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Sustainability is important. In our view, the issue of ecologically meaningful trade does not play an ancillary role, but rather an essential one. But let us be honest and say: we are not yet sustainable, but we are on the right track! Even if we were to be one of the environmentally conscious companies!

We strive to become more sustainable and ecological. There are still some hurdles to be faced on our way to being climate-neutral. Here we want to tell you what we are doing to balance our emissions, what carbon sinks are and what it all has to do with tea!


Climate-friendly forest climate balanceCompensation by afforestation – Carbon Offset

Companies and individuals alike can improve their ecological footprint by compensating for climate. In doing so, the emissions caused by the company are compensated by supporting climate projects. This accurately captures how much carbon dioxide is caused by the company. On this basis, the company can participate in projects that ensure that CO2 is saved and compensated. There are many ways to do this.

Some projects support the construction of wind and solar plants and developing countries in order to prevent people there from having to cut down forests in order to generate electricity. Other projects, on the other hand, plant new forest areas themselves, which absorb CO2 from the air and store it in the soil.

Certificates for climate compensation

Certificates are issued for climate compensation, which confirm that a project will make a lasting contribution to reducing emissions. Such certificates are awarded, for example, by Gold Standard, an independent non-profit organisation in Geneva. These allowances can then be purchased voluntarily by companies or by nations bound, for example, by the Kyoto Protocols.

The climate composition is intended for unavoidable emissions, where it is currently very difficult to change anything. An example of this would be the still unclean global transport of goods or emissions through legal requirements, which we have to comply with. However, we are optimistic that there will be clean alternatives in the future. As soon as it is possible for us to switch to clean alternatives, we will do so without hesitation!

To compensate for emissions, carbon sinks are used to absorb and store carbon dioxide from the air.

Carbon sinks

A carbon sink is an ecosystem that absorbs and stores carbon from the atmosphere. Over the millennia, carbon storage has led to the formation of oil, coal or natural gases. By burning these fossil fuels, the stored carbon is added back to the atmosphere.

Therefore, it is important to create new forest areas and to accelerate the binding of CO2. On the other hand, it is essential to use as little fossil fuels as possible and to prevent the release of new carbon.

 

Forests

Mixed Forest Minimalist Climate NeutralForests are a massive carbon store. The living plants absorb CO2 from the air, which they need in the course of photosynthesis to generate energy. In this process, part of the carbon is stored in the plant. If the plant dies, some of the carbon is released back into the atmosphere as the plant rots and decomposes. This does not create an imbalance in the atmosphere.

However, some of the carbon is stored in soil as a humus and does not return to the air. A forest is therefore considered a carbon sink as soon as the mass of the forest as a whole increases. This increasing proportion is essential when it comes to reducing CO2 levels and offsetting emissions.

According to a study by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, young trees in particular bind a lot of carbon dioxide. When the forests reach a certain age, their CO2 absorption decreases. This means that forests cannot bind unlimited carbon from the atmosphere. In order to become climate neutral, it is therefore incredibly important to reduce global emissions and slow climate change.

Oceans

The sea is full of phytoplankton. Microscopic plants, which like all other plants, perform photosynthesis. Phytoplankton thus binds carbon as an organic mass. As soon as this organic mass dies, it sinks to the bottom of the ocean, where the bound carbon is stored. A healthy, species-rich sea is therefore particularly important for the climate.

When it comes to environmental protection, it is therefore not only important to protect forests. In order to become climate neutral, we must ensure that we have healthy, clean and active seas. The prevention of plastic is an important issue.

Savannahs

Especially after the strong bushfires in Australia, it may sound weird when we say that controlled fires can lead to savannas becoming carbon sinks. In which the area of the savannah is burned in a mosaic and controlled manner, the savannah loses less mass in naturally occurring fires. The stored portion of Co2 is higher than it would naturally occur. A carbon sink has been created!

This procedure is carried out in many areas with a high risk of fire. Of course, it is extremely important that the fires are put down by the local fire brigade and the forestry companies and that they are professionally restricted. The YouTube channel MinuteEarth has created a great video on the subject!

 

Obstacles to sustainability

Hurdle 1: Energy use

If one compares the energy use of the whole world with that in Germany, it is striking that the use of renewable energy in Germany is much higher than the global average. However, there is still much to change. After all, more than a quarter of our energy is still produced from coal, and a large proportion of it is supplied by gas and nuclear energy.

On the road to a sustainable society, we must further develop the use of innovative and clean energy sources. Because we are all dependent on the electricity grid and otherwise the use of it will inevitably harm the environment.

 

Climate neutral climate neutrality Germany
energy sources in Germany.

If you look at the development of sustainable energy sources, however, it looks hopeful! Since 2000, the production of renewable energies in Germany has risen sharply. In 2019, 244 TWh of a total of 600 TWh of energy generated were generated sustainably, and the trend continues to rise. With the dismantling of coal-fired power stations and the extraction of energy from oil and gas, we are continuing on the road to a sustainable and clean society.

 

Renewable Energy Germany
Development of the use of renewable energies in Germany; Sources: BDEW; Federal Statistical Office; AGEB; BMWi; ZSW; Statistics of the coal industry

 

Hurdle 2: Unclean transport routes

No matter how we send our tea around the world, the global transport routes are always unclean. The only and accessible transport routes are by plane or container ship. Neither is much kind to Mother Nature.

An alternative would have to be made, such as a hydrogen-powered container ship. There are no ready-made container ships of this type yet, but there are already smaller ships that are completely free of emissions. The energy observer ship, for example, can use solar energy to process water from the ocean into usable hydrogen. The ship is currently in its second year of its planned seven-year journey, in which it sails around the world without having to refuel once!

Another bright spot: the world’s largest container ship shipping company Maersk has set itself the goal of working completely clean by 2050. We are optimistic that there will be better and more innovative ways of transporting goods in the future!

What does all this have to do with tea?

Well, everything and nothing. We would, of course, like more companies to choose to act in an environmentally friendly way, regardless of the industry they come from. Nevertheless, as a tea merchant, we are particularly committed to making our contribution to a clean future. Because the products we sell grow in nature and are thus directly connected to the ecosystem.

Anyone who knows us a little better as a company knows that we pay close attention to where our tea comes from when purchasing goods. We only work with manufacturers who do not use synthetic fertilizers and plant protection products and who respect and appreciate nature.

We have already written more about sustainability and organic farming in a separate article.

Visit our online shop!

In our online shop you can expect a lot of great teas from all over the world. Whether green, white, black or… Whatever, with us you will find a great selection of high-quality teas. Get your palate flatterer in our online shop. We look forward to your visit!