Climate Change Mitigation

In Kenya, energy and labour at processing factories account for 55% of the cost of tea production. Fuel wood is one of the biggest costs with the average tea factory using 20,000 cubic meters of firewood annually, which equates to  about 60,000 trees. The majority of processing factories are equipped with old equipment (lighting, furnaces, boilers etc) and don’t have good energy management policies in place, which means they don’t operate efficiently. This means there is huge scope for them to reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and costs.

How We’re Helping

The International Trade Centre (ITC)* commissioned us to develop resources that would help Kenyan tea farmers and processing factories reduce their impact on climate change. In order to do this we looked at ways to improve energy efficiency, better energy management, and switching to alternative farming practices with lower carbon footprints. Due to the success of this work, we are now rolling out climate change mitigation work to other KTDA factories across Kenya.

At the start of the project we carried out a pilot study including an energy audit at a typical KTDA processing factory in order to measure energy use, CO2 emissions, and costs. Using this information energy experts looked at appropriate measures and created an energy plan to improve factory’s energy efficiency and provide a blueprint for other factories in the KTDA group and private factories across Kenya. Measures included:

  • Upgrading fans used in the withering (drying) process
  • Replacing lighting with low energy alternatives
  • Better fuel wood management to improve heat generation
  • Using alternative fuels made from waste products, e.g. briquettes

We also looked at ways that farmers could reduce their impact on climate change and ways to save money. These included:

  • Appropriate application and dosage of fertiliser
  • Installation of energy efficient stoves to reduce fuel wood
  • Sustainable soil management and use of compost
  • Livestock manure management

Using this information we developed a training manual Mitigating Climate Change in the tea sector, which can be used by other tea factories and farmers to reduce their impact on climate change.

Key achievements at factory level

  • The processing factory now sources fuel wood from properly managed plantations as opposed to natural forests
  • Energy efficiency gains means less energy is being used – Electricity (-2%) and Fuel wood (-34%)
  • 30 acres of land has been planted with trees to provide fuel wood and another 70 has been set aside for the same purpose
  • The establishment of 5 wood storage and drying sheds has improved the drying of fuel wood and reduced the requirements for tea processing
  • The factory along with 4 others installed a mini hydro power station

Key achievements at smallholder level

  • About 50% of the 25,000 smallholders trained by the KTDA cooperative have opted to buy energy saving stoves – this means they use less fuel, which saves them money as well as effort collecting it. The stoves also produce less smoke.
  • Smallholders associated with the factory have a better understanding of climate change and have more respect for their environment – leading to less deforestation & pollution of rivers and more composting and soil improvement measures

Due to the success of the climate change mitigation pilot project, ETP has set up a number of additional projects to rollout the work across the Kenyan tea sector. ETP are now working with Taylors of Harrogate, Mars Drinks, and GIZ to rollout mitigation training to an additional 9 Kenyan Tea Development Agency (KTDA) factories. ETP are also in the process of developing partnerships with other key organisations to further improve the mitigation training approach and trial new and exciting opportunities for climate change mitigation in the Kenyan tea sector.

The pilot project was delivered in partnership with Rainforest Alliance and the Fairtrade labelling Organization (FLO), and built on our climate change adaptation work with GIZ.

The manual Mitigating Climate Change in the tea sector helps factories and farmers reduce energy consumption and climate emissions, and can help them save money.

Latest from our Blog

ETP Member Supports Tea Processing Factories to Reduce Energy Use

13 January 2017

My name is Bouke Bruinsma. I usually work as a Process Engineer in the Mars Chocolate factory in Holland, but at this moment I have the privilege of spending…

Read more

ITC Director Impressed by on-the-ground Climate Action!

10 August 2016

The International Trade Centre (ITC)* Director, Arancha Gonzalez recently made her maiden visit to Makomboki Tea factory at the foot of Aberdares, Kenya. Attending a United Nation’s Conference on…

Read more

An Audience with the WTO

16 February 2016

The first World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial conference on African soil was held in Nairobi at the end of last year. This conference gave me and others an opportunity…

Read more

Latest News

New Energy Approaches Set to Directly Benefit Tea Farmers in Kenya

23 June 2017

On Tuesday 9th May, the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) in partnership with the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), GIZ (the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH), MARS Drinks,…

Read more

Latest Resources

Reducing Energy Consumption at Tea Processing Factories (Kenya): x 6 posters

6 July 2015

Reducing Energy Consumption at Tea Processing Factories (Kenya): x 6 posters Six posters aimed at helping tea processing factories to improve energy management and energy efficiency measures. Ultimately this…


Mitigating Climate Change in the Tea Sector

1 April 2014

Mitigating Climate Change in the Tea Sector The manual provides a set of tools and resources to support the tea sector, particularly tea factories and tea farmers, in addressing…


How to Make Compost

1 July 2013

How to Make Compost