Susan Gregory, category director, Unilever Foodsolutions, comments: “This is a significant step forward in the tea industry and we’re delighted to be at the forefront. We have been working to ensure sustainability of our East African tea estates for over 15 years and although there is still a long way to go before all our tea is certified, the launch of Lipton Kericho Estate Tea is a momentous start.
“We have started the certification process with our own tea estate in Kericho, as it demonstrates our commitment to the other suppliers we use. Although our brands will benefit from the partnership, our focus is to instil confidence in consumers who purchase our tea and support an industry that has suffered for many years from over-supply and under-performance.
“In Kericho we already provide employees and their dependants with free housing, healthcare and schooling and by 2015 up to two million people around the world will have benefited from better crops, better incomes and better livelihoods.”
The Rainforest Alliance is an international environment organisation with more than 20 years experience in the development and promotion of sustainable standards in forestry, agriculture and tourism. Rainforest Alliance certification has already had a significant impact on wildlife and workers on coffee and fruit farms in Latin America and Africa.
This is the first time the Rainforest Alliance’s rigorous standards, covering social and environmental management systems, ecosystem conservation, wildlife protection, water conservation, fair treatment of good working conditions, occupational health and safety, community relations, integrated crop management, soil management and conservation and integrated waste management, have been applied to tea estates.
Tensie Whelan, executive director of Rainforest Alliance comments: “Unilever’s commitment to mainstreaming sustainability in tea production is unique. We are delighted that they have chosen to work with Rainforest Alliance in what we believe will be a transformative journey to sustainability for the tea industry.”
Sustainability is deeply engrained in Kericho with 98% of its energy needs already coming from renewable sources. Unilever Tea Kenya (UTK) protects 13,500 hectares of natural forest, wetlands and grasslands and continues to plant indigenous trees (260,000 forest trees were planted in 6 years, with a further 320,000 forest trees donated to local communities). UTK is deeply committed to community involvement and currently sponsors over 50 local students through university.
The new Lipton Kericho Estate Tea will come directly from Unilever’s own 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified tea estate in Kericho, Kenya. The quality tea has been blended specifically for the UK market as black tea best enjoyed with milk. Each tagged teabag is individually wrapped in a fresh-seal branded envelope and is available in case size 12 x 100.
For further information on Lipton Kericho Estate Tea, please contact the Unilever Foodsolutions’ Careline on 0800 783 3728 (calls may be recorded) or visit www.liptonforthefuture.com. For information on the Rainforest Alliance visit www.rainforest-alliance.org