Thanks to our Whole Trade Guarantee program, I get to work with a ton of great vendors who are using their businesses in order to change people’s lives. Every day I hear stories that are truly inspiring, and this blog is a place where I get to share it all with you. As you may remember, The Whole Trade Guarantee is a buying program that brings together a strict set of criteria for products from developing countries. This program guarantees exceptional product quality, more money for producers, better wages and working conditions for workers, sound environmental production practices and the support of poverty eradication through a donation of one percent of product sales to our Whole Planet Foundation. The Republic of Tea was so excited about this program that they decided to create an original product line exclusively for Whole Trade Guarantee. Their new Whole Trade Tea Collection includes FairTrade Certified™ blends made from premium organic full leaf black, green and red teas. The Collection includes: Big Bold (Wake Up the World Black Tea), Bing Cherry Vanilla (Share the Bounty Black Tea), Blueberry Lemon (Fruitful Partnership Green Tea), Blood Orange(Harvest of Hope Green Tea) and Apricot Honey (Branch Out to the World Red Tea – Rooibos). Each tea is packaged in a recyclable, airtight tin containing 3.5 ounces of full leaf tea (brews 50-60 cups). So what about the inspiring story? Here’s one. The green and black teas in their Whole Trade Guarantee teas come from Korakundah Garden in Southern India. This FairTrade Certified™ organic garden uses sustainable production methods and works to conserve local ecosystems. Tigers, panthers, elephants and sambars are spotted regularly in the dense jungle surrounding this pristine garden. And the tea sales fund healthcare, education, retirement, and safety for the workers. Here are a few highlights provided by Transfair USA:
- Fair Trade funded school improvements, including construction of a well-equipped new science laboratory, and purchase of a school bus and a set of 12 computers. Fair Trade income has also been used to construct a hostel that houses students who live far away from the tea garden’s school.
- Cooking gas is provided to all tea workers, reducing their reliance on time-consuming and resource intensive firewood collection.
- The workers created a pension and housing fund for retired tea workers. In a country that lacks adequate care and services for the elderly, this fund provides vital financial support, and helps retired members maintain their homes.
- All workers and children are now vaccinated against Hepatitis B and Typhoid at the garden’s health center. The workers are provided with accident insurance and medi-claim policies for all the workers.
- Fair Trade revenue funded infrastructure improvements to the workers’ community hall, including purchase of 700 chairs and protective window grills, and electricity installation.