English Tea Shop calls for 2018 to be the year of ‘Creating Shared Value’

Tea brand urges businesses to find success through sustainability 

English Tea Shop, the leading independent speciality and organic tea company, is today calling on businesses to make 2018 the year of ‘Creating Shared Value’ (CSV), the practice of achieving growth by focussing on sustainable initiatives that simultaneously improve businesses.

With the issues of non-renewable materials, income inequality and modern day slavery riding high on the media agenda, English Tea Shop is calling for businesses to go above and beyond the minimum and to implement long-term plans that don’t only make the world a better place, but help them achieve a competitive advantage and sustained growth.

Suranga Herath
Suranga Herath

Suranga Herath, Chief Executive of English Tea Shop, is urging more companies to get on board. He comments: “Now is the perfect time for businesses of all sizes to take stock of their actions and to assess the social, economic and environmental impact they are causing.

“The current media focus should act as a springboard for businesses to broaden the debate away from simple corporate social responsibility (CSR) measures, to one that encompasses a wider set of issues and the creation of shared values which seek to address them.”

As the winner of the Business Award for Sustainability at the National Business Awards, English Tea Shop has fully embraced CSV – meaning it is committed to generating economic value in a way that also produces value for society by addressing its challenges[1], rather than mitigating or offsetting their impact through a traditional CSR programme.

A dedicated focus on CSV helped the English Tea Shop brand grow by 22% in the UK and 14% globally in 2017, with profitability increasing by 36%.

Their teas and tisanes are now sold in 50 international markets, with the company aiming to be in 80 by 2021. Additionally, English Tea Shop is sold in high-end department stores such as Selfridges, as well as hotels such as The Grange and Strand Palace.

Underpinned by their Love, Care, Change initiative, English Tea Shop ensures that all of its teas are 100% organic, which in turn has seen farmers command a greater price for their product.

This commitment has directly helped 1,082 organic farming families in 2017, as well as enhancing the livelihoods of 400 individuals who work in its Sri Lankan based manufacturing facility through an initiative called The Big Game. The initiative encourages employees to think entrepreneurially through a profit share mechanism that has driven engagement and increased productivity by over 30% per employee.

Looking further afield, Herath believes that as more companies begin to adopt CSV while experiencing fast-growth, a commonly held view that sustainability is anathema to business success will subside.

He concludes: “Today, it is not enough for companies to say they are committed to being socially responsible. The conversation has moved on to a point where placing sustainability at the heart of your business model will actually enable you to grow more quickly, pleasing both consumers and shareholders alike.

“Excitingly for us, this process is being driven by smaller, independent brands and this is a trend which is set to continue in 2018 and beyond.”