If the phrase “you are what you eat” holds true, then perhaps the same standard can be applied when tea enters the equation. Tea is not only one of the most consumed beverages in the world, but behind the scenes, there are thousands of hard-working individuals who help set the high ethical standards of this ancient industry. No easy task, indeed. And there is no better example than the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), which works to improve the sustainability of tea by setting international social and environmental criteria for producers to follow. What lays at the crux of the ETP’s mission is something powerful, and that is to touch the lives of many in a positive way. Part of the reason why the partnership continues to prevail is due to the fact that it boasts nearly 30 of the most influential tea companies as members.

Tea has never been such a competitive and exciting enterprise to join, spawning unique opportunities for members of the tea community to get together and form new social partnerships focused outside on issues areas outside the industry. With our industry generating over $10 billion in sales today, imagine a “best-case scenario” for an ardent idealist, where 1% of total revenue is directed towards helping game-changers to find innovative solutions to global challenges. An example of this type of initiative exists in the form of the One Percent for the Plant, a global movement of companies, across all industries, donate at least 1% of their annual net revenues to environmental organizations worldwide. In 2012, One Percent for Profit global network claims to have contributed more than $100 million “to environmental preservation.”

A Call To Unite Tea’s Most Impassioned Leaders to Spark Social Change

8902606594_aa1ab260fe_zWith $100,000,000 generated from a new partnership, the tea industry could purchase a SMS phone for every citizen of Liberia. Within the last decade, the civil war plaguing Liberia has resulted in approximately 95% of its healthcare facilities decimated. Non-profits like Medic Mobile, operating successful healthcare programs in countries like Malawi, give people tools to empower themselves by managing their healthcare through text messaging. As a dyed-in-the-wool social enterprise, Tea of the People is proud to be giving a portion of our profits to support Medic Mobile this December.

In the West, we are fortunate enough to be able to drive to our local pharmacy for medication with near perfect certainty that whatever our doctors have prescribed us will be there. In places like Liberia, one must trek miles to a local clinic, usually only to find out their medication will not be in stock for weeks. If the tea industry came together to donate a portion of its profits to organizations like Medic Mobile to provide the resources to help just one village, the impact would be tremendous.  In addition, the industry would be aiding in the development of a model that is applicable to villages throughout the developing world. The purpose of illustrating the scenario is to inspire fellow tea entrepreneurs that we are an industry of larger and ever-growing size, possessing the resources to bring change.

The spirit of such lofty thinking is fundamental to Tea of the People.  Painted all over our website and packing is the phrase, our aim to support game-changing entrepreneurs and non-profits. Tea companies across the globe have established their own self-guiding principals, doing everything from purchasing carbon neutral credits to supporting local food banks and homeless shelters. But the truth is, no matter how many tea cups Tea of the People fills with our innovative blends, collaboration between our company and fellow tea companies will not only yield more impactful results, but a more conscious-driven model and criteria set applicable to industries across the business spectrum for corporate social responsibility.

As previously underscored, the tea industry is a fascinating space to operate in, experiencing tremendous growth. So, let’s come together to form a new partnership to empower leaders who are taking on our world’s most trying problems. We encompass both the human and financial capital not only to continue to set the highest ethical standards in our industry, but demonstrate leadership outside of it as well.

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