On May 16, 2017, more than 60 diverse stakeholders from across the Argentine tea industry gathered to discuss best practices and risks impacting the tea industry in the Misiones province. The workshop, sponsored by S&D Coffee & Tea, Finlays and Tea 2030, examined ways in which the industry could collaborate to build a vibrant, resilient and prosperous tea sector for many years to come.
The need for this collaboration originated at the seventh annual North American Tea conference, which was held in 2016 in Niagara, Canada. The U.S. and Canada source a significant amount of tea from Argentina, making it vital to the North American industry. The region is also seen as more technologically advanced and efficient when compared to other sourcing areas. After the 2016 annual conference, tea companies S&D and Finlays partnered with the nonprofit Forum for the Future, leader of Tea 2030, to better understand social and environmental risks in the region and how to mitigate them.
During the workshop in Oberá, stakeholders shared key landscape-level risks to the industry, including social, economic and environmental risks and external risks from international markets. Social and economic risks include infrastructure challenges in the Misiones province and financial risk due to lack of credit and growing inflation. Environmental hazards include pests, climate fluctuations and waste. Some of these risks may be easier to address than others in the near and long term.
Key conclusions from the workshop included:
The problems facing the Argentine tea industry are larger than any enterprise can take on alone.
Collaborative action is needed and could take many forms, from the creation of local leader groups to more sophisticated tools like a Landscape Accounting Framework which can help producers and commercial actors better understand landscape-level risks.
Larger cross-functional organizations can provide a forum for interested parties — from smallholder farmers to tea brands — to openly discuss critical issues for long-term sustainability.
In the weeks to come, Tea 2030 will be sharing a full workshop report including suggested next steps for action. For more information on these initiatives, please contact Rodrigo Bautista at firstname.lastname@example.org.