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Archives for the ‘Responsibility’ Category

4 Times (Among Many) When Bigelow Tea Employees Made a Difference



Employees are the backbone of Bigelow Tea. As a family-owned company, Bigelow built its brand with its people – beginning with Ruth Campbell Bigelow – and that commitment gets repaid in kind with the dedication each employee shows in their work and within their communities. Simply said, Bigelow Tea employees are incredible. In fact, it’s their efforts that make Bigelow Tea a more sustainable company and, frankly, a stronger corporate citizen.
But, don’t take it from us, hear from them with these inspiring stories:

Passing on sustainable practices to future generations.
“Inspired by the results of the composting program here at Bigelow Tea, our family also included composting into our weekly schedule at home. We have been separating out most of the kitchen waste, tea bags (a lot of those) and paper towels, etc. since the summer of 2013. Now that my children are older, the do-it yourself-style sand box has been ‘up-cycled’ to ‘organically’ create good soil over time… This is one way our children are learning that maintaining the cycle and balance in nature is possible even in a suburban environment and a small contribution like ours can make a difference.” Gabe K, Fairfield, CT

Helping those in need.
“I was coming to work around 6:30 a.m. [one day] and… there was a soldier in full uniform with all his medals waiting by the side of the road. It was a rainy day and… he needed a ride to Boise. I stopped and offered to give him a ride to his destination. It turns out that he was going to a Wounded Warrior presentation… but his vehicle had a flat tire and he had to go on foot. He (Jim) told me his dilemma about being a forty-year veteran and how hard it is to get a job after being in the military that long; that the money just doesn’t last as long and not having a job does not help either. He told me a story about applying for a security job at a computer company in Boise and that he was told that he did not have enough experience in security to be considered for the position. I dropped him off at his destination, gave him my gratitude for his service and some money… If that is impacting our community in a positive manner, then I do that every day by serving as a leader in my community.” Javier Reyes, Boise, Idaho

Caring about the bees.
“I participated in a worthwhile community event, ‘Bee Night,’ which took place at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Urban Garden located in downtown Charleston. Bee Night was an event hosted by the Bee Cause Project, an organization whose mission is to educate young people about the importance of honeybees and their wellbeing. They do this by installing beehives in area schools. In 2013, the USDA released a report with concern that the U.S. does not have enough honeybees to pollinate crops, which would impact our nation’s food supply. Along with the many beehives that they have installed in area schools, they have installed an observation beehive at the MUSC Urban garden, a garden whose mission is to build a healthier community by growing crops and educating people with local, nutritious food. This Beehive was unveiled at ‘Bee Night’ and the community was invited to attend the special event. I took several gallons of unsweetened tea to the event. We sweetened the tea at the event with the honey produced by the bees and attendees enjoyed Charleston Tea Plantation tea sweetened with local honey.”  Jane Knight, Charleston, SC

Maintaining a Local Playground

A Bigelow Tea team spent the day weeding, mulching, sweeping the sand up, repairing the walkway and more which is part of an annual tradition in providing upkeep at the Sandcastle playground in Fairfield, CT.  The picture was taken by the memorial to Beth Davis, playground organizer (with president and CEO Cindi Bigelow).  Pictured are Jim Gildea, Richard Queen, Sandra Thompson, Frances Garcia, Alcides Turcios, Tomas Rivera, Ramon Figueroa, Anais Cuevas, Marcel Welfare, Manny Leon, Alberto Calzada, Eddy  Cotter, and Victor Gonzalez.

As you can see, our employees take pride in their contributions – both within their community and in creating great quality tea. That’s why the names of each tea packer are visible on every box of Bigelow Tea. It’s their personal seal of quality and our way to show off the great work our people do every day.

So, tell us, how are you giving back to your community? Don’t forget to tag #TeaProudly because that is what we are, proud to make your tea!

