Yorkshire Tea has announced that all of its products have now become 100% Carbon Neutral, “from field to shelf”.
The brand spent five years working on projects directly within its supply chain to benefit communities and help balance and reduce its carbon footprint.
The brand’s journey to Carbon Neutrality began in 2015 in partnership with Natural Capital Partners. It said the first step was to work with an independent expert to measure and verify the volume of carbon emitted into the atmosphere by the business, not just in its UK operations, but at every stage of its supply chain from tea bush to supermarket shelf.
Yorkshire Tea said it then embarked upon a “unique programme” which supported projects directly within its tea supply chain, ensuring they balanced emissions while also supporting the tea farms and communities on which the brand depends.
Yorkshire Tea worked with TIST (The International Small Group and Tree Planting Programme) to encourage smallholder tea farmers to plant fruit and nut trees around tea gardens.
These trees help the environment by soaking up carbon, but also provide valuable secondary incomes, along with shade and food. So far, the project has helped to plant over 1.5 million trees around the Mount Kenya region with over 4,000 tea farmers.
As well as offsetting within the supply chain, Yorkshire Tea has made efforts to reduce its carbon emissions overall. These include:
- 100% of gas and electricity at its Harrogate HQ coming from renewable sources.
- Onsite solar panels which generate enough energy to power 80 UK homes for a year
- Rainwater collection for flushing toilets and zero waste to landfill
- Working with the Kenyan Tea Development Agency to assess energy efficiency in factories and find way to make savings
Simon Hotchkin, head of sustainable development at Taylors of Harrogate, said: “We’re proud to have achieved carbon neutrality across all our products, but we’re especially proud of the proper way in which we’ve done it, by setting up projects that not only offset carbon but improve lives and livelihoods directly with our farmers.
“We could easily have bought carbon credits from existing programmes, but we decided to create new projects that would provide long term benefits to tea producers. We’re passionate about making a positive difference in the world and this milestone is one of many we have in our sights, we are far from done.”
Tom Popple, senior manager climate change and sustainability, from Natural Capital Partners, added: “Taylors is setting a new benchmark for how to make carbon neutral programmes really deliver value, both to the business, but also to build resilience for some of the communities around the world who are most impacted by climate change yet least responsible.
“This type of climate finance programme is critical in the toolkit of solutions to meet our global climate goals, transform our global economy and deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.”