Yorkshire Tea and Taylors of Harrogate Coffee

Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate produces the UK’s top selling tea and fresh ground coffee brands and prides itself on its commitment to the health and livelihoods of the smallholder farmers on which it depends. Its CarbonNeutral® programme was another opportunity to deliver on that promise. Through projects in East Africa, our programme for Taylors has created a solution that not only reduces carbon emissions to achieve CarbonNeutral products, but also builds resilience and helps these important supplier communities to thrive.

We have worked with Natural Capital Partners and our key growers to develop and roll out an innovative approach to sustainable sourcing.

Keith Writer, Supply Director, Bettys & Taylors Group

1

Define

The CarbonNeutral Protocol helps navigate the complexity of what emissions a company is responsible for with a simple, pragmatic approach based on what is material (has a big impact on the footprint) and what is intrinsic (is fundamental to the product). For tea and coffee to be CarbonNeutral products the emissions from “bush” to supermarket shelf need to be accounted for, otherwise known as cradle-to-customer.

2

Measure

This meant that Taylors needed to measure the volume of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere at every stage of its supply chain. Its footprint was calculated by Quantis International, a third-party expert in food, agricultural and consumer products.

3

Target

In 2015 Taylors set about making all its products carbon neutral by 2020 with a programme that also supported the livelihoods of the smallholder farmers on which it depends. The tea and coffee growing communities in its supply chain were already feeling first-hand the adverse impacts of climate change on their livelihoods and they are projected to get worse.

4

Reduce

Taylors achieved its CarbonNeutral product status well ahead of its 2020 target.

It worked with the Kenyan Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to assess the energy efficiency of the factories supplying tea and found ways to make savings, and is constantly looking for new ways to cut down its carbon emissions at its head office in Harrogate, England.

To reduce the remaining emissions to zero, Taylors supports offsetting projects that were developed to directly benefit the farmers within its supply chain. These projects in supplier communities contribute more than two thirds of the verified emissions reductions and removals that make the products CarbonNeutral.

Working in partnership, Taylors’ programme has led to the planting of over 1.5 million trees across over 800 hectares through supporting over 6,500 farmers. Taylors’ reforestation programme is led by tea farmers so that the solutions work for their specific needs. Through planting trees, sharing best practice, adding fruit and nut trees to their plots, and implementing conservation farming methods, the programme is improving the quality of the soil, creating shade and protection for crops, and adding new sources of income.

In Malawi, the forest cover has reduced by 32% in less than 40 years, with a serious impact on the health and productivity of the land in an economy dependent on agriculture. By using efficient cookstoves, smallholder tea farmers are able to reduce the rate of deforestation for fuel use, save time and money collecting or purchasing fuel, and reduce the indoor air pollution which effects the health of families.

For a business with people at its heart, the well-being of its suppliers is fundamental: supporting this programme was an obvious choice. Across the programme, activities are counted, measured and monitored under carbon offset standards in order to verify the emission reductions and removals through carbon stored.

5

Communicate

The CarbonNeutral product certification is on-pack and, for Yorkshire Tea, has been communicated to customers through social media as well as a video with Andrew Hutchinson, the artist whose illustration is on Yorkshire Tea boxes.

Taylors has also communicated its carbon neutrality as part of a longer history of tree-planting dating back to a promise made by the then third-generation family business leader – Jonathan Wild – to his children. Upset by a TV report on global deforestation made by Blue Peter, Jonathan promised them that if they planted one tree, he’d find a way to plant 999,999 more. In 1990, Trees for Life was launched – initially on packs of Yorkshire Tea – with a commitment to plant one million trees. It has now helped to plant 5m trees around the world. The reforestation project with tea farmers in Kenya is often communicated alongside other tree-planting initiatives in the UK.

Carbon neutrality is also communicated alongside work to empower tea communities, reduce plastic use, working to close the Living Wage gap, and supply chain commitments in the wake of Covid-19 disruption on Taylors’ website bringing to life its sustainability achievements.

Yorkshire Tea - advert launching CarbonNeutral product certification