While in many countries fair trade is mainly focused on labor conditions, Chinese tea supplier Teasenz takes it to the next level by applying environmental friendly sourcing practices.
Shenzhen, Guangdong -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/28/2016 --Due to the growing middle class in China, tea prices have surged in the recent years. As more and more farmers are entering the market, competition for talent is fierce. As a consequence wages for tea pickers have improved significantly in the past few years.
"During this new tea season, we find that tea pickers are in a great negotiation position as farms risk losing harvest due to a lack of staff," says Lisa Lin, public relationship manager at Teasenz.
"What we also notice is that there's a divide in the industry, where tea pickers are moving from low cost bulk production companies to smaller scale farms that offer better pay," says Lin. This trend makes it more difficult for the bulk green tea producers that are traditionally producing low cost tea for export, to stay competitive. Even though they've been able to partially compensate this by replacing labor with machines, the production of bulk tea is slowly shifting to countries such as India, Kenya and Sri Lanka, where wages are relatively low.
As Teasenz mainly offers tea from smaller family farms where labor conditions are excellent, the Chinese tea startup now pays more attention to the environment when it comes to sourcing. Teasenz' main focus is on preserving the ecosystem and biodiversity. "Some of our tea experts are currently in Wuyishan (Fujian province) and they're reporting that deforestation is a serious problem in the nature reserve area as large surfaces of land is being turned into tea fields for the sake of more production. Replacing native trees with tea plants that have less capacity to hold water is drying up waterfalls. We absolutely love a traditional Da Hong Pao oolong and Jin Jun Mei black tea, but tea growing needs to be in harmony with the surrounding. We therefore avoid cooperation with tea farms that are located in the nature reserve." says Lin.
The China-based teatailer adds that they will increase their efforts to identify farms that produce top quality loose tea outside the nature reserve. "Besides offering a 200 Renminbi (30 USD) salary per day to tea pickers, we demand that tea farm owners need to take care of the surrounding area and avoid using any fertilizers and pesticides that can damage the ecosystem. "We strongly believe that proper labor conditions and environmental measures has a direct and indirect effect on the quality of tea. Our new 2016 spring tea batches are arriving soon and it's going to be very fresh and promising, contributing to our mission to offer authentic Chinese tea worldwide," says Lin.