“Green” Tea or Greenwash?

Posted on September 15, 2010


When Lipton says it’s green tea is Rainforest Alliance Certified I immediately wondered what exactly that meant. In the tug of war between misleading advertising by “big food” and our right to know what’s in our food and where it comes from, a classic corporate “greenwashing” technique is to invent some kind of certification for your own product or buy into certification from a certifying body with low standards – basically a food industry advertising ploy. The Rainforest Alliance website has all the right buzzwords and idyllic images of smiling farmers but it’s what’s not being said that’s important; Not organic, and not fairtrade.

Criticism of the Rainforest Alliance on Wikipedia states:
Rainforest Alliance’s sustainable agriculture certification program has been dubbed “Fairtrade lite” in news articles published by The Guardian and the Manchester Evening News. It has also been criticized by academic Daniel Jaffee, from Michigan State University, and Oxford University professor Alex Nicholls for providing “greenwashing” cover for transnational corporations, therefore offering companies such as Chiquita and Kraft a cheap way to tap into the ethical consumer market. Some contentious issues include the certification system’s lack of prefinancing standards, of minimum guaranteed prices, and the permission to use the Rainforest Alliance seal on coffee containing (only) 30% of certified coffee beans.

Be sure; buy organic and fair trade certified.
Why buy organic tea?

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