Australian tea brand T2 earns B Corp status


Friday, 17 April, 2020



Australian tea brand T2 earns B Corp status

Australia’s luxury tea brand T2 announced this year that it has achieved B Corp accreditation, making it one of the biggest retailers with B Corp status in Australia. The stamp of approval reflects the company’s high standards of social and environmental performance to be a business to leverage not just for growth but as a force for good. The Global CEO of T2, Nicole Sparshott, explains how she has used leadership to leverage profit, not just for growth but as a brewing force for good.

Short for Beneficial Corporation, B Corps are redefining success in business by challenging companies to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. In order to achieve the accreditation, B Corp requires companies to complete the B Impact Assessment; you’ll need to score at least 80 out of a maximum 200 and it reviews your corporate governance, workers, community, environment and customers of the brand.

For us at T2, it’s kind of a big deal to have joined the global B Corp community of over 3000 leading companies that are prioritising their social and environmental responsibilities through public transparency and legal accountability.

We began the journey to become a certified B Corp in 2018 and it has certainly been an eye-opening two-year process with every area of the business being assessed and giving us insight into ways to reduce our impact on the planet, and be leaders of change. We hit other major milestones along the way, like achieving a carbon-neutral status for our entire operation in 2019.

Prioritising the planet

While sustainability is an important practice to implement, it rings true for our specific industry.

In the past few years we have begun to see the impact of the climate on tea in a significant way — from droughts in South Africa that threatened rooibos crops to the ever-changing and unpredictable conditions in Darjeeling each year. Tea is a sensitive crop and cannot grow everywhere — the more harm we do to our environment, the less likely it is that future generations will be able to enjoy a drink that plays a significant role in cultures globally. Our work continues in the areas of sustainable sourcing of ingredients, supporting and improving the lives of the communities we source from.

Achieving B Corp has also provided incredible insights into how to improve our sustainable manufacturing practices. At T2, over 90% of packaging is now recyclable, re-usable or compostable, and we are on track to reach 100% in 2021. As an example, T2 retail bags are now made from uncoated paper without any plastic lamentation, making them 100% recyclable.

People

What I really love about B Corp is that it focuses on people as much as it does on planet. For us at T2, the core of our brand is that diversity in all forms makes the world more beautiful and what we exist to do is unite the world for good by promoting social inclusion and belonging for some of the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in our society. We celebrate, support and welcome people of all faiths, cultures, beliefs, gender identities, orientations and experiences. I’m proud to say that over half of our leadership positions and three-quarters of the global workforce are women.

Some of our B Corp milestones have been the introduction of a diversity inclusion action plan, the introduction of volunteer leave for all our team members globally, refreshed recruitment strategy including the introduction of blind recruiting and linking our individual goal plans to drive purpose.

And purpose

Australian retailers and businesses have a unique opportunity — to make a difference and show customers and employees that they are balancing profit with purpose through responsible and value-driven practices. As many businesses set to achieve higher standards, the B Corp has created the ultimate benchmark for balancing profit and purpose.

Fortunately, the future holds unparalleled opportunities for businesses that want to do good, rather than harm. Achieving B Corp isn’t an end goal for T2, rather the beginning. We have many more milestones and will continue to drive positive people and planet impacts, so that not only can we have the best tea in the world, but we can be the best for the world.

Nicole Sparshott (Nicky) has around 24 years of leadership experience in global corporations, spaning from food and beverage to health and personal care sectors. In 2011, she was promoted to VP Refreshment at Unilever where she led a portfolio of ice cream and beverage brands across Asia Pacific. In 2016, she was appointed CEO of T2 Tea, a company which took its first sip 20 years ago in Melbourne and now has over two hundred tea flavours like Fruitalicious and Jade Mountain and favourites such as French Earl Grey and Melbourne Breakfast. Nicky is also a board director of the World Wildlife Fund Australia.

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