Lipton Tea in Turkey: Infusing a real flavour of sustainability

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This case study discusses the initiatives taken by Unilever, one of the world’s leading fast moving consumer goods companies, to promote sustainability by using the example of Lipton Tea in Turkey. In November 2010 Unilever launched the ambitious ‘Unilever Sustainable Living Plan’, committing to a ten year journey towards sustainable growth that would touch every point of the value chain – taking responsibility not only for its own direct operations with its suppliers and distributors, but also for how the consumers would use its brands. Lipton Tea, the world’s largest tea brand, was the first Unilever brand to partner with Rainforest Alliance™ in May 2007 to obtain certification that its tea came from sustainable farms. What made Lipton’s sustainability strategy particularly impressive was that it had defied the traditional approach of introducing sustainable products as a niche brand in the market targeted towards the sensitive customer. Instead the company adopted a large-scale mainstream approach, planning that by 2015, all the tea in Lipton teabags would be sourced from Rainforest Alliance™ Certified farms, and by 2020, every kilogram of Unilever tea would be sourced sustainably.

In July 2011, Unilever Turkey launched the ‘Sustainable Tea Agriculture’ project with an aim that consumers in Turkey would soon be able to buy Lipton tea bearing the Rainforest Alliance™ seal on the pack. The final objective was that by 2018, all Lipton teas sold in Turkey would be sourced from Rainforest Alliance™ Certified farms. This case describes the measures taken so far to achieve the above initiative, and also the challenges that were expected in convincing Lipton Tea consumers and supply chain collaborators of the real value proposition of such sustainability efforts. Through this case, students would be exposed to the concept of sustainability, and to the many factors that have made it become so important for companies, particularly the large multi-nationals, to commit to such initiatives.


Sustainability, Lipton Tea, Unilever, Turkey, Rainforest Alliance™, Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, Triple Bottom Line, Sustainable Tea Agriculture project


Advertising and Promotion Management | Agribusiness | Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Strategic Management Policy

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Field Research



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Education Level

Executive Education; Postgraduate; Undergraduate


Singapore Management University

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