Lipton Teas and Infusions use drones in sustainability drive

Lipton Teas and Infusions is preparing to use drone technology in a sustainability drive.

The Lipton and PG Tips owner is testing what it calls “climate change mitigation” and “resilience practices” as it looks to improve tea production standards.

Around a quarter of tea’s greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to fertiliser use.

Lipton Teas and Infusions is carrying out trials in the Kericho region of Kenya to develop solutions to reduce nitrogen fertiliser-related emissions.

It is carrying out the trials with Cranfield University, and with support from the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and UK Tea & Infusions Association (UKTIA).

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The trials 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.

According to Lipton Teas, recorded emissions data will also inform a new tea typology led by the UKTIA, the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada and the Tea Association of the USA, which 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.

It says the trials will add to the scientific understanding of tea production, leading to better quality tea, less wastage, and a lower environmental footprint.

Taisa Hansen, chief research and innovation officer, 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.”

M&S is also using drone technology to become a greener business.

Climate crisisEnergyInnovationNature and the environmentNet zeroSocial sustainability

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