Sustainability takes precedence for consumers

A new has study revealed Australians’ perceptions and attitudes to sustainability.

Despite the economic downturn, a new twelve-month study entitled Sustainable Australia? reveals more than half of Australians (51%) are more concerned about sustainability this year, compared to last, and almost two thirds (62%) rate it as one of the most important issues facing the nation today.

The research, conducted by independent research companies AMR Interactive and Newspoll, was commissioned by Unilever, makers of Lipton tea, and is being released to coincide with the launch of Lipton Quality Black tea in Australia from Rainforest Alliance Certified tea estates.

Unilever Australasia chairman, Sebastian Lazell, announced the move as the latest step in Unilever’s global commitment to sourcing tea from sustainably managed estates, a move that is revolutionising the tea industry.

“We have a longstanding commitment to sustainability and we believe this is the right decision for the long-term viability of both our tea business and the industry as a whole.

“Furthermore, new research presented in the Sustainable Australia? report tells us that four out of five Australians want businesses to be investing more in sustainable practices compared to last year, so we’re pleased to be able make this announcement in Australia,” added Lazell.

Unilever is working with independent non-government-organisation, the Rainforest Alliance, on the massive task of certifying the tea estates from which Unilever, the world’s biggest buyer of tea, sources Lipton Quality Black tea. The certification process applies to both the tea estates Unilever owns and those from which they buy.

“Due to the scale of our commitment we have to take a step-by-step approach. Therefore to start, a minimum of 50% of the tea in Lipton Quality Black tea will come from Rainforest Alliance Certified estates. By 2015 we aim to have all the tea in Lipton tea bags globally sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified estates.

“This program will ultimately benefit up to two million people in our global supply chain,” said Lazell.

Rainforest Alliance executive director, Tensie Whelan, said that “the Rainforest Alliance is delighted that Unilever’s global commitment is now reaching Australian tea drinkers.

“This is a program that really is transforming farms and lives. In Kenya we’ve seen streams begin to flow again as a result of better environmental care. In India, where many plantations and tea bushes are old, we are seeing real improvements in farming methods such as reducing or eliminating pesticides.

“The program ensures farm workers have access to good housing, medical care and education for their families.”

From June this year, Australians can drink Lipton Quality Black tea in the knowledge that their cup is a step towards a better life for tea farmers, their families and the environment.

The Sustainable Australia? report shows that three quarters (75%) of Australians feel there is a real need for sustainable products in the market.

However, the research indicates there is still some confusion about what sustainability means, with more than two thirds (68%) of Australians associating sustainability only with the environment and less than a third (27%) making the link between sustainability and worker welfare.

Such concern and confusion are not uncommon, said Whelan, who also wrote a foreword in the new Sustainable Australia? report.

“People often think of sustainability only in terms of environmental protection. But true sustainability is about so much more than simply the protection of our natural resources. It requires a balance to be struck across what we call the three Es of sustainability: ethics, the environment and economics.

“That’s why the Rainforest Alliance certification program puts equal emphasis on worker welfare, best farm practice to enable farmers to earn more from their land, and environmental protection.

“The program recognises that sustainability is a journey, not a destination and certified farms are committed to continuous improvements in each area of the standards. By choosing Lipton Quality Black tea bearing the green frog seal, Australian tea drinkers can play their part in this sustainability journey,” said Whelan.

Rainforest Alliance’s certification program is extremely robust, said Lazell.

“A key factor in choosing to work with Rainforest Alliance is that they have already demonstrated in coffee and bananas their ability to help change a whole industry.

“It’s also important that Australians are aware that Lipton Quality Black tea, carrying the Rainforest Alliance green frog seal, won’t cost them more and it will still have the great Lipton taste people know and love,” concludes Lazell.

The Rainforest Alliance adds to Unilever’s partnerships with a range of non-government-organisations and not-for-profits including UNICEF, Greenpeace, the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation, Oxfam and WWF among others.

Send this to a friend