The Regenerative Tea Scorecard Aims to Support Regenerative Farming

Kirin Holdings Company, Limited (Kirin Holdings) and Kirin Beverage Company, Limited (Kirin Beverage) have entered a partnership with the Rainforest Alliance on a project to develop and pilot a regenerative agriculture tea framework, “The Regenerative Tea Scorecard.” The Regenerative Tea Scorecard is based on the Rainforest Alliance’s definition of regenerative agriculture, which takes a conservation and restoration approach to farming by combining environmentally friendly farming practices with integrated systems management strategies to ensure soil health, on-farm biodiversity conservation, ecosystem restoration, and improved farmer livelihoods.

The project will begin in some tea plantations in Sri Lanka, the main producer of the tea leaves used in Kirin Gogo-no-Kocha, and a pilot test is scheduled for 2024. 

The Regenerative Tea Scorecard is intended to be a tool that farmers and companies can use voluntarily and easily to support tea farms in their transition to regenerative farming. It will help tea farmers assess their current farm practices and identify areas of improvement to transition to regenerative agriculture. It will be piloted in Kirin's supply chain.

According to research from the Food Marketing Institute, Inc., about 50% of the black tea leaves imported into Japan come from Sri Lanka. The Japan Tea Association says of those leaves, 24% are used in Kirin Gogo-no-Kocha. The Kirin Group has been supporting producers to take part in the Rainforest Alliance’s Certification*4 training since 2013, to build better partnerships with important tea-producing regions and the people who work there, and to continue producing tasty and reliable tea beverages. The Kirin Group supported 94 tea farms, equivalent to approximately 30% of all large estates in Sri Lanka, to receive Rainforest Alliance certification by the end of 2022.

The Rainforest Alliance Certification is an international certification program. Farms and businesses that participate in the program are audited against rigorous sustainability standards based on the triple bottom line: environmental, social, and economic. They are assessed by independent, third-party certification bodies to follow rigorous standard for sustainable agriculture and responsible business practices.

In 2021, The Kirin Group launched Kirin Gogo-no-Kocha Straight Tea 250ml LL Slim, which is made from 100% Sri Lankan tea leaves, of which more than 90% are Rainforest Alliance certified.

Tea farmers in Sri Lanka face a variety of challenges, including the climate change impacts of drought, heavy rainfall, and land use change impacts from urbanization. In July 2022, Kirin Holdings disclosed information related to natural capital*5 on a trial basis, based on The Nature-related Financial Disclosure Task Force approach, a risk management disclosure framework for companies to report and act on risks related to natural capital. (Note: See the Kirin Group Environmental Report 2022PDF:203KB.) Natural capital is the stock of natural assets that provide society with flows of renewable and non-renewable resources and ecosystem services.

The Kirin Group Environmental Report 2023, published in July 2023, also covered tea plantations in Sri Lanka, including a detailed analysis of “Locate” (discovering the nature interface) and “Evaluate” (diagnosing dependencies and impacts). It reported that training for the Rainforest Alliance Certification was an effective way to address issues.

However, certification has not been attained by all farmers, and The Kirin Group is therefore looking to support mainly small farms in their sustainability journey by joining with the Rainforest Alliance to introduce “The Regenerative Tea Scorecard.” Through this activity, the Kirin Group aims to support the practice of regenerative agriculture among tea farmers and improve the sustainability of raw material production areas.

The Kirin Group will continue to address complex and interrelated environmental issues (biological resources, water resources, containers and packaging, and climate change) in a holistic approach, and to work with all those involved in the value chain to connect our desire to enjoy and pass on the bounty of the earth’s bounty to future generations. We will proactively promote various initiatives that will have a “positive impact” on nature and people.


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