A greener way to boil
As part of our commitment to Doing Things Properly, we recently completed a carbon footprinting exercise in order to better understand our current baseline emissions. This ongoing work all forms part of our Sustainability Roadmap, in particular with regards to playing our part in the UN’s race to net zero.
We were keen to be comprehensive with the exercise - after all if we are to get to work reducing these emissions, we need to have a very good handle on what our starting point is. The report therefore went into a lot of detail, analysing everything from the carbon intensity of growing tea in all the different regions, to the emissions involved in getting the leaves from tea fields around the world to us here in London. We look forward to sharing more about the results in our Impact Report later this year, but (spoiler alert) the headline conclusion was quite surprising: that the single biggest contributor to our carbon footprint, from leaf to cup, is the boiling of the water that you and I use when making a cup of our tea. In fact, the figures are quite astonishing. We're not the first to shine a light on this issue of course - what is known as the 'Great British Kettle surge' has long been a major challenge for the National Grid, and one that requires careful planning to ensure that the electricity demands of the nation's kettles are met, even when they surge all at once during a popular TV show ad break. The 'Smart Boil' campaign has already sought to draw attention to the issue too.
Now, this discovery is a tricky one for us, because unlike finding a more efficient and greener way to say, transport our tea from our growers in Malawi to our home in South East London, this one doesn't solely sit with us (hello faithful tea drinkers), but we can help - starting with our packaging. You'll notice on our brand new 50's retail packs we've now added a 'Boil Smart' reminder, and alongside this we've got our thinking hats on for how we can continue to help raise awareness around the issue.
In the meantime, how can you help? It really is as easy as just changing the way you pop the kettle on. With a little more thought when it comes to filling your kettle, every one of us can greatly reduce the environmental impact of our teas. In fact research commissioned by the UK Tea and Infusions Association (UKTIA) revealed that simply altering the way we measure the water needed for a cup of tea can help cut 618 tons of carbon emissions per day — the equivalent of 1.5 million miles in journeys in the average family car, and reduce energy bills by £455,764 per day as a nation. Quite something!
So, starting today, here is how to boil smarter:
1. Add your tea to your pot or mug
2. Fill the kettle with just the right amount of fresh, filtered water (you can do this by either filling your mug or cup first and adding it to the kettle, or use the cup guide on the side if you have one).
3. Boil the kettle
Another little tip - only boil the kettle when you know you're ready! How many times do you flick the switch, sit back at your desk, and then need to re-boil? You'll also have a much better tasting cup of a tea as a result. You're welcome : )