What is the future for tea? Coalition launches Tea 2030 project to secure a long-term future for the industry
What is the future for tea?
Coalition launches Tea 2030 project to secure a long-term future for the industry
A coalition of leading businesses and organisations from across the tea value chain have come together to secure a thriving long-term future for the industry. Through the new Tea 2030 project, the group will come together to understand the key challenges facing the sector to 2030, and develop creative innovations that will build a successful and sustainable sector across the globe.
Tea 2030 is a partnership between some of the most influential organisations in the tea value chain. It will be steered by Tata Global Beverages, Unilever, Yorkshire Tea, Finlays, the Ethical Tea Partnership, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade International. The International Tea Committee will also be engaged with this initiative. It is facilitated and managed by global sustainability non-profit, Forum for the Future.
Why do we need Tea 2030?
The global tea sector faces a host of different future challenges, including climate change, increased demand for energy and water, competition for land use, and rapidly changing markets for tea:
- Tea as a commodity. Tea is not currently traded in the same way as other commodities, but some experts think it could be by 2030. This would increase market transparency, but also possibly lead to speculation and thus the volatility seen in other markets in the past few years.
- Competition for land and climate change could result in tea plantations being converted to other uses. Between 2005 and 2010, 13,000 hectares of land in Indonesia has been converted from tea to other purposes such as growing rubber, palm oil and fruit.
- Consumer trends. Consumers in developing markets (Brazil, China, India) are more than twice as likely as those in developed markets (Germany, UK, US) to buy products because of social and environment benefits (51% to 22% respectively), and pay more for sustainable products (60% to 26%), according to a recent Regeneration Roadmap study.
It is critical that the industry responds innovatively to these trends and challenges – yet many require collaborative action as they are too big for one organisation to tackle alone. Tea 2030 has been designed to bring the power of the entire tea sector together to do this.
Dr Sally Uren, Deputy Chief Executive of Forum for the Future, said: “Through our past projects in sectors as diverse as tourism and shipping, we have seen how exploration of different possible futures can be a powerful way of generating a shared understanding of sustainability issues throughout entire value chains. In turn, this shared understanding can generate new solutions to systemic problems that are just too big for one organisation to tackle alone. We have high hopes that Tea 2030 will deliver practical action that will secure a sustainable and successful future for the global tea industry”.
Michael Pennant-Jones, Group Sustainable Business Manager for Finlays said, “Tea is one of those products that people have great emotional and social attachment to. Finlays is excited to see so many people and organisations come together who are all keen to ensure a positive future for the tea industry. This unique project bodes well for a sustainable future at a crucial time for a tea industry that is facing many economic, environmental and social challenges.”
How will it work?
Tea 2030 will use a pioneering ‘futures’ and innovation process designed by Forum for the Future to open up debate, tackle tricky issues and generate innovative solutions for the future of the industry. The project will share its insight and vision widely – including the key trends affecting the industry and its agreed ‘innovation platforms’. These platforms will be launched at the end of this phase of the project (September 2013) and will develop practical solutions for the industry to take forward.
Do you want to be involved?
The coalition is interested in hearing from other organisations and businesses involved in the tea value chain who would like to get involved with the project. Contact Madeleine Lewis at Forum for the Future (contact details below), to find out more.
You can follow progress of the project via Twitter @Tea2030, or email Madeleine Lewis to join the Tea 2030 e-news list.
Madeleine Lewis, Senior Advisor, Forum for the Future
+44 (0) 7966 042535 / firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES TO EDITORS
About Forum for the Future
Forum for the Future is an independent non-profit who work globally with business and government to inspire new thinking, build creative partnerships and develop practical solutions for a more sustainable future. We share what we’ve learned so that others can benefit – and act.
Working with pioneering partners, we transform the essential systems of food, energy and finance to secure a more fulfilling life for us and future generations. For more information about Forum for the Future, see http://www.forumforthefuture.org
Interviews can be arranged for journalists.
A wider working group will be involved in workshops and research, feeding in their perspectives and ideas. There will be around 30 organisations and individuals represented in this group.
What questions will the project explore?
- How should the sector respond to key future challenges, such as climate change?
- How can the sector engage creatively with consumers on issues like waste and health?
- What is the business case for sustainable value chains?
- How can we create more value within the chain and rethink value chains, such as new financial models?
- How can we ensure the economic viability of the sector and what does this look like (in the face of cheap beverages and increasing input prices)?
- What could new developing and emerging markets look like and how can we engage with both consumers and producers there?
- How can we ensure sustainable livelihoods and a fairer deal for smallholders, enabling them to diversify?
- Where do tensions lie in the value chain?
More information on the Regeneration Roadmap’s study of consumer perceptions about sustainability can be found here: http://bit.ly/UOmsJa
For more on the land conversion from tea in Indonesia, see (requires Google Translate): http://bit.ly/SmLZMo