Trustea, a domestically developed and owned sustainability code, and verification system for the home tea sector, says it had verified 608 million kg till end-February, about 46 per cent of the country’s annual output. The Trustea programme is jointly led by The Sustainable Trade Initiative, Hindustan Unilever, and Tata Global Beverages (TGBL). Solidaridad and Ethical Tea Partnership are the implementing partners and Rainforest Alliance the technical advisor. The Wagh Bakri Tea Group, besides various plantation associations, have also been supporting it.
The aim is to help smallholders and estates to improve — production, farm organisation, processing, new technologies and the like. The TGBL has committed to source its tea as Trustea-verified for the Indian market. “Indian consumers are becoming conscious of what they buy and its impact on the environment. The brands which take the first steps towards sustainability will not only be seen as responsible but can also turn sustainability towards a tangible competitive advantage,” said Puneet Das, marketing head at TGBL.
The programme claims to have been engaging with nearly 49,000 small growers and 550,000 workers, besides certifying 460 estates and bought leaf factories. Rajesh Bhuyan, general manager, Trustea, said: “A rising demand for food safety and sustainable produce is making Trustea increasingly relevant. The Code ensures long-term sustainability of the industry, by improving the growing practices of the fast-growing smallholder segment and mainstreaming the bought leaf factories and small estates into the sustainability fold.”