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Firsd Tea Sustainability Perspectives Report finds tea outperforms coffee in four key sustainability areas

The Firsd Tea Sustainability Perspectives study is an annual, first-of-its-kind global tea report that derives its findings from a survey of voluntary respondents conducting business in tea and related industries (e.g. coffee, sugar cane, wine and cocoa). Survey responses are primarily generated by website posting and subscriber outreach by Firsd Tea and The Tea & Coffee Trade Journal, direct messaging on platforms such as LinkedIn, and word-of-mouth networking. Industry-specific organizations also promote the survey by sharing it with their respective stakeholders

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SECAUCUS, NJ, USA – According to a new report from Firsd Tea, the largest importer of Chinese tea in the U.S., most professionals in tea and related industries—such as coffee and cocoa—say the tea industry outperforms coffee across four key sustainability focus areas. Firsd Tea Sustainability Perspectives 2023 is the second annual survey that continues a first-of-its-kind global 2022 study to gauge opinions of tea sustainability among associated experts.

Specifically, most respondents in 2023 viewed tea as performing “very well or somewhat well” regarding reducing its environmental impact (75%), workers’ rights (64%), gender equity (58%), and improving the livelihood of smallholder farmers (66%) when compared with coffee and cocoa sectors.

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“With so much negative news about the environment in the press, the discovery that tea is perceived as performing relatively well in these sustainability areas came as a breath of fresh air,” Firsd Tea marketing director, Jason Walker, explains. He adds, “What’s so compelling about our global 2023 study’s findings compared with those in 2022 is that a larger slice of our respondents were actually from the coffee industry this go-around.” Coffee professionals comprised 36% of this year’s vs. 19% of last year’s study.

Apart from revealing tea’s notable perceived performance in key sustainability areas, the study also found:

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Most survey-takers remain worried about the effects of climate change on their business operations (80% in 2022 vs. 75% in 2023).

Tea is still considered the most sensitive industry to the effects of climate change by most professionals in tea and related industries (93% in 2022 vs. 95% in 2023).

Most respondents in tea and related industries still agree Organic Certification is the most important standard to consumers (84% in 2022 vs. 88% in 2023).

Compared with Firsd Tea’s 2022 study, Vietnam (+37%), Kenya (+33%), China (+26%), and Sri Lanka (+26%) saw outstanding perceived sustainability improvements in 2023.

Most respondents in tea and related industries report improved outlooks on progress made in sustainability from 10 years ago, the current state of sustainability in tea, and the trajectory for the next 10 years.

“We are honored to continue this essential research to encourage stakeholders across tea and related industries to reflect on and prioritize sustainability,” explains Firsd Tea executive director, Shengyuan Chen.

The study derives its results from a three-month long survey conducted from May 2023 to July 2023 in collaboration with Tea & Coffee Trade Journal, a 120+ year-old publication covering the global tea and coffee industries from origin through the supply chain. Princeton-based Crothers Consulting administered the survey to 100 voluntary respondents conducting business in tea and related sectors (e.g. coffee, wine and cocoa).

For the full Firsd Tea Sustainability Perspectives 2023 Report, click here.

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