The challenge

Tea is enjoyed around the world and has a huge economic and social significance, supporting the lives and wellbeing of millions of people, but its future is at risk. The tea industry faces unprecedented challenges; it is grown in some of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, it faces competition for land, energy and water, and must cope with changing trade patterns and consumer habits. 

We want to deliver a sustainable tea industry, from crop to cup. To do that, we need the cooperation and collaboration across the tea industry, from pickers and packers to producers and purchasers. Put simply, the challenges facing tea are too big for one organisation to handle alone.

Enter Tea 2030

Led by Forum for the Future, Tea 2030 brings together the leading organisations to help create a sustainable future for tea. Tea 2030 is formed of organisations representing the full breadth of the sector, including commercial businesses, NGOs, trade associations and academics. By identifying the challenges affecting tea and developing innovative solutions, we will build a successful and sustainable sector across the globe.

Tea: A Hero Crop

We don’t just want to save tea, we believe in the potential to make tea a ‘hero crop’ – not only a great product for years to come, but one that secures livelihoods and landscapes and closely connects producers and consumers. We want every cup of tea to better the lives of the people who produce it, improve the environment where it is grown, and contribute to a thriving industry. To be a hero crop we need to recognise the contribution of everyone, at every stage of the tea supply chain.

The story so far

Since Tea 2030 was formed in 2013, we have made considerable progress. Having identified social, economic and environmental trends, we produced a report outlining four possible futures for tea and the challenges we need to overcome to ensure the best of those futures is realised. 

We are currently working on the following ‘collaboration platforms’ from which to drive progress:



Sustainable Landscapes - helping growers focus on the most relevant environmental and social issues to deliver tangible benefits to local communities




Market Mechanisms - ensuring value creation for all those involved in the industry




Engaging Consumers - building awareness of the need for sustainable tea amongst those with the purchase power

Tea 2030 Roadmap - development of a roadmap tool to set out the vision, goals, targets and actions needed towards a sustainable global tea Industry
Tea 2030 NA - this is being developed to address key sustainability issues specific to the North American tea industry.



We have started building programmes that will address these areas, including creating a toolkit to be used at a local landscape level and setting up a producer group in East Africa. Members of Tea 2030 are collaborating on these and a range of other projects, sharing knowledge and implementing new innovative approaches, to bring the three platforms to life. We have reached audiences globally communicating the challenges that the sector faces and the solutions we have identified, inspiring a number of companies to develop their own sustainability action plans.

How to get involved?

Tea 2030 is calling anyone involved in tea to meet the challenge – workers, growers, processors, traders, retailers and consumers – if you’re part of the tea industry in any way, you need to be involved in this next, exciting phase of Tea 2030.

Click here for more information on membership, or contact Jenny Lopez


The Tea 2030 CEO group is formed of experienced, senior leaders from some of the world’s largest businesses in the sector. Responsible for the strategic direction of Tea 2030, and guided by advice from our steering group, it will drive forward Tea 2030 by championing collective action. Acting as a leadership group for the whole sector, the CEO group will provide a horizon scanning function; spotlighting issues, understanding what’s driving challenges and then galvanising action. It will also drive wider change across the industry, for example by influencing policy. Lastly, the group will develop a roadmap showing how individual and collective action will deliver tea as a hero crop by 2030.

Don’t just take our word for it

“We must work with all the key stakeholders to explore all the major factors that might influence and shape the future sustainability of the tea industry. This is why we are taking a leading role in the Future of Tea 2030, collaborating with others to achieve meaningful and lasting change, so that we are all around for the next 260 years.”

Ron Mathison, Group MD of James Finlay Limited

“We are proud to be part of Tea 2030 and believe this important collaboration is key to improving the livelihoods of millions of people in the sector and building a more sustainable future for tea.”

Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Unilever

Related links:

Enjoyed this? Here are some other Futures projects you might like to read:

  • Fashion Futures 2025 - using futures techniques to develop global scenarios for a sustainable fashion industry
  • The Five Capitals - looking at the five types of sustainable capital
  • Tourism 2023 - helping the travel and tourism industry plan for a sustainable future

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