This Is Why Bigelow Tea Is A Member Of The Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP)

Have you ever thought about the tea leaves in your bag of Bigelow Tea? Not simply the delicious flavor they offer, but the story behind them? Where they come from? Who sourced them? If not, that’s okay. But, at Bigelow Tea, this is something that’s very important to us. It’s one of the reasons why we’re a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), an organization that works with tea growers to establish methods for responsible conservation of the world’s tea fields, and to improve the lives of the beautiful people who work them. In fact, Bigelow Tea was the sixth North American tea company to join the group. Consider it just one of the ways the company is showing its commitment to the tea growers and producers, and, well, sustainability.

As a family-owned company for three generations, Bigelow Tea’s culture has always been guided by the simple principle of doing the right thing. Seems simple, right? But it can take hard work with all the moving parts that go into a company. Sustainability and fair business practices are important in every aspect of our business, not only here at home but
around the world. That’s why we’re proud to be part of ETP, and why we think it’s extra critical for the industry to work collaboratively to make the tea industry truly sustainable.
And, hey, here is a really awesome way where the ETP aims to end poverty, fight inequality, and tackle climate change by 2030.

  • The ETP, in partnership with UNICEF and with the support of the Indian tea industry, is working across more than 100 tea estates to equip more than 25,000 girls with the necessary knowledge and skills that will help them secure a better future and reduce their vulnerability to violence, abuse, and exploitation including trafficking and unsafe migration.

Pretty incredible stuff, right? So the next time you brew some Bigelow, you’re not just making tea – you’re making a big difference through initiatives around the globe. That’s a cup you can feel super good about, and one worth sharing with the world. We always want you to #TeaProudly, after all!

Thank You To All Of Our Troops Who Have Served Our Country!

Bigelow Tea Owned Charleston Tea Plantation, A Tea Journey Past and Present

Bigelow Tea has been an American classic since 1945 and while we all know and love the company’s tasty tea, Bigelow has another gem to celebrate, the Bigelow owned Charleston Tea Plantation which is America’s largest working tea garden located on the historic Wadmalaw Island. This South Carolina destination has ideal climate for growing the Camellia Sinesis (tea!) plant. Bigelow purchased the plantation in 2003 and has created a literal tea oasis; besides producing American Classic Tea, the plantation is also a beautiful setting for weddingseducational tours, and even a variety of music festivals.

NPR shared what life is like on the Charleston Tea Plantation in an interview with America’s only fulltime tea taster, William Barclay Hall. Hall gives fascinating insight into growing tea the old-fashioned way:

  • The Charleston Tea Plantation grows cuttings in a nursery for four years instead of planting seeds. These bushes are, unbelievably, descendants of the same plants that were first brought to region in the 1700s.
  • Talk about a taste for tea — Hall is a third generation tea taster (his father and grandfather held the roles before him) who was trained in London. During his training, he tasted as many as 800 teas a day, five days a week!
  • Tea is one of the only commodities in the world bought and sold based on taste, according to Hall. Because tea is harvested on average every 15 days, the taste is always changing based on everything from the temperature, to the amount of rain, to the time of year.
  • Pests stay away from tea! The caffeine and tannins in tea repel insects, so the Charleston Tea plantation doesn’t need to use any pesticide, herbicides or fungicides.
  • Tea leaves are placed on “withering box” screens for 18 hours, and then macerated in a grinder. Hall then steeps, tastes and blends every single batch until he thinks it tastes absolutely right.

Now you know: a little piece of tea history continues on in the modern world, all thanks to Bigelow!

How To Make An Amazing Outdoor Garden (You Can Use Tea!)

Yes!!! April is National Garden Month so that means it’s time to get ready to enjoy all those gorgeous colors that will bloom soon (if some haven’t already)! Plus, it’s that time of year to take on an outdoorsy project – like making your own garden of course!

Bigelow Tea has a lot of experience doing just this- our community garden 

grows fresh ‘n’ delicious goodies such as tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash and basil. We even donate our bounty to local nonprofit organizations where they help feed those who may be less fortunate.

