LIPTON Teas and Infusions starts advanced climate change mitigation and resilience field trials

LIPTON Teas and Infusions starts advanced climate change mitigation and resilience field trials

18th Jun '24 - UKTIA

Research partnership with Cranfield University supported by UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and UK Tea & Infusions Association

  • Specialist greenhouse gas emissions monitoring equipment being set up and drone pilot training underway in Kericho, Kenya
  • Research findings will add to the Lipton Tea Innovation & Technology Academy curricula to support improved industry-wide farming practices

Amsterdam, 18 June 2024 – LIPTON Teas and Infusions, the world’s largest tea group, in partnership with Cranfield University, and with support from the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and UK Tea & Infusions Association (UKTIA), has begun field trials to test climate change mitigation and resilience practices that will improve tea production standards.

Tea already has the second lowest carbon footprint after tap water* but about a quarter of its total greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to fertiliser use. Part funded by the BBSRC as a Prosperity Partnership, trials are underway in the Kericho region of Kenya to develop solutions to reduce nitrogen fertilizer-related emissions.

Co-led and managed by Dr Helen Saini, Head of R&D Sustainable Agriculture at LIPTON Teas and Infusions, and Professor Andrew Thompson at Cranfield University, the partnership will use drone imagery and analysis for improved crop management, precision farming, and high-throughput canopy phenotyping for the development of climate resilient tea plant varieties.  

Recorded emissions data will also inform a new tea typology led by the UKTIA, the Tea & Herbal Association of Canada and the Tea Association of the USA, that will enable tea producers to calculate their carbon footprint with greater accuracy, with results that are comparable across the tea industry. This is intended for use by the whole tea industry.

The trials will add to scientific understanding of tea production, leading to better quality tea, less wastage, and a lower environmental footprint. They build on previous work by LIPTON Teas and Infusions and Cranfield University, including the development of an Internet of Things platform dedicated to tea crop management called IoTeaTM that incorporates tea plant growth and development modelling.

The research findings will contribute to industry-wide progress through inclusion in the Lipton Tea Innovation & Technology Academy curricula. This Academy, inaugurated with the Government of Kenya and the University of Kabianga earlier this year, provides vocational training as well as degrees up to doctoral level to develop the highest standards of tea cultivation, harvesting, and processing. LIPTON Teas and Infusions is licensing its Intellectual Property to the Academy for free.

Taisa Hansen, Chief Research & Innovation Officer of LIPTON Teas and Infusions, said: “Combining our experience of tea growing with Cranfield University’s specialist research capabilities will enable us to identify the key innovations that this industry requires. We are moving fast because climate change will not wait. Our profound thanks go to BBSRC and UKTIA as, together, this multi-million-euro project will support the entire tea industry and further our mission to create value for all.”

Professor Leon Terry, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation at Cranfield University, said: “The BBSRC grant, the deep technical expertise of our leading scientists, and the support of a tea company with the scale and experience of LIPTON Teas and Infusions, will ensure well-informed first-class research supports a sustainable future for tea.”



LIPTON Teas and Infusions
Gareth Mead

H/Advisors Maitland
Vikki Kosmalska

Cranfield University
Media Relations

About LIPTON Teas and Infusions
LIPTON Teas and Infusions is the world’s largest tea business, with world-class brands that are household names such as Lipton, Pukka, TAZO, T2 and PG Tips. With production sites in 4 continents and a presence in more than 100 countries, LIPTON Teas and Infusions’ products are enjoyed by hundreds of millions of consumers around the world each day. As an independent company since July 2022, LIPTON Teas and Infusions is united in one purpose: creating value for all with every sip, from plant to cup.

About Cranfield University
Cranfield is a specialist postgraduate university with globally renowned expertise in science, technology, engineering and management. We deliver applied research that has real-world impact – 88% of our research is world-leading or internationally excellent (REF2021).

Our innovative education is enhanced by large-scale facilities and global industry partnerships. Cranfield is one of the few universities in the world to have its own airport – our global research airport is a unique environment for research. We are a six-time winner of the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize, the highest national honour for educational institutions.

Cranfield formed in 1946 as the College of Aeronautics, the first postgraduate college of its kind. The School of Management was founded in 1967.

The UKRI Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond. 

Funded by government, BBSRC invested £451 million in world-class bioscience in 2019-20. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. 

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