A world without tea? Industry faces up to climate change

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7:22am 21st April 2017
(Updated 9:03am 21st April 2017)

It is such a part of British identity that for many of us, it is hard to imagine waking up without our morning cup of tea.

Yet, experts, using climate change models, have predicted that by 2050, many of the world’s current tea growing areas will be unsuitable for cultivation.

On National Tea Day, Stray FM has been speaking to Simon Hotchkin, the Head of Sustainable Development at Taylors of Harrogate, the firm behind the iconic Yorkshire Tea brand, which has just received a Queen’s Award for some of its work abroad.

Its global tea and coffee supply chain reaches over one million farmers and workers in 24 countries.

Simon said: "Increasingly unpredictable weather patterns are having a direct impact on our tea and coffee farmers.

"We travel across all of our tea and coffee growing regions on a fairly regular basis and every single farmer we meet and talk to would say the same thing - that climate change is a threat, it's probably their single biggest threat and they’re facing it right now."

You can hear more below:

The Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development recognises the work of Taylors to create a resilient and sustainable tea and coffee supply chain.

The business has worked with suppliers in Kenya to install rainwater harvesting and filtration systems in 50 schools, as well as community centres, bringing fresh water to 27,000 people.

Bettys and Taylors - Kenya tea famers

Tea farmers involved in a project to plant one million trees in Kenya

Bettys and Taylors - Assam trip

Simon Hotchkin visiting Assam where Bettys and Taylors is supporting an industry-wide collaboration to tackle child trafficking

Keith Writer, Supply Director at Bettys and Taylors, said: "We have worked incredibly hard over the last few years with all our key growers to develop and roll out an innovative new approach to sustainable sourcing.

"We have a reputation for quality and a deep commitment for doing things properly, be they in Yorkshire or globally through our value chain and networks.

"This award is a great honour and achievement that serves to inspire and drive us to do even more in developing a thriving sustainable future for all our tea and coffee growers."

Bettys and Taylors - coffee buyer Rebecca Mundy

Coffee buyer Rebecca Mundy visiting a project to help install rainwater harvesting and filtration systems

Bettys and Taylors - Kenya trees

Kenyan children planting a tree, thanks to Bettys and Taylors' Trees for Life project

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