The romance associated with a perfectly brewed cup of coffee is brought to life by theuntiring eflorts of several people behind the scenes. Your Company is fortunate to have agreat team and is delighted to celebrate the diversity of the team. They are the backboneof our operations and the key to our success. Every single day they work at producingdelicious coffee that is loved and enjoyed worldwide. Their diversity of experienceexpertise and outlook has enabled us to become one of the world's largest integratedcoffee companies. I take this opportunity to salute them and thank them for all theircontributions.
Indian coffee plantations are a people intensive business demanding a breadth ofexpertise that takes years to perfect. Our Company's team members are skilled in everyaspect of cultural operations from manuring the flowering plants to optimum levelsto picking the red ripe cherries at just the right time. Several of our workers are secondand third generation employees for whom their estates are not just a workplace but along-time home. They demonstrate great personal commitment and experience tremendoussatisfaction at the quality and quantity of our annual harvest of coffee.
Leading our people on the ground are our Estate Managers and their support staff. TheseManagers are seasoned plantation experts and they also take great pride in the uniquetime-honoured tradition of grooming their Assistants. Many of them are graduates inAgricultural Sciences and their passion for coffee and nature is unrivalled. It is suchpassion and knowledge that brings forth from our plantations some of the finest Arabicaand Robusta coffees which the world has seen. A good illustration of this is the Nulloreestate microlot which was the first ever Indian microlot to make it to the StarbucksReserve collection last year. This year your Company was able to repeat this uniquefeat with our Yemmigoondi estate microlot. Identifying and preparing new microlots ofspecialty coffee with unique taste profiles requires deep knowledge of soil conditions andmicroclimate flora and fauna of the estates the overall environment in which the coffeeis grown as well as close coordination between managers and their teams. Our managers andtheir staff bring to bear this combination of expertise and passion.
Our processing teams at our Kushalnagar works are equally adept at the very precisesorting and grading of coffee which is required to bring you the perfect cup. Thedeftness of our garblers and the unique skill of our coffee tasters ensures a beautifulcup in every case with consistent taste profiles that have earned us the trust ofmarquee global roasters. Their efforts have enabled us to become the finest producer ofspecialty coffee in India by venturing into single-estate strain-specific coffeesas well as exotic blends of monsooned coffees. We have also now taken steps to becometotally export ready for our significant crop of pepper that is intercropped with coffeein our triple certified estates. What is heartening is that the efforts of our teams haveenabled us to unlock great value from our existing assets thus benefiting allstakeholders.
The Instant Coffee Division has been a key growth driver for the business thanks toour teams in Theni and Toopran as well as the sales team that is in constant touch withour customers across continents. Our people have focused strongly on enhancing new productdevelopment capabilities through regular first-hand interactions of our blend formulationexperts with customers. This has resulted in higher blend approval rates customerdelight and new business acquisition for the long-term. We have already begun seeing thefirst results of this close collaboration with our customers with new innovativeblends already making up nearly 15% of our total volume in the year that has ended.
The operations teams continue to focus on quality while optimising resource usagekeeping costs in check and preserving the environment. Focus on sustainability is integralto all our teams and their concerted efforts have resulted in several breakthroughsincluding renewable energy usage in our Theni factory going up to 81% this year. Our teamsare proud that we seek to produce the best coffee in the most sustainable and environmentfriendly manner. The contribution of our supply chain teams have also been critical to oursuccess since they manage key areas such as imports of beans and commodity terminalfluctuations.
The next big leap of growth for your Company will come from our new freeze-driedinstant coffee plant in Vietnam which is expected to go live by the end of thecurrent year. The Vietnam plant marks our first production foray beyond India and morethan 90% of the employees here will be local Vietnamese people thereby adding to ourmulti-cultural employee base. We warmly welcome our Vietnamese team members to the TataCoffee family.
What is also commendable is that 54% of our workforce is women a unique source ofstrength for your Company. We celebrate such gender diversity and I would like tospecifically mention the wonderful role that our women colleagues play in the success ofyour Company. They bring in specialised skillsets and perspectives that adds great valueto various aspects of our business.
Having such a diverse group of employees across socio-economic and culturalbackgrounds also offers us a natural advantage in our ability to connect with thecommunities around us. Our focused community interventions such as the watersustainability projects in Coorg and the women empowerment programmes have been sosuccessful because they were conceived and implemented by our people on the ground whounderstand all the local needs and nuances. We continue to support the excellent work doneby Swastha a centre for academic and vocational training of specially enabledchildren in Coorg. I am delighted to share with you that last year two graduates fromSwastha have begun working with Plantation Trails our hospitality business arm. This is asmall but wonderful start in providing long-term livelihoods to our children from Swastha.
Our employees have also contributed with great enthusiasm and energy to volunteeringefforts focused on causes close to their heart. This has put us amongst the topperforming Tata Group Companies in this regard.
Everything I have described above has of course been possible because of the verycapable leadership team whom I have the privilege of working with. The transformation ofyour Company into a multi-product multi-geography customer centric organisation is aresult of their missionary zeal and strategic focus supported by their respective teams.
Rev. Desmond Tutu famously said "Isn't it amazing that we are all made inGod's image and yet there is so much diversity amongst his people?" These words ringtrue for our people at Tata Coffee as well. We are proud to belong to the Tata Groupwhich is an incredibly diverse Group in itself. Therefore even as we celebrate this year150 years of the founding of the Tata Group and 25 years of Tata Coffee I am delighted todedicate this annual report to 'Celebrating Diversity' of the people at your Company.