Author: Corina Date Posted:19 September 2014
These days buying our regular groceries can become a little confusing when we are searching for the most ethical and sustainable products. For many of us, it is about knowing that those who produce the goods that we purchase are being treated and remunerated fairly.
At The Tea Centre, we believe in ethically produced teas that stem from sustainable farming practices. This is why, over many years, we have sought to develop relationships with other like-minded businesses and organisations from around the world.
One of The Tea Centre's major suppliers, is Sri Lankan based Mabroc Tea. Through their Mabroc Kelani Valley Tea, they were the first to become a signatory brand of the United Nations Global Compact. The principles of this scheme champions ethical work practices in the fields of human rights, labour work place rights, the environment, and anti-corruption. These principles mirror many of The Tea Centre's own beliefs on these subjects and so forming a strong working partnership came easily. Teas supplied by Marbroc include our English Breakfast (organic), Prince of Wales, Scottish Breakfast, Yorkshire Blend and The Tea Centre OP (organic).
Another such partnership The Tea Centre has formed is with the Small Farmers Project in South India. The Peermade Development Society, a non-government organisation, was created after the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kanjirapally had it brought to his attention the difficulties suffered by the small farmers at the hands of the more dominant plantations.
The Small Farmers Project was conceived and became an ambitious project for the Peermade Development Society, Sahyadri Organic Tea Farmers Consortium, and Tea Promoters India.
To find out more read our blog: South Indian Organic Teas.
As well as supporting ethical farming, another principle that we adhere to is ensuring European Union sanctions on the quality of our tea leaves. Because the EU demands only the highest standards when it comes to certifying tea, their systems only allow for minimal quantities of pesticide and insecticide residues. To find out more, read our blog: Where Does Our Tea Come From?
Furthermore, over the last year or so, many regular customers will have noticed the increasing range of organic teas we now carry. These teas are organically tested and certified by government bodies around the world and reach EU organic produce regulation.
People often ask what the difference is between just ‘organic’ and ‘certified organic’. As we know, labelling a product ‘organic’ means that no chemicals have been used in its production. This is easily proven in farming environments where they will have papers to document and support their organic farming practices, and can therefore label their product ‘certified organic’. Yet once the product leaves the farm, it may no longer be considered certified unless the logistics that carry the product are proven to be certified and have only carried other certified organic products. So in most instances a ‘certified organic’ product will generally become only ‘organic’ after leaving the farm gate.
As the popularity in ethical and organic products continues to rise, The Tea Centre will also continue to strive to source teas that fit in with these values. So as you sit down to enjoy a satisfying cup of any of these teas, you can also be satisfied with the knowledge your purchase is going a long way in supporting ethical tea farming.