Tea, the most popular drink in the world after water, is grown in over 50 countries worldwide. Together, China, India, Kenya and Sri Lanka account for almost three quarters of worldwide tea production. The many ingredients for herbal teas are grown all over the world.
Why do we need sustainable tea?
The tea sector serves millions of customers worldwide, and employs hundreds of thousands of workers. But tea producers face a variety of challenges. For example, climate change is a key issue in many countries including Malawi, with erratic rainfall leading to lower productivity. In Sri Lanka, tea farmers often struggle to access international markets for certified tea. And in many tea producing regions, for example the Assam region in India, there are ongoing challenges with social issues such as working and living conditions.
By becoming UTZ certified, tea producers learn new techniques to farm more effectively, protect their workers and the environment, and ultimately earn a better, more sustainable income.
The UTZ Code of Conduct for tea was developed in partnership with local and global experts and stakeholders including farmers, local tea experts, government officials, NGOs, traders and tea packers, to ensure that the needs of both producers and businesses are met.
UTZ and Rooibos
Rooibos was added to the UTZ certification tea program in 2010.
Rooibos literally means ‘red bush’, and comes from the Western Cape province of South Africa, which enjoys a very large and unique biodiversity. Rooibos bushes are very different from tea bushes, with very fine leaves similar to pine needles.
UTZ offers rooibos buyers worldwide the opportunity to contribute to the sustainability and long-term preservation of rooibos farmers and their unique region.
UTZ and Herbal Tea
In 2015, UTZ and the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) developed a new program for herbal and fruit tea, which means we now offer the UTZ label for all teas.
The collaboration with UEBT provides a good solution to address sustainability issues in the global herbal tea sector, which is complex due to the high diversity of ingredients and relatively small volumes.
The resulting UTZ certificate covers all plants and parts of plants (leaves, fruits, flowers, seeds, roots) that are used to make herbal and fruit teas, both from cultivation and wild collection. This will contribute to the sustainable wild collection of herbs, promote long-term relationships between producers and buyers, and advocate for biodiversity conservation practices.
Interest from retailers and industry is strong and growing; more and more companies share our sustainability vision.
Choose UTZ certified tea products
You can now drink UTZ tea in 27 countries worldwide, and over 45,000 tea workers are benefiting from UTZ certification. Learn more about the labels you’ll find on UTZ certified tea products.