Honest Tea & Fair Trade USA Team Up to Support Tea Growers

Honest Tea was the first company to market bottled tea that is Fair Trade Certified. This week, the company announced that it has chosen to work with Fair Trade USA as its certification partner. The aim of this collaboration is to increase the impact of the organization’s work as well as to include more farmers, farm workers, and tea pickers around the world.

According to Honest Tea co-founder and CEO Seth Goldman, “We’ve been a longtime investor in the Fair Trade seal, and the values it represents. We endorse Fair Trade USA’s Fair Trade for All vision, with its commitment to expand the reach and impact of Fair Trade by broadening the kinds of growers who can be certified, while maintaining the rigorous standards for working conditions and community development premiums.”

The company purchased over 300,000 pounds of Fair Trade Certified tea in 2011. They also returned over $100,000 to tea gardens, accounting for 15 percent of Fair Trade USA’s total community development premiums in the tea category. Honest Tea has partnered with Fair Trade USA since 2003 to source its Fair Trade ingredients and has doubled its purchases every year since 2009.

This means that the partnership has enabled Fair Trade farmers and farm workers to earn over $250,000 in community development premiums to date. Honest Tea specifically has helped in funding education, healthcare, small farmer, and farm worker safety as well as organic certification projects in farming communities across the globe. There are four projects that highlight this commitment in various parts of India and China:

  • Makaibari (India): The community upgraded the library, provided stipends for university study, and received health and hospitality training for villagers.
  • Wuyuan Xitou (China): Street lights in the Sha Sue village were installed to provide additional worker safety and roads leading to remote tea gardens in Qing Shi and Shang Xi were repaired.
  • United Nilgiri Tea estates (India):  Local school lab facilities and a new three-story, eight-classroom multimedia center were built, and computers for schools and buses were purchased, helping to ensure that children who live up to 30km away can attend every day.
  • Dazhangshan (China): Fair Trade funds were invested in organic agriculture training and education; high school and university scholarships for children of farm workers were established, and a new school with library, computer lab and student dormitory was built.

Encouraging Fair Trade means improving the lives of countless tea farmers and workers. Fair Trade means more wages for tea workers. Most tea pickers tend to be women and Fair Trade makes a huge difference in their lives and through such company initiatives, the younger generation are more likely to stay in the profession.

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net