targets, they ensure that companies take responsibility for emissions that are yet to be reduced or cannot be eliminated through emission removal offsets.


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