SIAL Talk: How can we make a positive difference on the world?

December 5, 2023

In this SIAL Talk, visitors to the show had the opportunity to attend a session with Andy Brown, Managing Director, Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate Ltd.

A commitment to sustainability and quality

Andy Brown, with 36 years of experience in the tea and coffee industry and a 22-year tenure at Taylors of Harrogate, spoke about the company’s commitment to sustainability. Emphasising the importance of balancing people, planet, and profit, Brown highlighted Taylors of Harrogate’s unique approach to sourcing. This approach not only ensures a consistent supply of high-quality tea and coffee but also improves the livelihoods of farmers and smallholders. This effort aligns with the company’s vision of making a positive difference in the world, a principle deeply integrated in their operations.

The historical journey and current achievements

Tracing the company’s history back to its 1886 origins in Leeds, Brown illustrated Taylors of Harrogate’s evolution. The company, now based in Harrogate, Yorkshire, has grown to be the UK’s leading tea and coffee supplier with a turnover of £260 million (roughly 303 million euros) and a workforce of 1,600. With two main brands, Yorkshire Tea and Tailors of Harrogate, their products are now reaching consumers in about 45 countries. Brown’s description of their product range, from zesty Kenyan coffees to Assam teas, underlines their commitment to quality. Their efforts in sustainable practices have earned them awards, including the Royal Warrant and the Queen’s Award for sustainable development.

Bettys and Taylors’ sustainable development initiatives

Brown discussed the broader challenges of the tea and coffee industry, such as rural poverty and climate change. By chairing the Global Tea Coalition, Taylors of Harrogate is leading initiatives for living wages and environmental sustainability. Their efforts extend to large-scale tree planting and environmental projects in tea-growing communities. These initiatives, combined with investments in education, health, and women’s empowerment, demonstrate a holistic approach to corporate responsibility. Brown’s vision extends beyond the company, aiming for industry-wide changes that address systemic issues and promote fairer trade practices.

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