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Climate Change Waits For No One: Why Tea Businesses Need Packaging Updates

Climate change is a subject that’s constantly talked about, yet doesn’t always feel…concrete. It’s a variable that becomes heavier or lighter depending on where you live and where you work. When it comes to the quality of tea, though, the difference can literally be tasted.

The issue of global warming is something no one should ignore, particularly tea businesses who rely on an ideal set of conditions to cultivate their delicate stock. When it comes to recognizing the impact of eco-friendly packaging, the tea industry often leads the charge. Numi Organic is a popular brand that projects front and center their commitment to organic products and fair sourcing, such as partnering with organizations that provide vulnerable communities access to clean water. Stash is another you’ll easily recognize for not just their bold logo, but their focus on sustainable, unbleached packaging materials. Quite a lot of tea packaging on store shelves will mention — if not outright revolve around — a commitment to green values, from ethical sourcing with farmers to recycled paper or plastic.

These are all great eco-friendly packaging habits that will make the world a better place to live. …Will it be enough, though?

tea growers

Even a few extra rainy days can completely change the flavor of tea.

The planet is facing some of its biggest environmental hurdles yet…and not enough tea packaging is reflecting the fact. GreenBiz published an article back in 2015all the more relevant for the time that’s passed — on the impact of climate change on tea quality. For starters, wet, humid weather is lasting longer, producing more tea at the expense of a strong flavor. Behind-the-scenes activity is turning less into business as usual and more a mad scramble to adapt to a climate that doesn’t follow predictable guidelines anymore. Getting these issues across in packaging efforts hinges on what most customers do or don’t know…

…and according to recent studies, environmental awareness is becoming less and less of a trade secret.

Forbes rounded up a collection of statistics looking into the growing phenomenon of eco-friendly customers. They concluded nearly 90% of all customers will be more loyal to an environmentally sustainable brand. Another 85% would be more likely to buy a product if it discussed or promoted some sort of green benefit. Just like climate change is constantly bringing new surprises, so too should a business be consistently updating what they’re saying. Paper recycling is a rather common green packaging trait nowadays, for example, and doesn’t stand out quite so much to the average browsing eye anymore — recent statistics have determined a 65% recycling rate that is expected to stay consistent. Farming contributing to pollution, however, isn’t nearly as mainstream a discussion.

With not just intense weather conditions to worry about, an alarming report released earlier this year by CNBC found outdated farming habits are still emitting harmful carbon dioxide into the atmosphere…to the point of exceeding transportation pollution rates. Reversing this is good for business and good for customers, creating a continuous wheel of opportunity that feeds itself. Now is a prime time for tea businesses to touch base with all aspects of the growing process — from farming to distribution — to figure out where they’re coming up short. This updated development should then be communicated to customers who keep pace with innovative green methods. A generic ‘sustainable’ or ‘we recycle’ label on tea packaging looks nice, but consumers are always keeping an ear to the ground.

Soon, that’s not going to be enough to impress.

tea bags and tea packaging

Tea is a lifestyle choice. Customers living smarter and greener are going to want their brands to reflect it.

Climate change continues to make leaps and bounds, starting from the 1950’s and stunning with regularly updated reports that affect us all. Hot seasons that last too long, humidity rates that ignore predictions, outdated farming methods that release further pollution, the list never seems to stop growing. With an avalanche of troubling results coming over the next decade, tea growers and tea businesses need to double down on their communication. Businesses that both incorporate updated green practices and portray them effectively could be the face of tomorrow’s tea efforts.

Generic green packaging labels and outdated statements on sustainability have to go. The behind-the-scenes of tea businesses are changing…and that change needs to be brought front and center.

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