Yorkshire Tea products are now 100% carbon neutral from field to shelf. The brand has spent five years working on projects directly within its supply chain to benefit communities and help balance and reduce its carbon footprint.
To celebrate the achievement in the run-up to World Environment Day on 5th June, Lucky Generals has created a social media film featuring Andrew Hutchinson, the original illustrator of the Yorkshire Tea box, updating his iconic pack artwork based on an idyllic Yorkshire countryside scene to be proper green.
The film focuses on the artist as he sits studiously at his easel 'somewhere in Yorkshire' describing the updates he’s making to camera. These include turning cricketers into beekeepers, adding solar panels to the roof of the house and placing an electric car charging up in the garden. Once he’s finished, and the countryside is jam-packed with recycling boxes, wind turbines and an eco dome he decides it might be a 'bit much' and not the Yorkshire Tea way. So he scraps the lot, leaves the image as it was and simply places the 'Carbon Neutral' logo on the box.
Simon Hotchkin, head of sustainable development at Taylors of Harrogate says: “We’re proud to have achieved carbon neutrality across all our products, but we’re especially proud of the proper way in which we’ve done it, by setting up projects that not only offset carbon but improve lives and livelihoods directly with our suppliers." Vickie Ridley, head of new business at Lucky Generals, added: “The Yorkshire Tea way is not to be self-congratulatory or chest-thumping, but to just get on and do it proper. So, in an age of greenwashing, we know we can just let the logo do the talking for us.”
The brand’s journey to Carbon Neutrality began in 2015 in partnership with Natural Capital Partners. The first step was to work with an independent expert to measure and verify the volume of carbon emitted into the atmosphere by the business, not just in its UK operations, but at every stage of its supply chain from tea bush to supermarket shelf. Yorkshire Tea then embarked upon a unique programme which supported projects directly within its tea supply chain, ensuring they balanced emissions while also supporting the tea farms and communities on which the brand depends.
Yorkshire Tea worked with TIST (The International Small Group and Tree Planting Programme) to encourage smallholder tea farmers to plant fruit and nut trees around tea estates. These trees help the environment by soaking up carbon, but they also provide valuable secondary incomes, along with shade and food. So far, this project has helped to plant over 1.5 million trees around the Mount Kenya region with over 4,000 farmers.
Alongside tree planting in Kenya, the brand is also supporting projects to distribute fuel efficient cookstoves to smallholder farmers in Malawi. These stoves use less fuel and reduce indoor air pollution while burning just as hot. This cookstove project contributes to balancing the carbon footprint by ensuring trees are preserved – avoiding deforestation is as important as planting new trees.
As well as insetting within the supply chain, Yorkshire Tea has made efforts to reduce its carbon emissions overall. These include:
- 100% of gas and electricity at its Harrogate HQ coming from renewable sources.
- Onsite solar panels which generate enough energy to power 80 UK homes for a year.
- Rainwater collection for toilets and zero waste to landfill.
- Working with the Kenyan Tea Development Agency to assess energy efficiency in factories and find way to make savings.
For more information about carbon neutrality and Taylors other sustainability work, visit the website
. Founded over 40 years ago by Taylors of Harrogate, Yorkshire Tea has grown from a small, regional tea brand to a household name that now makes more than five billion tea bags per year with exports to over 28 countries.