Sustainabili-Tea – Haflong Tea’s Sustainability Journey
Sustainability covers all aspects of a business. When it comes to longevity of the business as well as the planet, sustainability is crucial. What does sustainability entail? According to the United Nations, there are 17 sustainable development goals we can work towards to transform our world. To truly achieve sustainability, businesses and individuals alike have to strive to make a positive impact in each goal. When speaking about sustainability, we also look at the three pillars of sustainability: economic viability, environmental protection and social equity where economic viability should not override the other two pillars in terms of priority.
As a company that regularly works with external vendors, it is quintessential to make sure that our vendors are ethical and mindful of the welfare of their staff. In the tea gardens we visited, other than providing jobs and breaking the cycle of poverty, quality education is ensured, free of charge. Majority of the workers on the farms are women. This financial support helps to empower these women and reduce families’ reliance on a single breadwinner.
In a less agricultural based society such as Singapore, we can still extend this empowerment to people less fortunate than us. Haflong Tea works with vendors that hire persons who are physically challenged. Similarly, these people are now able to support themselves, moving a step closer to financial independence.
Nonetheless, we still have a long way to go. There is still much to learn. The first step is to actively reach out and speak with the ones we are trying to support. Haflong Tea has met Daughters of Tomorrow and we were able to learn more about the plight of these women.
We also look outwards towards talks and discussions to expand our horizons. We attended a talk co-hosted by the Singapore Breast Cancer Foundation where survivors shared their emotional journey overcoming breast cancer. What better way to educate ourselves on the useful resources for breast cancer patients than through the survivors themselves?
Haflong Tea with the wonderful ladies who shared the same passion of learning more about Breast Cancer.
Workplace Diversity and Culture
Diversity in the workplace has been an area that we place a lot of importance on. We should always be conscious of how our life experiences can shape certain biases and how easy it is to fall back on them. To find out more, Haflong Tea went directly to the experts who have had over 20 years of leadership experience.
By sourcing our teas directly from plantations, we are able to reduce our carbon footprint. Haflong Tea has witnessed the tea gardens we work with reusing tea scraps to make compost and mulch. In the growing of teas procured by Haflong Tea, natural pesticides are used instead of chemical ones. When selecting local vendors, another criteria would be their proximity. That way, we can further cut and reduce our carbon footprint. In our office, we only use what we require, both in terms of water as well as electricity.
Secondary to the first step we took as a company was to reduce the plastic used across all our packaging. This is an effort to target both goals 12 and 13 of the sustainable development goals. Our organic, hand-sewn cotton tea bags are not only reusable but biodegradable. The tea bags used in our Heritage Collection are biodegradable tea bags.