Fairtrade Fortnight: Clipper Teas
In 1994 Clipper Teas became the first Fairtrade Tea company in the UK, but ethical trading has always been at the forefront of the company since it began in 1984 by Mike and Lorraine Brehme with just two chests of Assam tea in their kitchen from a single tea estate. Mike and Lorraine had a vision to share great tasting tea with everyone, tea that was ethically sourced and naturally produced.
I think it’s safe to say their dream was realised – in 1996 Clipper Teas was first stocked in supermarkets, now it’s difficult to miss the eye catching boxes on the shelves and the range has even grown to include green tea and herbal infusions which hit the shelves in 1999. Now Clipper Tea has expanded its range to include Fairtrade Certified coffee and hot chocolate to appeal to all hot drinks lovers, and even have even started their global journey in France!
The company began when Mike, who was already working with tea, realised that there was child labour involved and decided that was no way to make a living – people should not be exploited for our comfort. That mentality has survived and the brand is still going strong which just goes to show that you can be a successful company that pays a fair price for products sourced from developing countries.
Being Fairtrade Certified means that Clipper works with producers who are striving to improve standards of welfare for workers and their families through better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers in the developing world. Clipper pays a fair price for tea from producers, as well as a Fairtrade premium which goes back in the business or community which can be used to improve local infrastructure and supporting community projects. When you switch to buying Fairtrade, it is the producers and suppliers in developing countries that benefit the most, and I think that improving people’s lives is a good enough reason to pay that little bit extra for Fairtrade Certified goods.