T Ching is happy to share this invitation with you for an upcoming event of interest to tea enthusiasts.

Tea Business Sustainability:

Improving Performance and Value in the Tea Industry

A Free Webinar 

5pm Jan 17 PST (Los Angeles time)

Zoom Link to Register

Copyright 2021 Sustainability CPE Inc.

“Sustainable Business” and “Impact Investing” have rather suddenly become important in the global economy, creating a restless sea of concern about the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of companies.   Public companies and now many private ones are being publicly rated on their sustainability performance, and investors are using those ratings to make decisions where to put their money.   Lenders and insurers are also looking hard at the key metrics for risky practices and products.   Meanwhile most people are wondering what is really meant by sustainability?   

Tea companies large and small are in the same situation.   Some have already made significant efforts and reports on their sustainability performance.  But that’s still uncommon and that’s a problem.  Investors and bankers are starting to ask for hard company data on key sustainability metrics because they now know how they affect profits and risk.  Companies that don’t know what to say look bad.

Guidance is here.   The first free webinar on Tea Business Sustainability will be presented on January 17, 2021, at 5 pm PST (Los Angeles time) and is open to all.   Two experts, one in premium tea and one in sustainable business, will present the key metrics for the tea industry and case studies of successful companies.  

“Sustainability” was introduced to the world at the UN Earth Summit in 1992.  Soon activists and some investors started asking large public companies for data on their environmental inputs and outputs.   These requests proliferated, causing the new problem of “reporting fatigue” because there were no standards for data, so companies could not be compared.

In 2000 the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) was founded to create standard metrics for reporting on sustainability performance, covering Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) topics.   Over the next 10 years thousands of companies published reports using the GRI standards.   

In 2012 the S&D Tea Company made a public commitment to sustainability and soon published its first report using the GRI standards.   S&D’s 2019 report is available now online.   Other reports using GRI are available from Kelani Valley Plantations, Ceylon Tea, and Dilmah Tea in the GRI Sustainability Disclosure Database.  

But there remain concerns that the GRI standards are still not standardized enough for investors who need to compare companies.   In response, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) was founded in 2011.   SASB created a general set of standards for industry, and then specific standards for 77 industry sectors.   

The tea industry is covered in two sectors:   Agriculture, and Non-Alcoholic Beverages.    The metrics for each sector are shown in the table below.  Each company will determine which metrics are important to them.  

The key is to examine them all carefully and then create a framework to select, measure, manage and report the important metrics.   At the least, report them internally if not publicly.   These are the risks that have been identified as most important to investors in these sectors.   Know what to say about how they do or do not affect your business!

 It is the intention of SASB that investors, bankers and insurers use these metrics to evaluate companies.   Over 90% of the Fortune 1000 corporations are using the SASB metrics for their sectors, and this includes evaluating their suppliers.   This is causing many smaller companies to study and start using the standards so they can stand out as competent suppliers.   

Tea companies depend on the sustainability of tea farms and the production and logistics of tea.  The SASB standards are the recommended starting point for the journey to a sustainable business.   In the upcoming webinar, the speakers will review the metrics and several case studies and offer practical suggestions about the value of the metrics to four segments of the tea industry (mass-market, market premium, specialty, and rare).   

The webinar is produced by Burt Hamner and Jeffrey McIntosh.  Hamner is the president of Sustainability CPE Inc., offering online education about sustainability accounting.  He has 25 years’ experience internationally, primarily in Asia, teaching business managers about sustainable profits and risk management.   McIntosh is a Pu-erh Tea Master and adviser to investors interested in the tea industry.  His Youtube channel offers education about tea.    Webinar registration is free.