Lipton's to Use Only Sustainable Tea Leaves

Unilever, the world's biggest tea company, has just made a commitment to buy all of its tea from sustainable, ethical sources. This includes Lipton, the world's best-selling tea brand, and PG Tips, the UK's No.1 tea. These two will be the first to be converted to certified status by 2010 in Europe and the world by 2015. They have asked the Rainforest Alliance to start with the certification of its tea producers in East Africa, to Rainforest Alliance standards. Eventually, certification will extend to thousands of farms in Africa, South America and South East Asia. Unilever buys 12% of the world's black tea now so the scale of this conversion will be revolutionary for the tea industry. The certification process covers social, economic and environmental factors including water conservation, wildlife protection,soil management and conservation. It will mean better working conditions and a higher income for one million tea workers in Africa initially and another million in the world. Based on Rainforest Alliance experience with other crops, it is expected that certified tea will yield higher prices at auction for farmers. Unilever estimates that farmers will receive around $2.69 million more for their tea by 2010 and around $6.71 million more by 2015. :: Rainforest Alliance

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