Sustainability agreement brewing

The tea industry took a significant step closer to sustainability this week as international conservation organisation Rainforest Alliance and the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) unveiled an agreement that will further their vision of an industry-wide commitment to sustainable agriculture.

The move will streamline the Rainforest Alliance certification process and complement the monitoring work the ETP undertakes against its own Standard. It will see many tea producers make the necessary improvements to achieve Rainforest Alliance certification, thus helping brands meet consumer demand for certified products.

The collaboration between the Rainforest Alliance and the ETP will build capacity within the tea industry to tackle sustainability issues from the grassroots upwards and through to certification. The organisations are jointly developing a programme to train producers in how to use ETP monitoring and self assessment tools as a key step should they decide to pursue Rainforest Alliance certification. The training will help producers learn about standards, internal organisation and farm management practices, introducing the concept of continual improvement to get producers on the path toward sustainability.

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