Informative Essay on Ethical Issues of the Tea Industry

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Tea has been existing for a long time in history and is originally from China. Tea has been a popular beverage right now and in the past. In 2018, Americans consumed over 84 billion servings of tea, or more than 3.8 billion gallons. About 84% of all tea consumed was black tea, 15% was green tea, and the small remaining amount was oolong, white, and dark tea. Whereas same as other industries, some serious ethical problems exist in the tea industry, some tea companies are doing some inappropriate things and making a dishonest profit, such as sweatshops, child labor, and the environmental problem, that needs to be solved as soon as possible.

Sweatshops are a very serious problem right now, along with child labor. The definition of a sweatshop is that a factory is not able to provide its employees with a safe working environment, also their employees are not paid equally. Tea is mostly grown in Asia, Africa, and South America. China, India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya are the top four countries that produce tea so far. Some people do not know that workers who work for the tea industry are treated unfairly because of the advertisement that the company shows how their employees are enjoying their job. In fact, female tea workers have to work under the sun for a long time to pick tea every day in India, and the point is that they only earn 2 dollars a day. A tea company in India that provides tea to Twinings and Tetley owns 155,000 employees were found that they provide their workers with very low salary and poor living condition that may lead to illness. Many people do not have a toilet in their homes, so they have to finish it somewhere else, with no privacy and dignity. Because of the low salary, many people cannot afford food or healthy food, which will affect the immune system and cause serious diseases. Having sweatshops is not only bad for minimum wage workers who work hard every day but also bad for social justice, everyone deserves a better working environment, as well as a health guarantee.

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Child labor means that a child works in a factory or somewhere to make money instead of going to school and receiving an education. This is more harmful than the sweatshop because children are doing the work which adults do. Assam has the largest tea plantation in India. There is not only adult labor, but also child labor. Families whose parents have health issues tend to force their children to become tea-picking workers because they do not believe their children are able to make money in the future with a lot of education. These children usually went to school only several times. This phenomenon is especially serious for girls, because India has a paternal society, girls’ status is so low, so their parents would ask them to marry older males when they are very little age, which doesn’t require too much education. According to the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, most children in Assam pick tea leaves in the garden and work in the factories to process leaves instead of going to school. There are also child laborers in Zimbabwe, however, the government of Zimbabwe has tried its best to reduce child labor, and it made huge progress, only 189 child laborers existed at that time. Children are the future of a country, no child is supposed to leave school and make money for a living, reducing the amount of child labor is reducing poverty.

The environmental issue is also an unavoidable topic, open tea plantations will cause multiple damaging problems such as the change of geography and economy of the landscape, deforestation, and union activities. It threats the ecosystem in the garden because a garden could have diverse flowers or plants, and while it all turned to the tea plantation, plants have no place to grow. Also, it kills the home of wild animals. In northeast India, there was a big forest that was the home of tigers and rhinos, now the tea company expelled those wild animals and built a tea plantation. The situation is the same in East Africa, where more and more forests are removed and destroyed to build tea plantations. Building tea plantations in the wrong way will not only hurt animals but also hurt plenty of plants, it will destroy the ecological equilibrium, ecosystem, and biodiversity. At the same time, the use of harmful pesticides has increased dramatically because the tea leaves are too weak to defend against bugs and insects. For example, there were four elephants found dead near a tea plantation in India because they had eaten the leaves that pesticide was used. The pesticide can also bring health risks to people who drink that kind of tea. Forests should not be sacrificed for tea plantations, the balance between tea plantations and the natural environment is crucial for people’s life and people’s safety. Organizations should advertise more to propose customers pay more attention to the background of the tea they drink. The government has the responsibility to protect environmental sustainability.

Overall, while tea is being greatly consumed nowadays, more ethical issues should be considered by consumers and other people. Those ethical issues are really affecting the development of society, it is destroying social justice and human equality. Workers should have a habitable environment to work and equal work deserves equal pay. Children and teenagers should be in school and study knowledge to contribute to society a better place instead of working too early. The environment is significant to the life and the sustainability of the world. If those issues can be solved, society and the world can be developed better, and a better living environment can be built for everyone.

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Informative Essay on Ethical Issues of the Tea Industry. (2023, October 11). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from
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