Australia's premium tea brand, T2, has announced that it has achieved B Corp accreditation. This significant achievement by T2 marks an important shift in the power of businesses to use growth as a means to a greater good.
T2 commenced its business transformation in 2017 with the aim of driving positive impacts, which would lay the foundation for its journey in 2018 to secure the coveted B Corp certification. The swift achievement of B Corp accreditation is a testament to the significant progress T2 has made across employees, communities and the environment.
"We are delighted to announce the T2 B Corp accreditation, which reflects our mission to be leaders and agents for positive change in the tea category and industry at large," said Nicole Sparshott, T2 Global CEO.
"At T2, we consider our impact in every step of our business, from first leaf, to the last sip. Our mission is to continuously strive to do good across the business to ensure that all actions taken benefit both people and planet."
"Achieving B Corp certification embodies T2's company purpose to be good, do good and feel good across planet, people and product," Sparshott said.
T2 now joins a worldwide B Corp community of business leaders that are prioritising their social and environmental responsibilities. T2 extends its purpose values to its people through its cultural philosophy to celebrate difference by making a difference. This is evident in the business' engagement of specialist recruitment agencies to sustain a diverse team in age, background and identity.
"We pride ourselves as a business that puts people first – by acknowledging our differences we can reduce inequality, create healthier environments, build stronger communities and create jobs with dignity and purpose," reflected Sparshott.
Short for Benefit Corporation, the B Corp certification is managed by B Lab, a non-profit entity that focuses on corporate, social and environmental responsibility to use business as a force for good.
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
T2 has demonstrated the use of profits and growth to create an inclusive and sustainable business, including:
• In 2020, T2 expects to source over 70% of tea ingredients from certified sustainable sources, with the balance on track to be certified sustainable in 2021.
• Over 90% of T2 packaging is now recyclable, reusable or compostable, 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 - which will divert over 100 tonnes of waste from landfill annually.
• The carbon footprint in the brand's operations has been measured and offset.
• All teawares and accessories are now sourced from suppliers that are ethically audited by the SMETA 6.0 or BSCI standards.
• Implementing 'blind recruiting', which means that shortlisting job candidates is done without the hiring manager knowing an applicant's name, date of birth, gender, educational institution or hiring appearance.
• Supporting charities such as The Smith Family and campaigns to drive inclusion and opportunity in Australia and globally.
"We believe we have a responsibility to uphold sustainable practices so future generations can continue to enjoy this important beverage for all cultures," said Sparshott.
T2 is committed to expanding the boundaries of social and environmental responsibility within the broader business community. The B Corp journey will continue to drive T2 to be a business that treads lightly on the planet, as the brand endeavours to brew up a world that benefits all.
T2 global CEO and sustainability trailblazer, Nicole Sparshott, shares with Female her vision for a more responsible approach to people and planet by corporates, with the announcement that luxury tea brand, T2, is now B Corp accredited, having attained acknowledgement, for achieving the highest standard of social and environmental performance, a milestone to be proud of.
Question: Congratulations on achieving B Corp accreditation, what does this mean for T2 and their shoppers?
Nicole Sparshott: Thank you! Earning B Corp accreditation marks the achievement of a two-year long dream to ensure the business of purpose is an important part of the agenda.
Short for Beneficial Corporation, B Corps are redefining success in business by challenging companies to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. B Corps are businesses 'that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose'.
To achieve B Corp accreditation businesses need to meet various criteria across product, people, planet and purpose, based on rigorous assessment. At T2, we re-engineered our entire business, end-to-end, and it has been an immensely insightful and purposeful journey.
We believe having this certification at T2 will underpin our social and environmental ambitions across our tea, teawares, packaging and people.
Question: How has T2 approached their shoppers request for more sustainable products?
Nicole Sparshott: Customers are increasingly becoming more aware of the effects the products they buy or services they use are having on the environment and wider society.
From offsetting carbon emissions to working towards eradicating single-use plastics from our packaging and making sure that we source teas from estates that protect and care for the local and wider environment, we are continually looking at how we can achieve more. In 2020, we will source 72% of our tea ingredients as certified sustainably sourced, with the remaining 28% on track to be certified sustainably sourced by 2021.
Question: Conscious consumerism has always been at the forefront for T2; how have you adapted to the rise of shoppers looking for socially conscious brands?
Nicole Sparshott: We serve 50 million cups of tea every single year, that's 50 million opportunities for us to have a positive impact on people that we serve each and every day.
We're mindful that consumers are looking to shop with companies that 'walk the walk': have a strong purpose, set of values and is responsible in their relationship with the environment.
What I really love about being part of the B Corp community is that it has helped us focus on looking for ways to reduce our impact on the planet, so not only can we have the best tea in the world but be the best for the world.
Question: How does T2 ensure they are creating a positive impact for their employees?
Nicole Sparshott: The core of our brand is that diversity in all forms makes the world 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 marginalized groups in our society.
We are constantly reviewing our recruitment practices and are continuing to build on the existing progress made in the diversity and inclusion space. Some of our B Corp milestones have been the introduction of a diversity inclusion plan, volunteer leave for all our team members globally and blind recruiting.
Question: Can you talk us through your success and advice with 'blind recruiting'?
Nicole Sparshott: The blind recruitment process involves removing the candidates name and other personal identifying information, such as gender and date of birth in the application process. It's a powerful tool in helping reduce unconscious bias from our hiring managers, focusing solely on the candidates' skills, experience and suitability for the role, rather than being influenced by their cultural background through stereotyping of names for example.
The process fits in with our open, honest and transparent culture at T2, where we celebrate, support and welcome people of all faiths, cultures, beliefs, gender identities, orientations and experiences.
Question: What is currently your favourite T2 product?
Nicole Sparshott: At the moment I am loving The Quiet Mind – it is part of our new Wellness range of teas and has ashwaganda, chamomile and eucalyptus – its comfort in a cup. I am an avid tea drinker, and I especially love that all our teabags are made entirely from plant-based sources as well as 90% of our packaging now recyclable, reusable or compostable, on track to reach 100% in 2021.
Question: What's next for T2?
Nicole Sparshott: We have many plans for T2, and are entirely committed to push the boundaries of both social and environmental responsibility and be the champion for change. The B Corp journey will continue to drive T2 to be a business that treads lightly on the planet, and kindly with people, as the brand endeavours to brew up a world that benefits all.
Interview by Brooke Hunter