Major sustainability milestone for Yorkshire Tea as all products become Carbon Neutral following five years of supply chain projects

There’s cause for celebration this month for Yorkshire Tea as the team celebrates all products becoming 100% CarbonNeutral® from field to shelf. The brand has spent five years working on projects directly within its supply chain to benefit communities and help balance and reduce its carbon footprint.

Founded over 40 years ago by Taylors of Harrogate, Yorkshire Tea has grown from a small, regional tea brand to a household name that now makes more than five billion tea bags per year with exports to over 28 countries.

The brand’s journey to Carbon Neutrality began in 2015 in partnership with Natural Capital Partners. The first step was to work with an independent expert to measure and verify the volume of carbon emitted into the atmosphere by the business, not just in its UK operations, but at every stage of its supply chain from tea bush to supermarket shelf.

Yorkshire Tea then embarked upon a unique programme which supported projects directly within its tea supply chain, ensuring they balanced emissions while also supporting the tea farms and communities on which the brand depends.

Yorkshire Tea worked with TIST (The International Small Group and Tree Planting Programme) to encourage smallholder tea farmers to plant fruit and nut trees around tea gardens. These trees help the environment by soaking up carbon, but also provide valuable secondary incomes, along with shade and food. So far, this project has helped to plant over 1.5 million trees around the Mount Kenya region with over 4,000 tea farmers.

Alongside tree planting in Kenya, the brand is also supporting projects to distribute fuel efficient cookstoves to smallholder farmers in Malawi. These stoves use less fuel and reduce indoor air pollution while burning just as hot. This cookstove project contributes to balancing the carbon footprint by ensuring trees are preserved and so avoiding deforestation.

As well as offsetting within the supply chain, Yorkshire Tea has made efforts to reduce its carbon emissions overall. These include:

  • 100% of gas and electricity at its Harrogate HQ coming from renewable sources.
  • Onsite solar panels which generate enough energy to power 80 UK homes for a year.
  • Rainwater collection for flushing toilets and zero waste to landfill
  • Working with the Kenyan Tea Development Agency to assess energy efficiency in factories and find way to make savings

To celebrate the achievement, the brand is releasing a social media video which features its illustrator painting a 100% Carbon Neutral version of the iconic Yorkshire Tea pack artwork! The Carbon Neutral logo is now pride of place on most Yorkshire Tea products and will be appearing on Taylors of Harrogate coffee products which are also 100% Carbon Neutral.

Simon Hotchkin, Head of Sustainable Development at Taylors of Harrogate says:

“We’re proud to have achieved carbon neutrality across all our products, but we’re especially proud of the proper way in which we’ve done it, by setting up projects that not only offset carbon but improve lives and livelihoods directly with our farmers.

“We could easily have bought carbon credits from existing programmes, but we decided to create new projects that would provide long term benefits to tea producers.

“We’re passionate about making a positive difference in the world and this milestone is one of many we have in our sights, we are far from done!”

Tom Popple, Senior Manager Climate Change and Sustainability, from Natural Capital Partners said:

“Taylors is setting a new benchmark for how to make carbon neutral programmes really deliver value, both to the business, but also to build resilience for some of the communities around the world who are most impacted by climate change yet least responsible. This type of climate finance programme is critical in the toolkit of solutions to meet our global climate goals, transform our global economy and deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.”

For more information about carbon neutrality and Taylors other sustainability work, visit:

https://www.taylorsimpact.com/at-origin/climate-change/carbon-neutral-programme

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