Ethical consumerism begins at home, and what could be more homely than a nice cup of tea? If we are to hold governments and big buisness to government, It’s important we question those every day things too. Otherwise we’re just a bunch of hypocrites.
In a moment of idleness as I waited for my cup of Tetley tea to perculate, I pondered the shape of your tea bags. If my memory serves me correctly, Tetley pioneered the round tea-bag, with a memorable animated advert based on a Beach Boys classic “I Get Around”. However, it occurred to me that circles cannot tesselate, and therefore the cutting of the bags must create some waste, where a square tea-bag would not.
While considering waste, I noticed that a whole new “50% extra” packet of 40 tea-bags was taped to the standard 80 tea-bag packet, rather than a new packet that would have used less packaging. Finally, I noted on the packet that Tetley tea is grown in India, Sri Lanka and Africa, but no ‘fair trade’ or environmental sysmbols are present on the pack.
By the time my tea was brewed, I had compiled a list of several questions for your team:
- How much paper waste is produced by Tetley in the manufacture of round tea-bags?
- Do you have a recycling policy?
- Do you have a strategy for reducing waste in your packaging? Do you think the excess packaging caused by your 50% offers are appropriate?
- What is your ethical policy towards growers in India, Sri Lanka and Africa? How do the wages they earn, and the prices they are paid for their tea, compare to the UK retail price?
- As an obvious market leader, why do you not have any Fair Trade or environmental accreditations?
I would be very grateful if you could provide answers to these questions. Your product is of a very high standard, but I believe your brand could be enhanced further by addressing the issues raised above.
Yours sincerley, etcetera.
I hope they reply. I should point out that Tetley do produce an organic range of tea-bags, but the method of growing is not relevant to the environmental impact of the packaging, nor to the way a company treats its employees and suppliers in developing countries.
PG Tips will be getting a letter soon too, but I don’t really trust those monkeys not to eat it or something.