Rainforest Alliance Initiative
We are proud to be the first tea company in Germany to introduce Rainforest Alliance certified tea products to the market in 2011, thus bringing more sustainability to the tea shelves – by the way, the first certified product was the black tea “Nero”.
Who is the Rainforest Alliance exactly?
The Rainforest Alliance is an international environmental protection organization that works to preserve biodiversity and promote sustainable livelihoods. At the beginning of January 2018, the Rainforest Alliance joined forces with the UTZ certification program to further expand its activities and promote sustainable development even more strongly. Through certifications in the origins of various raw materials, agricultural land is renewed, forests are preserved, sustainable living conditions are promoted and resilience to the consequences of climate change is strengthened. In addition, strict specifications are made to ensure appropriate working conditions and these are regularly monitored.
An important unique selling point of our supply chain is that we source almost 80% of our raw materials directly – this means that we have a direct partnership with the suppliers in the origin and do not purchase a large part of our raw materials through traders. In doing so, we have a personal relationship with many of our suppliers that goes back years – in some cases even decades. Direct sourcing is important because it gives us a high degree of transparency within our supply chain. We can influence the quality of raw materials very consciously and in personal exchange and work together with our partners to improve social and environmental standards. Our Code of Conduct, which every raw material supplier must sign, is an important foundation that shows our partners what we define as important basic rules of conduct.
This is important simply because many of our raw materials come from Asia and Africa, where cultivation represents a very important source of income and development opportunity. Unfortunately, however, working conditions that we take for granted are not always observed and the environment is damaged by unsustainable cultivation in some cases. It is therefore all the more important to us that we formulate clear rules and also monitor compliance with them.
However, a signature is not enough for us to live up to our responsibility within the supply chain, because as we all know, paper is patient first.
This is precisely where the essential role of the Rainforest Alliance comes into play, because we do not want to leave our partners in the origins alone with the challenges they face. Our buyers are also on site and in direct exchange, but in addition to sustainability requirements, they also have a strong focus on quality issues and thus have limited time resources. This makes it all the more important to have a credible, experienced partner who trains and develops our suppliers with regard to important topics such as environmental protection measures, occupational safety, human rights, and so on. A partner that our suppliers and we can trust, but who also enjoys a high level of trust from the public. This is further strengthened by the fact that, following intensive preparation of our suppliers, an independent organization carries out an audit on site to check whether all relevant environmental and social standards are really being complied with. TEEKANNE bears the costs of these extensive training sessions with the conviction that it is an investment well spent in a sustainable supply chain and long-term, trusting partnerships.
Only after a successful audit can our suppliers sell Rainforest Alliance-certified raw materials to us. The audits are repeated annually to help ensure sustainable development.
When the certified raw material reaches us, it is very important that it is clearly recognizable and that this remains the case throughout the entire process. Therefore, all containers are clearly marked and the materials in our systems are also clearly identifiable as certified raw material. This is particularly important for ensuring the flow of quantities. If we advertise on the finished product that 30% certified raw materials are included, we must also be able to guarantee that this is actually the case. We therefore always calculate 10% more than we advertise. This compensates for potential losses during processing.
First Achievements and further Goals
- All black teas are 100% Rainforest Alliance certified
- All rooibos teas are 100% certified
- Since 2020 we source 100% of the green teas certified and advertise this on all packages