Lipton's sustainable tea in Turkey

Unilever’s Lipton brand has launched a Sustainable Tea Agriculture project in Turkey, benefiting farmers and consumers.

Sustainable tea in Turkey

Lipton yellow label tea in glass mugs

Lipton has launched a Sustainable Tea Agriculture project in Turkey – the world's fifth-largest producer of tea, and fourth-largest tea market.

Enriching local soil

Turkey is one of Unilever's main centres of tea agriculture, with more than 15,000 farmers and three factories based in the country.

Now Unilever's Lipton tea brand is working in partnership with the Rainforest Alliance to introduce measures aimed at improving the social, economic and environmental impacts of tea production.

Consumers in Turkey will soon be able to buy Lipton tea bearing the Rainforest Alliance seal on the pack. And by 2018, Lipton aims to have all the tea sold in Turkey sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms.

The project launch represents a major landmark in the brand's journey towards sustainability. In the first half of 2010, we achieved our interim target of sourcing all the tea for our PG Tips and Lipton Yellow Label tea bags sold in Western Europe from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms. This is set to improve thousands of lives as well as boosting biodiversity and enriching local soil quality.

Training tea growers in sustainable practice

Under the initiative, 15,000 Turkish tea growers will receive one-to-one training to help them move to sustainable agricultural practices by 2014 – and eventually become Rainforest Alliance certified.

In addition, 2 000 training sessions will provide tea growers with information on sustainability-related topics such as erosion control, waste management, work safety, record-keeping, biodiversity, fertilisation and pruning.

Poor fertiliser use is one of the biggest challenges facing tea production in Turkey. To facilitate accurate diagnosis of soil condition – and determine corrective measures – Lipton will join forces with the Regional Chamber of Agriculture to establish a soil analysis laboratory in the country's tea-growing region (near the Black Sea).

Tea growers' health will also come under the spotlight, with Lipton set to provide around 5,000 women growers with health services targeting back, spine and joint pain.

Making a major impact

With 60,000 people directly or indirectly affected by Unilever's tea operations in Turkey, the impact of the initiative will potentially be huge. And another major beneficiary will be the soil itself – which the project aims to restore to a rich, fertile state so as to protect the future of tea agriculture for years to come.

İzzet Karaca, CEO of Unilever Turkey, notes that the project is fully aligned with the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. He says: "It is a strong example of how Unilever develops new ways of doing business that will help protect the world's resources, whilst expanding our business at the same time, because we cannot accept the approach of 'growth at no cost'."

Michiel Leijnse, Lipton Global Brand Development, adds: "I do believe Turkey's importance is cardinal. It is the fifth-biggest tea-producing country in the world. This announcement is particularly exciting as Turkey is now going to be the first tea-producing country where tea from local Rainforest Alliance-certified farms will be available to consumers. That is a major milestone."

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