The Tea 2030 project will be facilitated and managed by global sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future.
Companies like Tata Global Beverages, Unilever, Yorkshire Tea and Finlays have backed this initiative. Other participants also include the Ethical Tea Partnership, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade International.
The project aims to study and solve key challenges facing the sector by 2030. Problems such as tea trade practises, which at the moment are not the same as other commodities.
Competition for land and climate change is another major concern that could result in tea plantations being converted to other uses.
Between 2005 and 2010, 13,000 hectares of land in Indonesia have been converted from tea to other purposes such as growing rubber, palm oil and fruit.
“Through our past projects in sectors as diverse as tourism and shipping, we have seen how exploration of different possible futures can be a powerful way of generating a shared understanding of sustainability issues throughout entire value chains,” said Dr Sally Uren, Deputy Chief Executive of Forum for the Future.
“In turn, this shared understanding can generate new solutions to systemic problems that are just too big for one organisation to tackle alone. We have high hopes that Tea 2030 will deliver practical action that will secure a sustainable and successful future for the global tea industry”.
The project has also highlighted its intention to further opportunities for responsible products in developing markets such as Brazil, China and India.
According to the recent Regeneration Roadmap study, consumer in these markets are more than twice as likely as those in developed markets to buy products because of social and environment benefits (51% to 22% respectively), and pay more for sustainable products (60% to 26%).
Tea 2030 intends to share its insight and vision widely — including the key trends affecting the industry and agreed ‘innovation platforms’ that will be launched in September 2013.