East African Teas
Outstanding Tea In A Socially Responsible Way
We are dedicated to a long term commitment to creating absolutely perfect tasting tea but we also work hard to ensure that all our teas are sustainably sourced in a manner which respects both the environment and our tea producers and, for this reason, we are a long standing member of the Ethical Tea Partnership. In 2006, we introduced Fairtrade Teas to our foodservice range and in 2009 we began offering leaf teas from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms. Today, the majority of our black teas – including all of our signature Great Rift and Virunga teas – carry the Rainforest Alliance’s famous green frog seal and this means that these teas are grown in a way that helps protect the environment and farm workers and their families.
In February 2011, Pfunda, the Rwandan tea estate from which we source much of our black tea and which we owned at that time, became the country’s first Rainforest Alliance Certified™ tea estate and indeed the first company in Rwanda in any industry to achieve Rainforest Alliance certification. It is an achievement we are still extremely proud of, especially as the stringent and specific set of criteria balancing ecological, economic and social considerations were met in only 9 months.
“The first company in Rwanda in any industry to achieve Rainforest Alliance certification.”
Tensie Whelan, former president of the Rainforest Alliance said, “We are delighted that Rwanda’s Pfunda Tea Estate has become the first tea plantation in Rwanda to earn Rainforest Alliance certification. Pfunda Tea Estate has demonstrated its commitment to conserving the environment and improving the lives of farm workers, their families and the local community.”
It terms of treatment of workers and community relations we were commended for providing excellent housing facilities for workers, including social amenities like a staff club and children’s playgrounds. Very good relations with farmers and the neighbouring community and assistance with community development projects like building schools and water provisions and involvement of community in conservation education programs e.g. tree planting activities was also highlighted. We are also pleased to have received ethical accreditation from the following associations:
- Fairtrade (for Birchall English Breakfast Tea, Birchall Earl Grey Tea and various teas in our range of Enveloped Tagged Tea Bags)
- Rainforest Alliance (for Birchall Great Rift Breakfast Blend and Great Rift Decaf, Birchall Virunga Afternoon Tea, Virunga Earl Grey and Virunga Chai)
It goes without saying that we are extremely proud that we are able to grow and produce outstanding tea in a socially responsible way.
Pfunda was commended by the Rainforest Alliance and their audit report deemed that we were genuinely committed and passionate about Rainforest Alliance certification.
“We were commended for providing excellent housing facilities for workers, including social amenities like a staff club and children’s playgrounds.”
Key highlights we were commended for were the implementation of a documented ecosystem program and the planting of indigenous trees and identification of existing wildlife in the area, dedication and establishment of wildlife conservation areas.