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What is the Ethical Tea Partnership, and Why is it Important?

November 15th, 2017

Here at Pluck Teas, we’re very passionate about sustainability, which is why we source all of our ingredients from members of the Ethical Trade Partnership. If you’re interested in learning more, keep reading.

The Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) is a non-profit organization that seeks to build a thriving tea industry that is both socially just and environmentally sustainable. The ETP is all about improving tea sustainability, the lives and livelihoods of tea workers and smallholder farmers, and the environment in which tea is produced. We’re proud to say that all of our tea leaves and ingredients are purchased from ETP members.

Since tea isn’t a publicly traded commodity, the Fairtrade rules don’t apply, and this is why the ETP exists. Out of the need for a system to oversee the ethical operations of the tea industry and to improve social conditions in supply chains, the ETP was formed in 1997 by a group of large United Kingdom-based tea companies. The ETP acts as the Fairtrade of tea.

What does the ETP do?

The ETP’s mission is create a united responsibility for raising the standards and establishing social responsibility when it comes to the production, packing, and supplying of tea. Their strategy includes making sure good human resource practices are in place, workers are all treated equally and with respect, child labour issues are appropriately addressed, smallholders and workers make a decent living, the environment is managed responsibly, and the producers meet international social, labour, and environmental standards.

What’s the difference between Fairtrade and ETP?

Although the Fairtrade and the ETP are both very similar, their main goals are different. The Fairtrade’s primary concern is to ensure stable profits for local producers, while the ETP mainly focuses on improving the social and environmental aspects of the tea industry. Unfortunately, prioritizing the economic model can allow for bad practices, social injustice, and lower tea quality. While tea farmers are required to pay a membership fee to join the Fairtrade, the ETP is free of charge to producers and funded by its members.

What qualifies a producer as ethical?

An ethical producer is one that meets international social and environmental standards, such as health and safety, agrochemical and environmental management, and fair and equal treatment of workers. It’s no wonder why here at Pluck, we’re proud supporters of the ETP!

Why is this important?

Without the Ethical Tea Partnership, tea workers could be exploited and the environment teas are grown in could be filled with chemicals. The ETP exists to improve both the sustainability of tea as well as the lives and livelihoods of tea workers.

When you purchase tea from us, you can rest assured knowing that every drop is backed by sustainable choices.

To find out more about the Ethical Tea Partnership, visit their website at To learn more about us, take a peek at Our Story.