By: Chris Casey

  • Tazo aims to transition its entire tea, herbs and spices supply chain to a regenerative agriculture approach by 2029. The brand is hoping to develop 60% to 80% of its products through regenerative practices by the end of 2023, Tazo’s head of sustainability Jami Lewchik told Food Dive. 
  • The tea brand is also relaunching four of its tea varieties — Zen, Awake English Breakfast, Chai and Darjeeling — as part of its Regenerative Organic tea line, with their ingredients produced through regenerative agriculture practices. The products are also USDA Organic and made with Fair Trade USA and Rainforest Alliance certified ingredients.
  • Regenerative agriculture is increasingly being adopted by food and beverage companies to help meet their climate goals. Tazo is aiming for its operations to be carbon neutral by 2026. It is part of Ekaterra, a company formed from tea brands sold by Unilever in 2021, which has its own target of reaching net zero emissions by 2030.

An array of companies across the food industry — from PepsiCo to Cargill to Diageo — have turned to regenerative agriculture to improve their carbon footprint in recent years. They differ in how they define these farming practices. For Tazo, regenerative agriculture includes the use of cover crops, monitoring soil health and improving biodiversity, protecting waterways and forests, and providing pollinator and wildlife habitats, Lewchik said. 

“So maybe this isn’t done on every farm for every ingredient, but these are some of the things that happen throughout the supply chain,” Lewchik said. Tazo estimates that it takes about 17,000 acres to produce the ingredients and packaging fibers for all of the products across its portfolio.

Tazo’s regenerative approach extends beyond farming techniques, according to Lewchik. She said treating farm workers equitably with adequate wages, health care coverage and safety are part of the brand’s regenerative focus as well.

The ingredients Tazo sources are also certified by the Rainforest Alliance. The nonprofit focuses on climate standards to prevent droughts and flooding, protecting forests, ensuring human rights for farmers and providing livelihoods for workers.

Ingredients providers certified by Rainforest Alliance are put through a “rigorous set of standards” by third-party auditors, Lewchik said.

“You’re looking at independent audits that are done at the ingredient level and then a chain of custody that goes along with that,” said Lewchik. “You’re making sure that you’re responsibly protecting those ingredients throughout the supply chain.”

The tea brand also plans to make 100% of its packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Through its focus on the sustainability of its tea operations, Tazo believes it has the opportunity to create a positive ripple effect throughout the tea space.

“We are all buying the same botanical ingredients at the end of the day, farmed in the same areas around the world,” Lewchik said, adding that all companies have the potential to work toward net zero emissions, ending deforestation, using reusable packaging and providing fair wages for workers. “Imagine the impact that can have on the Earth.”