Issues facing the herbal tea industry
Herbal tea sourcing is largely fragmented. There are more than 300 different ingredients used in herbal teas, originating in more than 100 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. This makes regulating the industry and ensuring quality a challenge. Throughout the herbal tea supply chain, there are many unsustainable practices such as poor working conditions, endangerment of biodiversity, loss of cultural knowledge, misuse of agrochemicals, a lack of quality control and over-harvesting of wild collected crops. Most herbal teas are a blend of different ingredients, typically from small-scale producers. Educating and training all of these different stakeholders in sustainable practices takes time and resources.
What UTZ is doing
UTZ partnered with the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) to address these issues and together launched the program in 2015. UEBT has years of experience in this sector at a global level and an assurance approach that can handle the large number of different herbs sourced through fragmented supply chains at low volumes. Their approach covers both cultivated and wild collected crops.
UTZ brings its traceability system, assurance downstream the supply chain, the UTZ label, and connections from its existing tea and Rooibos program. The partnership aims to help create a more sustainable herbal tea industry by promoting biodiversity, conservation practices, a more traceable supply chain and long-term relationships between producers and buyers. Practices which will ultimately lead to better wages and a better life for herbal tea farmers, collectors and workers around the world.
For more information, download UTZs two pager on the herbal program.
At Red Seal we believe you can make products that taste great and be kind to the planet in the process. UTZ is a worldwide programme for sustainable farming. We work together with UTZ and UEBT to protect the environment and improve the living conditions of farmers,
workers and their families. Our blends range from 50%-90% UTZ certified. We think this is a good start, but are working towards making our blends even more sustainable in the future.