Tea with Intention: the Ethical Tea Partnership

When the pandemic hit in 2020, the impacts of COVID-19 were felt worldwide. From our company headquarters in Eugene, OR, to our supplier partners abroad. Much of the world was struggling, and we were determined to help our partners. Still, we didn’t have the expertise to purchase and distribute the tools to people in need in countries like India, China, and Kenya, where local authorities were overwhelmed. We needed guidance to do the right thing, so we asked ourselves: who can help?

As a tea company, we are well aware of our carbon footprint – and wholly committed to reducing our impact. But it’s not simple, and figuring out which stages of tea production need work is critical. It is clear that change must come from within, but we cannot do it alone. We need partners and other tea brands to share this knowledge and commitment to truly make a difference. So we asked ourselves: who can make this happen?

For us, the answer to both questions was simple: the Ethical Tea Partnership.

When it comes to creating a better tea world, few organizations are as impactful as the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP). They manage projects in China, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malawi, and Rwanda, all working towards three goals: equality among tea producers, thriving economics, and sustainable farming. We are proud members of this partnership a privilege only given to like-minded tea companies that meet standards set by ETP itself. 

Humanitarian aid

When COVID hit, rural farming communities struggled. Many governments’ resources were focused on cities, where aid efforts could reach large numbers of people quickly. This meant that farming communities, particularly in the developing world, were often overlooked. In June of 2021 we partnered with ETP to help bring aid to those in need.

We donated $50,000 to ETP, who worked alongside the Indian Tea Association to purchase and distribute face masks, surgical gloves, and oxygen concentrators to farming communities. Our donation, combined with contributions from other tea companies, meant that over 300,000 pieces of PPE were procured, along with over 50,000 test kits and 20 oxygen concentrators. This equipment directly impacted 70,903 households – a massive boost for families and frontline workers who were battling to contain the virus. 

Climate impact

ETP is also helping us devise a plan to reduce our carbon footprint. Most of our green tea comes from China, where we work with some amazing organic, Rainforest Alliance-certified farms. We donated an additional $12,000 to ETP to join these farms, the Chinese Tea Marketing Association, and AC Perch’s – a Denmark-based tea company – to identify the sources of our carbon emissions and create a plan on how to reduce them. Interviews and surveys will be conducted in 30 different tea factories, including ones we buy from, laying the groundwork for a push to reduce emissions.

ETP’s work goes well beyond what we could list here. The organization and its partners envision a tea industry where workers earn a living wage, where empowered, safe communities offer equal opportunities for women, where deforestation is a thing of the past, and where the entire industry is net-zero. At Choice Organics, we are committed to helping them reach these goals. 

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