Tetley tea to be 100 percent Rainforest certified by 2016

NEW YORK Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:23pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The world's second biggest tea company Tetley will source all of its branded tea from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms by 2016, both groups said on Wednesday.

The first certified products will be sold in the United Kingdom foodservice sector by this April and in Canada by early 2011. In 2012, Rainforest Alliance Certified Tetley tea will branch out to the United States, Australia and mainland Europe, Tetley said in a release.

Tetley is one of the brands of the Tata Beverage Group.

Rainforest Alliance is a New York-based organization that certifies a variety of farms around the world, which meet the specific environmental, social and economic standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network. These standards include worker rights and safety, water and soil conservation, wildlife protection, and legal wages.

While the company declined to reveal how much tea it purchases annually, it said that currently 75 million cups of Tetley tea are consumed globally every day.

Tetley sells black, green, red, flavored and decaffeinated teas, and has a presence in 70 countries.

There are currently 215,000 acres of Rainforest Alliance-certified farms in Kenya, Tanzania, Argentina, India and Indonesia.

The majority of Tetley tea will continue to come from Kenya, Malawi and North India, said Sara Howe, director of Sustainability for the Tata Beverage Group in London.

(Reporting by Marcy Nicholson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)