Zealong's Generous Business Decisions for Positive Impact

At Taria, we believe businesses have both a unique opportunity as well as a responsibility to positively impact society.  It's not automatic and doesn't happen by default- nor is it easy to navigate who's agenda should reign. We believe doing this well requires a lot of intentionality and sacrifice. Our desire is to find companies that share these values so we can help amplify their effects. It's important to us though that these companies have proven track records of regularly making what we call ‘Generous Business Decisions’.   We define these as decisions that take into account and prioritize the long-term welfare and benefit of others, over simply maximizing profits.  

Is there evidence of Zealong regularly making Generous Business Decisions? Yes, and quite frankly, too many to list here. What really stood out to us though is that the actions we observed first hand match up with their internally stated aspiration of being peacemakers. Below are a few examples:

1. The wisdom and humility behind assembling a team from over 25 countries in an effort to produce the best tea they can. Can you imagine the daily challenges that would arise if you were working with people from over 25 countries around the world? At the same time, can you imagine the possibilities if that team were able to unify around a common goal....? This is the Zealong way. Successfully pulling tea knowledge from around the world, its no wonder they are able to consistently produce award winning teas. And should you visit the estate, you'll be met with a passionate group of people that all have smiles on their face- a true testament to the leadership of the CEO, Gigi Crawford, and her executive team.

2. The decision to go organic and steward their environment long before it was the popular thing to do. Make no mistake, choosing to manually pick weeds in the tea rows instead of using dangerous herbicides definitely raises the cost of production for Zealong.   Caring enough about the health impact that their tea has on others, at the expense of their own profits (long before the market started really paying a premium for organic), is most certainly a ‘Generous Business Decision’ in our view. As another example of going above and beyond , they've also worked proactively with their neighbors to ensure the land around them is also clean and free of unwanted chemicals. Furthermore, they've been proactive in reducing the carbon footprint of their farming operation, exceeding the regulatory targets set by the government of New Zealand.

3. The decision to pay their employees dignified, livable wages.   By leaning solely on ’the market’ to set wages, far too many tea businesses fail to recognize the contributions their employees make to the organization.   We were delighted to see an executive team at Zealong that seems to truly care about the well-being of their employees, regardless of one’s status in the company. This manifests itself not only by
paying livable wages, but by treating people with dignity and respect. When you walk around their estate, you'll see a lot of genuine smiles of people who love being there, doing what they do.

4. The decision to give back to the local community.  Zealong regularly hosts or supports special events that signficantly benefit local causes that share its values.  A recent one that really stood out to us was
a cancer gala whereby Zealong worked with locals to host a special event to kick off a campaign to raise funds through a special edition tea.   It would have been far easier to simply write a donation check as the event took a tremendous amount of planning and pulled resources away from other activities. This is how Zealong operates though, building strong relationships and regularly serving the community around them.  In our view, this is another example of how Zealong makes ‘Generous Business Decisions’.

5. The commitment to master their craft, without compromise.   At the end of the day,
their commitment to quality is evidenced by the product they produce.    It would be far more profitable to produce a lower, cheaper grade of tea and lean heavily on marketing to give it the appearance of something it is not.  In our experience though, Zealong is a company that believes it is important to create the very best product they can and offer it honestly and with good faith. To us, this is the ultimate expression of a ‘Generous Business Decision’.

In summary, we are both excited and delighted to work with our friends at this exciting company and invite you to help us support their positive impact by enjoying a clean, delicious, and healthy cup of tea!