Tetley, the world’s second largest tea brand has today launched an innovative initiative, facilitated by Facebook. It will allow consumers to communicate directly with tea producing communities who are working towards gaining Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM certification for their farms.

The Farmers First Hand initiative is all about ‘connection through conversation’. It will initially feature the Lujeri tea estate in Malawi (please see attached photo of the estate), and kicks off the launch of the first Tetley packs to carry the Rainforest Alliance green frog seal. Tea from Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM farms will be in Tetley packs on UK supermarket shelves in April followed by a Canadian launch in the summer and US, Australia and mainland Europe launches from 2012. The initiative will gradually expand to tea estates in other countries.

Tea farmers and estate workers will use phones and cameras provided by Tetley to share what they are doing. They will upload text messages, photographs and video clips to the Facebook page, allowing consumers to experience the estates journey towards certification as it happens, and get a sense of day to day life on a tea estate. Consumers will be able to communicate directly with the tea workers and each other via the Facebook page and add their comments.

Lucy Denny, Global Marketing Manager for the Tetley brand said:

“We want Tetley tea drinkers to enjoy their favourite cuppa knowing that by choosing it they have helped to protect the environment on tea estates and provide sustainable livelihoods for the people there. What better way to achieve this than by allowing them to personally connect with people on the estates and see and hear their story first hand.”