Originally published at: An Organic Brew That Gives Back: That’s Our Cup Of Tea - B Lab Australia & New Zealand
We’ll never say no to a good cuppa’. But one that’s organic and charitable too? Now that’s really our cup of tea.
Based in Aotearoa New Zealand, Charity Tea has been supplying feel-good, ethically sourced tea to cafes, offices, and homes since 2018. As the name would suggest, being a force for good has been core to the business from their very first brew.
Charity Tea’s story begins with founder Gill Bredl, who couldn’t turn a blind eye when she learnt about the issue and prevalence of malnourishment in children in Haiti, as well as the flow-on effect this issue has on families and communities. Gill explains that “many children only have 1 or 2 meals a day, and if a parent is unable to feed their children, the only option they have is to give their child to big charities who can.”
As a social worker and mother herself, Gill was drawn to help provide much needed meals while keeping families together. What began as a commitment to sponsor meals for one child for a year grew into Charity Tea, who today with their partners have provided over 14,000 meals to children in need.
Approaching sustainability with a holistic view, Charity Tea boast a number of environmental and locally focused initiatives too. Where possible they prioritise Aotearoa New Zealand suppliers, and choose to use organically grown tea for its benefits to farmers and soil health. Charity Tea are also a climate positive business, offer plastic-free tea bags, and work with the Ministry Of Social Development to employ people from disadvantaged people-groups.
We’re celebrating Charity Tea’s recent certification! So pop the kettle on, sit back, and enjoy reading our chat with the team about the huge impact one small cup of tea can have.
Image: Charity Tea
You started Charity Tea to help feed children in need, but your positive impact as a company stretches well beyond that to initiatives that protect our planet too. Can you tell us a little about Charity Tea and the work that you do?
Charity Tea sells ethically sourced organic tea to raise money for charity. Through our partnership with Little footprints, big steps’ food program, every packet of tea purchased provides food for hungry children in Haiti and Aotearoa New Zealand.
In Haiti many children only have 1 or 2 meals a day, and if a parent is unable to feed their children, the only option they have is to give their child away to big charities who can. Through this program, we’re not just filling hungry tummies. We’re keeping families and communities together.
We’re also passionate about minimising our impact on the environment by using compostable, recyclable, and refillable packaging, and by supplying our tea in loose-leaf and plastic-free tea bag options. We choose to use organically grown tea as it is better for the soil and for the people who grow it. Where possible, we also choose to sell tea that has been grown here in Aotearoa New Zealand.
We are also an Ekos certified climate positive company. The carbon credits from our business operations come from the Rarakau Rainforest Conservation project, 738 ha of tall coastal Indigenous rainforest based in Aotearoa New Zealand’s south island.
What made you want to certify as a B Corporation, and do you have any advice for aspiring B Corps?
We wanted to certify as a B Corporation because we value people and the planet in all of our business operations. We try to make ethical decisions in everything we do and we recognise the value and importance of verifying the good that we do with external certification.
In terms of advice, I’d say to allocate plenty of time and just get started!
Image: Charity Tea
In purpose-led business we know that so much good happens behind the scenes. What’s an area of Charity Tea that you are really proud of, that people may not know about?
I think one of the areas we have made a difference is partnering with the Ministry Of Social Development, Aotearoa New Zealand to employ disadvantaged people groups. It was a secondary driver but one where we have seen a lot of growth. I’ve seen staff grow in leadership, confidence and live more purposefully.
Charity Tea sells to both businesses and individual household consumers. What are some changes you’d like to see in the general culture of consumption from businesses and individuals in coming years?
I’d like to see a shift in people valuing quality over price. Cheap clothes, cheap tea and other cheap products costs lives. I’d like to see people valuing ethics when considering their purchases. I’d like to see businesses using their social procurement budgets to support local businesses and care about the triple bottom line.
Where do you look to for inspiration? Was there someone that particularly inspired you as you’ve travelled through your certification journey?
I was inspired by the work and wisdom of Grow Good who help businesses become B Corp certified.
A big thank you to Charity Tea for taking the time to share its journey with us. To find out more and explore their offering visit: charitytea.co.nz