Despite Climate Change Worry, New Study Says Most Professionals in Tea and Related Industries Underprioritize Sustainability When Stocking Tea

First-of-its-kind sustainability report reveals purchasing drivers of professionals in tea and related industries.

This finding is surprising to me. We hear so much from our customers about the importance of sustainability.

Secaucus, NJ July 26, 2022 – A new report from Firsd Tea, the largest importer of Chinese tea in the U.S., finds most professionals in tea and related industries underprioritize sustainability when stocking tea inventory—even with 80% of this group worried about the effects of climate change on business operations. Firsd Tea Sustainability Perspectives 2022 is the first study to gauge opinions of tea sustainability among associated industry professionals.

"This finding is surprising to me. We hear so much from our customers about the importance of sustainability. I look forward to better exploring what is behind this potential disconnect between customer concern for sustainability and business purchasing priorities," Firsd Tea marketing director, Jason Walker, explains. Respondents listed flavor (96%), leaf grade (90%) and origin/terroir (88%) as the top three characteristics that contributed to their decisions to stock particular tea types. These considerations are followed by demand (86%), consistency of supply (84%) and price (83%). Sustainability (79%) ranks seventh in the list of factors influencing tea-stocking decisions.

Sean Cash, PhD, Bergstrom Foundation professor of global nutrition in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, says, “The results of this compelling survey indicate that representatives of the tea industry are keenly aware that their sector is threatened by climate change, and to a greater extent than many other crops. This clearly supports the urgent need for collaborations that will help protect and support the future of tea for years to come.” Dr. Cash is a co-principal investigator with Tea & Climate Change Collaborative, an interdisciplinary and cross-institutional project team that researches the effects of climate change on tea quality and socio-economic responses.

"Firsd Tea believes stocking sustainable teas should be a win-win. Choosing sustainable teas doesn't have to mean sacrificing flavor and quality," explains Shengyuan Chen, Firsd Tea’s executive director.

The study derives its results from a two-month long survey beginning in December 2021 to February 2022 conducted 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 95 voluntary respondents conducting business in tea and related sectors (e.g. coffee, wine and cocoa). 

For the full Firsd Tea Sustainability Perspectives 2022 Report, click here.

About Firsd Tea:

Firsd Tea is the U.S. subsidiary of parent company, Zhejiang Tea Group, Ltd. (ZJT), China’s largest tea exporter and the world leader in green tea exports. Founded in 1950, ZJT has been the largest tea producer and exporter in China for 25 consecutive years. The company has remained one of the leading and most technologically advanced manufacturers and innovators in the Chinese tea industry. ZJT boasts strategic collaboration with the Science Department of Zhejiang University as well as the Hangzhou Tea Research Institute of All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Co-operatives. Zhejiang Tea Group’s portfolio of products include EU compliant conventional teas and organic teas (first organic tea producer in China since 1989), decaf teas (one of only two companies in China who have a CO2 decaf facility) and chemical solvent-free tea extractions, including instant teas, tea polyphenols, and EGCG.



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Key Takeaways

  • A new report suggests professionals in tea/related industries underprioritize sustainability when stocking tea
  • Most respondents (80%) worry about climate change's effects on business operations.
Read the Report Here


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