2023 Sustainability Perspectives: Planet

2 0 2 3 S u s t a i n a b i l i t y P e r s p e c t i v e s : P l a n e t

When we planned our first-of-its-kind sustainability perspectives survey in 2021, we embarked on a mission to understand how professionals within tea and related industries perceived sustainability. We discovered overwhelming apprehension about the risk of climate change on operations, cautious hope for the future, and an under-prioritization of sustainability when selecting teas to offer consumers.

But to truly grasp industry views on sustainability, we knew we had to do more than one survey. We needed to continue listening and tracking how collected data either yielded the same patterns or evolved into changing trends.

That’s why Firsd Tea again partnered with Tea & Coffee Trade Journal to survey professionals in tea and related industries to understand how they currently view sustainability efforts within the sector and their outlooks for the future. This report picks up on our last one to explore the following topics in depth.

Our hope is for this study to continue to outline a roadmap for understanding how the tea industry sees sustainability and can encourage more investigation into opportunities for achieving a more sustainable sector.




Progress on sustainability factors: Most respondents in 2023 viewed tea as performing very well or somewhat well regarding reducing its environmental impact (75%), workers’ rights (64%), gender equity (58%), and improving the livelihood of smallholder farmers (66%) when compared with coffee and cocoa sectors.

Worries about climate change: Most survey-takers remain worried about the effects of climate change on their business operations (80% in 2022 vs. 75% in 2023). Tea is still considered the most sensitive industry to the effects of climate change by most professionals in tea and related industries (93% in 2022 vs. 95% in 2023).

Organic certification: Most respondents in tea and related industries still agree Organic Certification is the most important standard to consumers (84% in 2022 vs. 88% in 2023). However, survey-takers now report Non-GMO Certification (58% in 2022 vs. 81% in 2023) as more important to consumers than Fair Trade (68% in 2022 and 2023).

Current state and the future: Most respondents in tea and related industries report improved outlooks on progress made in sustainability from 10 years ago, the current state of sustainability in tea, and the trajectory for the next 10 years.





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