A teamaker’s perspective on tea, from the family tea company that is decommoditing a commodity. A blog about tea, life in Sri Lanka and ethics in business.
Ethics
Distinctively tea

Distinctively tea

Tea and conspiracy have made strange but regular bedfellows, from the Opium Wars and the tea fuelled socialist revolutions to the Tea Tape Scandal in New Zealand last month. There is a tea conspiracy brewing though that is perhaps more sinister than ever before.
On business and biodiversity: a view from Nagoya

On business and biodiversity: a view from Nagoya

At the Convention for Biological Diversity’s Conference of the Parties 10 that is ongoing in Nagoya, Japan, opinions are divided on whether business has a role to play in biodiversity. Strange though that may sound, at the same Conference some businesses are justifying that opinion by their actions. Major pharmaceutical companies in several Western nations...
The Emperor and his new clothes (Donald Trump and his new tea)

The Emperor and his new clothes (Donald Trump and his new tea)

Funny how things seem to work in endless loops in business. Something becomes popular, it becomes a success, and that success attracts big business which buys up all the little guys who made the thing popular. As the bean counters take charge, things invariably go stale when they dismantle all that made the thing a...

Lies, damned lies and the coffee lobby

Fact and fiction should contrast as dramatically as black and white. Strangely that truth does not seem to hold anymore as the world enters a state of altered reality reminiscent of that which George Orwell described in 1949. In this dimension, it is not the State that is Big Brother, but something far worse. The...

The Harsher Truth behind the Harsh World

Suggesting that ‘..the fortunes of the Hill Tamil workers on its many plantations have not kept pace with the industry’s growth’ hides a much more complex reality than first meets the eye. Notwithstanding the superficial comment of the Ceylon Tea Traders’ Association representative that the workers are well cared for and not exploited, there is...

‘Greatness’ in a cup of tea

An advertisement in an inflight magazine on a trans Atlantic flight exclaims, ‘Experience the greatness of our new tea lattes’. Beneath, the advertiser earnestly underlines its claim, ‘ Yes, we did say greatness.’ And then it shows a photograph of a cup – nice, off white on green, probably porcelain – filled with a foamy,...

The bottom line

At a time when every politician and bureaucrat is more aware than ever of the plight of marginalized people in less developed countries and the need for fair trading relationships to ease the gulf that exists between rich and poor nations, there is little or nothing that is being done to address the human cost...

Ethics works both ways

Offered a cup of tea which prominently advertised its ‘fair’ heritage and its contribution to the welfare of the workers involved in its production, I unhesitatingly accepted. That acceptance unfortunately lasted only until the first sip when it became apparent that any claim to ‘fairness’ in this cuppa, did not apply to the consumer. The...

From Seattle to Nowhere (via Doha) in 10 years

The need for equitable development to address growing poverty is more urgent than necessary. The self interest of wealthy nations has drawn the promised free and fair trading system offered in 1999 by WTO, into a decade long catalogue of self interest and a pretence of commitment to free trade. Pascal Lamy's declaration that the...

Fair Trade, rhetoric and reality

Fairness is about justice, a basic element of humanity. In the sphere of international trade, that notion should logically be deployed simply because it is the right and only way forward. That deployment would be supported by widespread education and support from government and non governmental agencies to include as many producers, wholesalers, retailers and...

Quality in the age of cost cutting

Fears of global recession have corporate planners scurrying to improve their financial prospects, mainly by cutting costs. The snappily titled programmes that are the outcome of these are obviously intended for the consumption of Wall Street, but are they fair on consumers and the worker?

Someone’s got their hands in our crop

Decades ago it was smoke and mirrors that were used to create illusions. Today’s illusionists are a little more sophisticated – they use brands, certificates, and a lot of money – they have after all, much more to gain than J. N. Maskelyne or Harry Houdini. The illusion I talk of is a strange one;...