There are 4.24 million people in Ireland and three million of them drink tea, giving Ireland one of the highest per capita consumption levels of tea in the world! We drink up to five cups a day and it’s the age-old solution to every dilemma.
At Lyons we pride ourselves on bringing you the best quality tea and the finest blends. The great thing about Lyons Tea is that it is a completely natural product, with nothing added but sun, rain and wind!
Make Tea Make a Difference
Unilever, the world’s largest tea grower and parent company for the Lyons Tea brand, is revolutionising the tea industry by ensuring its entire tea supply will come from sustainable sources.
Already 50% of the tea supply for Lyons comes from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, and by 2012 all the plantations which supply Lyons will be certified. Rainforest Alliance is an independent international conservation organization which works to ensure a sustainable future for people, wildlife, and the planet.
Keith Farrell, Marketing Manager for Lyons Tea comments, “We’re very excited about starting our journey with Rainforest Alliance. By sourcing all of our tea according to the principles of sustainability we are making a real commitment to ensure better crops, better incomes and better livelihoods for up to two million people globally who grow and pluck tea. “
Based on experience with other crops from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, it is expected that tea farmers will reduce their costs, increase their productivity and quality and so be in a position to achieve a better price at auction. The company’s plantation in Kericho, Kenya, was the first in the world to become Rainforest Alliance Certified™.
He continued, “Lyons Tea will still taste the same, and with no extra cost passed to the consumer it is a fantastic added benefit and yet another reason for consumers to enjoy their favourite tea”.
Unilever has been working to raise environmental and social standards on its East African tea estates for 10 years by monitoring aspects of sustainable tea production and improving performance on key indicators in areas that include social and human capital, product value, the local economy, soil health, pest management, and biodiversity. In Kericho, Kenya, and Mufindi, Tanzania, Lyons Tea provides free housing, company primary and secondary schools, nursery schools and employee welfare services such as clean water supplies, hospitals and health centres.
The company’s approach to sustainability does not only focus on the growers of its crops. It also protects 13,500 hectares of natural forest and has a continuous planting programme for indigenous trees. They have planted over 500,000 forest trees in Kenya, and an impressive 98% of its energy needs come from renewable sources. There is also support for local communities such as donating computers to schools and providing scholarships to the local children.
Following the certification of Kericho in June 2007, certification of Lyons Tea supplier plantations has already begun. The Rainforest Alliance is now working to help 450,000 individual plantations in Kenya from which Lyons Tea sources its tea towards achieving certification, followed by thousands more in South-East Asia and other countries.
Currently, half of the tea in Lyons Tea Original Blend tea bags comes from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ plantations and consumers can already buy packs from certified sources which carry the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal in shops. By 2010 the tea used in Lyons Original Blend will be fully Rainforest Alliance Certified™ and by 2012, all Lyons Tea will only come from farms that meet their standards.
Lyons Tea will be promoting the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal on its packs through a programme of above the line and below the line activity including television and press advertising and in store sampling activity.
The Rainforest Alliance is an independent, non-profit organisation with 20 years experience in the development and promotion of standards in sustainable forestry, farming and tourism.
The Rainforest Alliance is a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Network, a coalition of NGOs in developing countries that has certified farms growing coffee, bananas, citrus, cocoa and other crops. Over all crops, more than one million farmers, farm workers and their families benefit from this collaboration. The programme includes small family farms, cooperatives and large plantations for a combined total area of 225,500 hectares.
The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal appears on products that comply with the standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network and should not be confused with any other certification mark or label.
Only tea farms that meet specific and holistic standards balancing all aspects of production – including protecting the environment, the rights and welfare of workers and the interests of coffee growing communities – are awarded the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal. On Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, farm workers are treated with respect and have access to clean water, medical care and education for themselves and their families. Sustainable farming practices also help ensure that natural resources are conserved for future generations.
Each farm in the scheme is inspected by local experts at least once a year, and farms must continue to demonstrate progress in order to hold on to their certified status.
For more information visit www.rainforest-alliance.org