Trustea verifies over 608 million kgs of domestic tea as sustainable and safe
Chennai: trustea, a locally developed and owned Indian sustainability code and verification system for the Indian tea sector, today announced that it has verified 608 million kgs of tea till February 2019 , which is almost half (46%) of the total tea produced in the country annually. trustea supports small holders and estates in improving the competitiveness of tea gardens by positively influencing the practices and scale of production, farm organization, processing, new technologies and supply chain development.
trustea has been creating a positive impact by engaging with nearly 49,000 smallholder tea growers, 3 lakh female workers and 2.5 lakh male tea workers, and certifying over 460 estates and bought leaf factories for demonstrating progress and improvements under the good agricultural and manufacturing practices of the trustea Code. The Code has reported an 38% year-on-year increase in 2018, indicating a clear transition towards changing production and business practices in the industry.
Commenting on the achievement, Rajesh Bhuyan, trustea General Manager,said, “A rising demand for food safety and sustainable produce is making trustea increasingly relevant to the Indian context. The Code ensures long-term sustainability of the industry, by improving the tea growing practices of the fast-growing smallholder segment and mainstreaming the bought leaf factories and small estates into the sustainability fold.”
Tata Global Beverages, one of the key partners of the trustea program,has committed to source 100% of its tea as trustea-verified for the Indian market. Puneet Das, Marketing Head, Tata Global Beverages said, “Indian consumers are becoming conscious of what they buy and its impact on the environment. The brands who take the first steps towards sustainability will not only be seen as 'responsible' but can also turn 'sustainability' towards a tangible competitive advantage.”
Highlighting the need to adopt sustainable practices in the tea sector, S. Soundararajan, Director – Tea Development at The Tea Board of India, said, “India produces about 1,325 million kg of tea annually, making it the most consumed beverage. Competition in the domestic market, shortage of labour in the plantations and adverse effects of climate change are the major concerns for maintaining tea quality, which is essential for consumer health.”
trustea is working with smallholder tea growers, bought leaf factories, estates and packers to address some of the key challenges in the industry including poor working conditions, health and safety of tea workers, water pollution, food safety, soil erosion and contamination. Achievements on these aspects have ushered the Code into its next phase, where the focus will be on consolidation and continuous improvement.
The trustea Program is currently convened by IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative (www.idhsustainabletrade.com) and supported by Hindustan Unilever Limited, Tata Global Beverages Limited and Wagh Bakri Tea Group, and as well as Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations (CCPA), United Planters Association of South India (UPASI), Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) and over 460 verified producers across the country.