Awareness is growing about sustainability in the Chinese tea sector, as demonstrated by recent invitations for ETP staff to speak at tea sector events in China. In October 2009, ETP Regional Manager, Hubert Chen spoke at the annual conference of the China Tea Marketing Association (CTMA) and in January 2010, ETP Executive Director Sarah Roberts was invited to address a conference specifically convened by the CTMA and Solidaridad to focus on sustainability issues in tea. ETP has been working on ethical sourcing issues in China since 2006 when awareness was still very low and these are extremely welcome developments.
Sarah and Hubert explained why ETP members are interested in sustainability and outlined the work that ETP has been doing to support producers in ETP member supply chains understand the social and environmental risks they face and the improvements that are required, providing examples of the significant health and safety improvements that had been made in one particular supply chain. ETP also outlined their 2010 work programme; further health and safety training and new programmes to improve safe use of agro-chemicals and improve the management of key social issues.