Oakland, Calif., October 26, 2010 – Leading specialty tea purveyor Numi Organic Tea honors Fair Trade Month through a long-standing commitment to supporting tea growers and workers. The purchase of Fair Trade Certified teas helps Numi provide sustainable livelihoods for tea growers, who can in turn feed their families, send their children to school and have adequate access to healthcare, education and other fundamental needs.
New to Numi’s Fair Trade lineup this year, top-selling Gunpowder Green Tea was converted to Fair Trade Certified in 2010. Fourteen of Numi’s organic tea SKUs are now Fair Trade Certified.
Dollars that make a difference
Since Numi Organic Tea began sourcing Fair Trade Certified teas in 2005, the company has purchased more than 460,000 pounds of Fair Trade Certified tea, contributing more than $165,500 to social premium funds that benefit tea workers around the world. Numi’s sourcing tea’m travels annually to origin to preserve long-standing contracts and direct relationships with their growers, purchasing 100 percent organic teas and ingredients and seeking Fair Trade Certified products whenever possible.
Breaking the cycle of poverty
Fair Trade helps break the cycle of poverty and hardship directly related to fluctuations of the market. The longtime plight of farmers and workers in tea gardens in nations such as China, India and Sri Lanka has grown with an increased dependence on the global market. When market prices are low, tea plantations must cut costs, which directly affects the health and livelihood of workers. Plantations often end up reducing the quality and availability of their services available to workers, leaving them without adequate access to health care, housing, or in some instances, access to clean food and drinking water.
A model of empowerment
Fair Trade encourages small-scale farmers to organize themselves into cooperatives that can self-govern the spending of the Fair Trade social premium toward projects that benefit their communities. Workers on larger-scale tea plantations are protected against abuses such as child labor and guaranteed basic human rights such as safe working conditions.
Sustainability for people and the planet
Through Fair Trade, a guaranteed above-market minimum price promises fair wages for tea growers. For every pound of tea sold, a guaranteed amount of the price is set aside as the Fair Trade premium, which workers vote upon democratically to spend upon a development project that best benefits their community’s needs. The Fair Trade premium has helped provide several important services and projects in tea-growing regions, including infrastructure projects such as street lamps and clean drinking water; health care projects such as mosquito nets, vitamins and on-site healthcare; economic development projects such as microloans and sewing machines; and improvements in education such as new libraries and meals for schoolchildren. In addition, the Fair Trade model encourages conversion to organic production, which helps eliminate the use of pesticides and herbicides and protects the health of farmers, workers, consumers and the Earth.
Da Zhang Shan Cooperative
Located in a region known for 1,200 years as the “golden triangle” of tea production, Da Zhang Shan tea garden has never used chemical fertilizers or pesticides on its property, making it easy to obtain organic certification in 1997. It was also the first tea cooperative in China to gain Fair Trade Certification in 2001. Da Zhang Shan farmers earn 15 to 20 percent more in tea sales than other families in the area. The Fair Trade premium has enabled Da Zhang Shan farmers to invest in high school and college scholarships, village infrastructure projects and microloan programs.
Fair Trade Certified standards for tea farmers and workers
Fair Trade teas are grown by either hired labor tea workers on tea estates, or by small-scale farmers organized into a cooperative. Fair Trade Certification standards include (but are not limited to):
Hired Labor (Tea Estates):
- Wages that meet or exceed legally established minimums.
- Absence of forced or child labor.
- Freedom of association and organization.
- Tea workers decide democratically how to invest the Fair Trade premium money and have the capacity to play an active role in improving their own lives.
- Safe working and growing conditions, including protection from exposure to harmful agrochemicals.
- Adherence to national and international labor protections, including those established by the International Labor Organization of the UN.
- Minimization of the use of synthetic and other off-farm fertilizers and pesticides and gradual replacement with non-synthetic and on-farm fertilizers and biological disease control methods.
Small-scale producers (tea garden farming cooperatives):
- Environmental stewardship of soil and water resources.
- Direct contracts with buyers to establish long-term relationships and stability.
- Democratic representation and management via an elected General Assembly.
- Farmers decide democratically how to invest the Fair Trade premiums and have the capacity to play an active role in improving their own lives.
Numi Organic Tea blends premium organic teas and herbs with only 100 percent real ingredients, allowing Nature to speak for itself. As a pioneering, quadruple-bottom line company (people, planet, product, profit), Numi sources directly from fair labor gardens that guarantee a livable wage and better opportunities for farmers and their families. Numi is a company committed to reducing its impact on the planet through ecologically responsible choices in sourcing, production and recycled and non-GMO origin packaging. www.numitea.com .