January, 2024

Davos 2024 – Investing in Nature

Our Climate & Environment Lead reflects on the implications of Davos 2024 for tea.

Global leaders gathered last week for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, and a key topic explored was the need for a long-term strategy for climate, nature, and energy. Given this environmental focus, our Climate & Environment Lead, Rachel Cracknell, kept a close eye on developments and reflected on the implications for tea.

One of the challenges posed to global leaders in Davos was how to secure a net zero, nature-positive world by 2050, and offer affordable, secure, and inclusive energy, food, and water access to all. The challenge to businesses is huge; but one that should not be overlooked given the clear business case for investing in climate and nature.

“The challenge to businesses is huge; but one that should not be overlooked given the clear business case for investing in climate and nature.”

The resounding call to action at Davos this year was that of ‘rebuilding trust’. And whilst the conversations at Davos were centred around global geo-political crises, at ETP, we see this as a call for businesses to invest in delivering on global climate and nature goals, and in doing so, building trust with their customers.

We know that climate change impacts the delicate balance of our planet’s ecosystems and threatens human rights, including the right to life, food, water, and housing. We support initiatives that aim to protect and restore our environment, while strongly encouraging our members and other stakeholders to adopt credible, science-based targets.

As the effects of climate change become more acute, it is increasingly important to address environmental issues – especially as the farmers, workers, and communities who rely on tea for a living are particularly vulnerable to climate impacts. Our Strategy2030 clearly outlines our ambitions in this area, with the goal of achieving an environmentally sustainable tea industry.

Together with our members and partners, we continue to undertake robust programmatic work across Africa and Asia, supporting the tea industry to become less vulnerable to the increasing risks posed by climate change.

“At Davos, companies clearly recognised the importance of trees as a means of environmental conversation. ”

At Davos, companies clearly recognised the importance of trees as a means of environmental conversation, with over 100 companies pledging to conserve, restore and grow over 12 billion trees. This echoes with our Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) project in Malawi, which recognises the interconnected needs of tea farmers, women, their communities, and the environment.

We’re working with several key Malawian and international partners, as well as our members Tata Consumer Products and Ringtons to pilot a PES project focused around tree planting and agroforestry. Our project aims to achieve three things: to financially support tea farmers, to strengthen women’s equality, and to help communities to adapt to climate change.

We’ve listened to the Malawian tea farmers and adapted our project to meet their needs; financially incentivising farmers to plant trees to mitigate the impact of climate change. Our initiative goes beyond environmental and economic outcomes, also tackling gender equality issues through intentional and proactive project design. We aim to initially involve 20,000 farmers in Malawi, before scaling up globally. Click here to read more about this work.

“We know the challenges are vast and that no single initiative – or organisation – can drive change alone; systemic change will not happen overnight.”

We know the challenges are vast and that no single initiative – or organisation – can drive change alone; systemic change will not happen overnight. But we believe that by listening to workers, farmers, and communities and working collectively as an industry we can realise our vision of a tea sector that is thriving, socially just, and environmentally sustainable.

Click here to learn more about our global work on environmental sustainability, as part of our Strategy2030.