Monday, June 12, 2017 marks the start of the premier tradeshow and conference for specialty and premium teas: the World Tea Expo. The Expo is a four-day event geared toward the producers, sellers, and buyers of high quality teas. This year, the event will be held in Las Vegas, NV June 12 through 15. Lisa Mills of the University of Montana will represent the Elephant FriendlyTM Tea Program at the Expo.
At the World Tea Expo, University of Montana will staff a booth in the exhibitors’ hall where they will share information about Certified Elephant FriendlyTM Tea, a partnership between the University of Montana and the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network. The booth is sponsored by Lake Missoula Tea Company, the first business to offer Certified Elephant FriendlyTM Tea for sale. As a product that has the potential to positively affect tea growing communities in elephant habitat and wild elephant populations, Lisa expects it will be well-received by attendees of the Expo.
Since the 1800’s, tea plantations have replaced forests and grasslands, which in turn has significantly reduced the natural vegetation available to elephants. The methods used in conventional tea production can also impact globally endangered elephants in other ways the public is likely not aware. In addition, tea plantations can become “hotspots” of human-elephant conflict as elephants move through these areas in search of resources.
“Our goal at the World Tea Expo is to educate tea producers, tea sellers, and tea consumers about the impacts of tea on wild elephants, and introduce an innovative partnership that marries innovative enterprise with conservation to help save globally endangered elephants,” Lisa said.
At the Expo, tea company representatives will have the opportunity to chat with Lisa about how growers can achieve certification as Elephant FriendlyTM Tea producers. Information will be available about the certification criteria, certification costs, and marketing of certified tea. Lisa expects a strong interest from tea growers, as a percentage of the sales of certified tea will support human-elephant conflict reduction and habitat conservation in areas where the tea was grown. The U.S. market for tea is growing in recent years, and there is growing interest amongst consumers to make a positive difference with their purchases.
Expo booth visitors will learn how Elephant FriendlyTM Tea makes a difference for endangered elephants, try a sample of certified tea, and learn how they can order certified tea.
“We know that the future of wildlife rests in the hands of humans, and that globally endangered elephants have caught the world’s attention and affection,” Lisa said. She suspects that changing the way tea is produced will be well-received by tea consumers and growers alike. “We expect this to be a win-win for people and the planet!”
Certified Elephant FriendlyTM Tea provides an easy way to support conservation of elephants, simply by drinking tea. “Globally endangered elephants need our help,” Lisa said, “and what better place than the world’s premier tea event to introduce the world to Certified Elephant FriendlyTM Tea?”