ekaterra Adds Regenerative Agriculture, Reducing Waste to Net Zero Targets

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Tea company ekaterra will use objectives like regenerative agriculture and eliminating landfill waste from its operations to build on its already established sustainability goals to become net zero by 2030.

ekaterra, the tea division of Unilever, says it currently uses 98% of sustainably sourced teas and plans to be at 100% by 2023 and is about three-quarters of the way to using completely plant-based tea bags by 2025. The company also says it will use completely recyclable, compostable, or reusable packaging by 2025, and it is at 82% of such use today.

Overall, ekaterra’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2030 from a 2010 baseline and has currently reduced them by 66%.

According to Ethical Tea Partnership, emissions at the farm level has the biggest greenhouse gas impact on the industry. It says a study by Unilever found 73% of emissions from tea production in Kenya come from fertilizers. The report also found farming operations including harvesting and transporting tea leaves adds 8% to tea’s emissions output.

The Ethical Tea Partnership says using natural fertilizers, planting climate tolerant clones, effective soil management and using renewable energy are all keys to cutting emissions in the tea industry. Those numbers mean implementing objectives like regenerative agriculture practices potentially offer additional ways of reaching net zero goals.

Regenerative agriculture has been a growing trend, especially in the food industry. McDonald’s recently partnered with AgMission to help the agriculture industry move toward net zero and the restaurant chain previously has been involved with sustainability practices in its coffee business.

“We want to give back to nature more than we take,” ekaterra CEO John Davison says. “In the tea category, we have a unique opportunity to become climate positive through the regenerative power of plants.”

Several ekaterra brands have shown success with the sustainability efforts.

The Lipton and T2 brands source all its teas from sustainably certified suppliers, ekaterra says. PG tips introduced biodegradable tea bags in 2018 and has removed all traditional plastic from its packaging.

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–> This post appeared first on Environment + Energy Leader.

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