Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Todd Rubin, the Minister of Evolution and President of The Republic of Tea. The Republic of Tea is one of the sponsors of the Food Tank Summit.
Food Tank (FT): What initiatives have you launched recently, or are planning to launch, that will further your company’s sustainability efforts?
Todd Rubin (TR): The Republic of Tea sustainability efforts stem from the values the company set up from its beginning in 1992. We use easily reusable or recyclable air-tight steel tins to package the teas that are either full leaf loose or in round, unbleached paper bags with no unnecessary strings, tags, or staples. We are close to the origins where we source teas and herbs to be sure the sustainability of ingredients is strong. This ensures that The Republic of Tea can enrich people’s lives with premium tea and herbs in a long-term and responsible manner.
We search for the highest quality teas and herbs, putting emphasis on finding organic when possible. The Republic of Tea recently launched four Organic SuperGreen Teas that blend organic green tea and organic matcha with different herbs for wellness. The Republic of Tea has also recently expanded our sourcing of biodynamic teas and herbs, certified by Demeter. Biodynamic farming means the teas and herbs were grown with a conscious approach to agriculture that emphasizes self-sustainability. The most recent biodynamic tea launched is a Hibiscus Tea grown in Egypt.
FT: What drives you and your company to push for sustainability?
TR: Not only is sustainability a personal value, but it is a value established nearly 25 years ago when the company began. It is part of who we are and what will make The Republic of Tea last.
FT: What is the biggest food related issue facing our planet right now? How is your company working to solve that problem?
TR: In the tea industry, we are seeing some changes in growing patterns that may be [attributed] to climate change. The Republic of Tea is a founding member of an international organization called the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP). The ETP monitors all of the origins of the tea its members source from and keeps us informed of issues and solutions, with climate change being one of them.
FT: Do you have any enlightening stories to share of collaboration between your business and other businesses or organizations that have changed your business practices?
TR: The vision of the ETP is a thriving tea industry that is socially just and environmentally sustainable. They have made a difference in the industry through how they involve the members, like us, and the producers, bringing us all closer to the value of sustainability in this industry.
FT: What three things do you want your customers to know about your company?
TR: The Republic of Tea enriches people’s lives through premium tea and herbs, innovation, and education, emphasizing a sip-by-sip rather than gulp-by-gulp lifestyle.
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