And the (tea sustainability) survey says…

I am writing this blog while attending the 12th North American Tea Conference in Miami, Florida, which is taking place for the first time in the United States since 2019 (due to the Covid-19 pandemic). This year’s NATC has been organised by the Tea Association of the USA (the annual event alternates being organised by Tea USA and the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada).

The 2023 Gold Medal Tea Awards and the Sustainability Awards will be announced at the Chairman’s Dinner (T&CTJ will provide a list of winners and a review of the NATC after the event concludes). The Gold Medal Tea Awards celebrate teas from key producing countries, while the Sustainability Awards honour sustainability-focused projects and initiatives taking place at origin. Sustainability is definitely the theme of the week as the results of the second tea sustainability survey – Firsd Tea 2023 Sustainability Perspectives – have been tabulated and the results are now available.

Just a quick reminder, earlier this year, T&CTJ, in partnership with Firsd Tea, the US subsidiary of Zhejiang Tea Group, conducted a follow up to our late 2021/early 2022 tea sustainability survey. [For every completed response, a contribution was donated to 1% for the Planet, an international organisation whose members contribute at least 1% of their annual sales to environmental causes.] The original survey aimed to understand how professionals within tea and related industries (coffee, cocoa, wine) currently view sustainability efforts within the sector and their outlooks for the future. The survey picks up from our last one, exploring the following topics in depth:

  • Progress on sustainability factors
  • Worries about climate change
  • Organic certification
  • Current state and the future

We hope that this study offers insight into how the tea industry sees sustainability and encourages more investigation into opportunities for achieving a more sustainable tea sector.

I will not detail the full survey findings in this space but will touch upon a few. The survey revealed that most respondents now have an improved outlook on progress made in sustainability in the last ten years. They also view present-day efforts more favourably and predict an increased improvement trajectory in the next 10 years.

Furthermore, a majority of respondents in tea and related industries still agree that Organic Certification is the most important standard to consumers (84% in 2022 vs. 88% in 2023). However, the survey finds that now Non-GMO Certification is more important to consumers (58% in 2022 vs.81% in 2023) than Fair Trade (68% in 2022 and 2023).

To access the full report, Firsd Tea 2023 Sustainability Perspectives, click here.

If you have any questions or comments about the 2023 sustainability survey, please do not hesitate to contact me as we (T&CTJ and Firsd Tea) would welcome the feedback.

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