hand of a man holding a single organic green tea leaf in an organic tea garden in Assam India

We all heard of greenwashing, a marketing technique used to persuade customers that a company’s products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly. We often think that because a product is labeled as organic, then it is better. However, labels can also be deceptive when the chain of production is unethical.

Organic is better, yes, when the supply chain of production is traceable and transparent, as far as greenwashing goes, choosing a tea that is grown following ethical and organic production is better for you, the planet and the people.

What is classified as organic tea ?

Organic products are grown following specific farming practices. Although they may vary worldwide, the principle stays the same: no pesticides, fertilizers or other harmful, unnatural and genetically modified components should enter the production cycle.

For the USDA, a product is classified as organic when it was “grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest 1 

For the EU, a product is labeled as organic when at least 95% of its ingredients come from organic farming.2

Organic tea is produced without the use of any man made pesticide, herbicides and fertilizers, before, during and after its production. Choosing organic, loose leaf tea should be the number one criteria for your business, as the leaves are only washed when the final consumer pours hot water on them, unleashing harmful chemicals that they unknowingly will end up consuming.

Choosing to buy an organic product also means that the tea garden worker, who spends long hours standing in a chemical free garden, is not putting his or her health at risk by inhaling or having his or her skin in contact with harmful chemicals. More often than not, mass producing tea estates and companies with heavy usage of chemicals fail to provide proper protections for the workers, which threatens their health in the long run.

Are certifications the only way to prove that a product is organic ?

Although certified products might be a safer option for buyers, they come at a cost that many small tea growers cannot afford, even when their products are grown following traditional farming practices that are ultimately organic.  

Eteakol promotes sustainable farming practices, and products that are ethically made, we chose the farmers whose products we source and offer on our platform following strict requirements based on the UN SGD17 goals for preserving life on land and below water. 

By offering single garden origin teas from small scale producing farmers, we are able to keep our supply chain 100% transparent and build long-lasting relationships with them, promoting sustainable business practices. 

Meaning, a more open discussion about their farming methods, ensuring that the products we offer are grown following organic criteria, respectful of the environment and the people producing them, making our platform fair and ethical.

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What does sustainable tea mean?

The mass market production of tea doesn’t leave much room for sustainability. This industry counting for nearly 200 billion US dollars in 2020 produces the second most drunk beverage in the world. So where does sustainable tea come into the equation of change ?

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