Choosing sustainable products is high on the agenda and we are proud that all Taylors of Harrogate products are now 100% Carbon Neutral.
Our planet is changing fast. Carbon dioxide that’s released from factories, farms and power plants is causing global temperatures to rise which means heatwaves, droughts and flash flooding in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world. It also means that it’ll be significantly harder to farm certain crops, and that means a lot of people will struggle to make a decent living.
Rising global temperatures threaten communities all over the globe — including the smallholders that grow our tea and coffee.
Reducing our footprint
Making tea and coffee clearly has a carbon footprint. It’s shipped around the world, it contributes to agricultural activities that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and it’s packaged in materials derived from industrial processes. All of which means that we are contributing to climate change.
To combat this, in 2015 we set about becoming carbon neutral – not just our business operations but our entire supply chain from tea and coffee bush to supermarket shelf, achieving certified CarbonNeutral® product status well ahead of our 2020 target. Carbon neutrality means that we’re taking out of the atmosphere all of the carbon that we put in.
Going fully carbon neutral is no mean feat. To make it official we have to measure the volume of carbon emitted into the atmosphere at every stage of our supply chain. These measurements are independently verified and used to help us calculate our carbon footprint.
Once we understand how much carbon we’re responsible for, we know how much carbon we need to “lock up” by planting and preserving trees. Better still, we start to work out how to avoid creating the emissions in the first place.
The most important thing we can do is find ways to reduce our own impact and help our suppliers to do the same. For example, we’ve worked with the Kenyan Tea Development Agency to assess the energy efficiency of their factories and find ways to make savings. And we’re constantly looking for new ways to cut down our carbon at our Harrogate HQ — from using renewable energy to managing our buildings efficiently.
Going fully carbon neutral also means finding decent ways to balance our carbon footprint. We wanted to do it in a way that has real long term benefits to our farmers, their farms and the landscapes they are a part of. We could easily have bought carbon credits from existing programmes, but we decided to create new projects that directly benefit producers within our supply chain.
Just keep planting
Working in partnership with Natural Capital Partners, TIST (The International Small Group Tree Planting Programme) and our friends at the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), we set about to encourage farmers to plant fruit and nut trees on their tea farms. These trees help the environment by soaking up carbon, but they also provide valuable secondary income, along with shade and food. Our programme has led to the planting of over 1.5 million trees on and around Mt. Kenya with over 4000 farmers.
It’s not just about planting trees though. We’re also supporting a project that provides fuel efficient cookstoves to smallholders in Malawi. These cookstoves can be used to heat water or cook food. They’re considerably more efficient than traditional alternatives, which means that our smallholders are saving time and money in the long run.
Our cookstove project contributes to negating our carbon footprint by ensuring trees are preserved – avoiding deforestation is as important as planting new trees.