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Sustainable Ethical Fair Trade Tea

Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP)   Fair Treatment of Tea Growers   Tea - A Continuous Crop

Stonehouse Teas obtains most of  its premium teas from members of the Ethical Tea Partnership.

The Ethical Tea Partnership is one of the more positive developments we’ve seen over the years.

What is the ETP?
The ETP is an initiative started within the tea industry to monitor and regulate the living and working conditions on tea estates. The organization is run and regulated by member companies and bolstered by regular external audits by Price Waterhouse Cooper. (The global accounting firm responsible for tabulating and guarding votes for the Academy Awards.)

A Transparent View of the Tea Trade
The goal of the organization is to provide consumers with a complete understanding of where tea is grown and manufactured. Everything from fair compensation to health coverage, housing and childcare comes under close scrutiny.

Note: The ETP is similar to the Fair Trade organization, but has a much broader scope for tea consumers since its focus is on tea only. Because tea is not a publicly traded commodity like coffee, Fair Trade is unable to penetrate many of the nuances and regional peculiarities of the tea trade.

Where the ETP also differs from Fair Trade is primary focus. Fair Trade’s focus is mainly on economics. The ETP is a socially and environmentally directed organization. This can be helpful since an economically based model, where higher prices are paid in the developing world, can leave the door open for unscrupulous companies to bolster lost margins elsewhere along the supply chain.

  • In some instances it is becoming clearer that purchasing ETP certified teas is the best way to ensure that your teas were produced in an ethical manner.
  • For more information, please call one of our representatives or visit:

Ethical tea tastes better.


Fair Treatment of tea growers is something taken seriously at Stonehouse Teas.

As part of this mandate, Stonehouse Teas does business with suppliers that are Fair Trade certified wherever possible.

What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is an international movement that promotes increased standards of living for laborers in developing countries. The movement has a focus on export products and endeavors to ensure that a fair amount of profits remain in workers’ hands. Fair Trade also attempts to regulate environmental controls on industries in the developing world.

Fair Trade for the Tea Industry
As of 2007, some estates are still beyond the scope of Fair Trade certifying bodies. In these cases, we do what we can to ensure that our suppliers adhere to fair practices for their own workers and any freehold tea growers who supply their factories.

In the world of tea, governance is accomplished primarily through the work of the Ethical Tea Partnership. The Ethical Tea Partnership is a tea industry initiative to regulate all facets of tea manufacture to ensure that ethical practices are adhered too. While Fair Trade deals with many different commodities, the ETP is 100% focused on tea and is quickly becoming a highly respected and trusted overseer.

Exceptional Teas are Not Produced by a Workforce Under Duress
Rather, they are produced by a healthy and fairly compensated workforce. One with a vested economic and social interest in their product In many cases this includes free schooling and medicare for children and family in addition to fair prices for fresh leaf. Doing business with only the top 10% of the world’s estates and making annual visits to our suppliers ensures this is always the case.

Further information may also be found at:


Tea is a continuous crop.

Unlike other crops like wheat or many varieties of vegetables, tea grows all year. Certainly there are peak production periods, but quality tea can be plucked and processed throughout the year. Tea is also a very hearty plant. Some varieties can yield suitable leaf for 30 – 100 years, reducing the need for replanting and any of the emissions associated with replanting.

A continuous crop also means no downtime for tea pluckers and tea factory workers in the developing world – income continues all year long.

Quality Teas are Hand-Plucked
Due to the mountainous terrain and high altitude of the world’s greatest tea growing regions, luxury teas must be hand-plucked. This means that for many of the world’s finest teas, and virtually all of Stonehouse Tea’s products, the plucking process consumes very little fossil fuel and subsequently releases virtually no CO2.

Note: This is not necessarily the case with some lesser quality teas. For example, blending stock used in bulk supermarket teabags may have been machine harvested.

Tea - Great For The Body And The Environment
Unlike many other commercial crops, tea has a very low environmental impact. Tea plantations have long been considered environmentally friendly, and continue to be so.

Tea Plantations Absorb CO2
As a rule, tea plantations are net absorbers of CO2, rather than emitters.

Most estates use timber, or refuse wood for fuel as often as possible. Root-stock from exhausted tea bushes is also used. Unlike fossil fuels, wood is much cleaner to burn and is a renewable resource.

A great cup of tea makes helping the planet easy.