Lipton Tea  and Rainforest Alliance commit to protecting the environment

Lipton, the worldâ??s best-selling tea brand, is revolutionising the tea industry by committing to purchase all its tea from sustainable, ethical sources. The brand has asked the international environmental NGO, Rainforest Alliance, to start by certifying their tea farms in Africa. The Rainforest Alliance works with individuals, communities and companies whose livelihoods depend on the land to reduce environmental impacts and increase social and economic benefits.

Lipton’s own plantations in East Africa such as Kericho in Kenya and Mufindi in Tanzania, as well as third-party tea estates have been working together since 2002 to ensure compliance with the Unilever sustainable agriculture guidelines and the Ethical Tea Partnership criteria. In May 2007, Unilever became the first company to commit to sourcing all its tea in a sustainable manner. Through the Rainforest Alliance, Lipton and its parent company, Unilever aim to have all Lipton Yellow Label tea bags sold in Western Europe certified by 2010 and all Lipton tea bags sold globally by 2015.

Setting standards for tea drinkers around the world

â??This decision by Lipton and Unilever is the first steps to transforming the tea industry, which has been suffering for many years from oversupply and underperformance,â? comments Claire Wilson, Brand Development Manager for Lipton South Africa. â??Globally the company has decided to follow this path, as they believe that it is the right thing to do for the people who drink our tea, as well as the people along the entire length of our supply chain.â?

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The Rainforest Alliance pioneered the practice of setting standards and certifying well-managed forest nearly 20 years ago, and developed comprehensive principles and standards for sustainable agriculture shortly thereafter. Rainforest Alliance was chosen by Unilever because of its experience in crops such as coffee and fruit, its exacting standards and the comprehensiveness of its certification process, which covers social, economic and environmental factors.

Certified tea is expected to command higher prices

These include water conservation, wildlife protection, fair treatment and good working conditions for employees, as well as soil management and conservation. This type of certification will enable tea growers to improve the quality of their tea, increase their competitiveness and ensure a more sustainable income stream. Based on Rainforest Alliance experience with other crops, it is expected that certified tea will command higher prices than current average prices paid at auction.

Through this project Lipton and its parent company Unilever will ensure that they act in a sustainable way, maintain a high-quality product, as well as protect and improve the natural environment and livelihoods of workers and local communities.