And of course, Bigelow Tea has also cultivated a rather, um, large garden—the Charleston Tea Plantation! (See the pic of all the rows of beautiful tea above!)

On a smaller scale, whether you are interested in growing your own garden so you can feed your family or help give to others- here’s a super idea: You can start a garden using tea bags! How cool is that? Try some of these tips from a tea fan:

  1. Begin with a plate, platter or disposable serving tray lined with unbleached paper towels.
  2. Place moistened tea bags, which have been prepared normally using boiling water, on the tray.
  3. Using a small blade/knife or your fingers, make a small slit in the tea bags (large enough to plant your seeds).
  4. Take 2-3 seeds and push them into the slit that you made in the tea bag so that the seeds are slightly covered by the tea leaves.  Keep in mind that because the tea leaves are moist, some of the contents of the tea bag will get on your fingers- don’t worry, just make sure that the seed is in place.Put your tea bag garden in a sunny area and wait for your seeds to sprout.  Be sure to keep the paper towels moistened1 Depending on sun exposure, temperature and watering, seeds should begin to sprout in 10-15 days. When watering, pour water onto the paper towels, not directly onto the tea bags.
  5. Once you have a small sprout, take the whole tea bag and plant it in either a raised bed or container.  The tea bag will become fantastic compost for the garden!

Another simple way to get gardening is to start with herbs. It’s an easy way to get going with that farm to table concept!

So how does your garden grow? Share your green thumb tips with us! Be sure to tag #TeaProudly so we can use some tips for our own gardens!

5 Bigelow Tea Sustainability Efforts That Celebrate Earth Month … All Year Long

Earth Month is all of April so let’s celebrate!

Anyone and everyone can do something good for the Earth this month (and, well, all year round!), whether it’s big or small. And that includes Bigelow Tea– it’s about practicing business philosophies that help, not harm. In fact, it’s in our mission statement: “Do the right thing and good things will follow.”

So why do the right thing for the planet? As third generation president and CEO Cindi Bigelow says, “Being responsible is not something my family does because we can do good things, but because we strongly believe that we should and need to do good things, whether it’s for the community, for our employees, or for the environment.”

Need some inspiration for ways to be earthier this month? Read on for some of Bigelow Tea’s famous “SustainabiliTea” efforts and get motivated!

  1. Supporting renewable energy and reducing emissions, our planet stays in good shape for future generations.  By installing 880 solar panels at our Connecticut headquarters, our yearly effort produces about 200,000 kWh which is enough energy to power 527 homes for an entire year, using nothing but the power of the sun.
  1. We’ve been reducing our energy use for years! This has led to a nearly 10 million kWh reduction where energy has been reduced by over 2.5 million kWh in just our Fairfield plant alone through energy efficiency measures. That’s the equivalent of planting 41 million trees. How have we done this? One way is by replacing light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs in offices in all our facilities. So simple, yet so effective – anyone can change their light bulbs to make a difference!
  1. Bigelow Tea has achieved “Zero Waste to Landfill” status. What that means is we’re following the guidelines of the Zero Waste Alliance, which says that a company can claim being a zero waste to landfill facility if no more than 10 per cent of their waste ends up in a landfill.
  1. Bigelow Tea, with the goal of preserving land, purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation in 2003 to save 127 acres of land from real estate development. Today, the plantation has hosted well over 100,000 visitors.
  1. We try to act on the bees’ behalf! Bigelow’s Green Team has planted flowers on our corporate property along an urban train track fence to help provide bees with a better natural habitat.

Feeling inspired now? We hope so!  And hey if you need more encouragement, check out these Bigelow Tea activities planned for each day of Earth Week (April 17-22):

  • Recycling drives for electronics, towels for local animal shelters and business clothing (women’s and men’s) to benefit  Dress for Success
  • Educational exhibits on container gardening, lighting , recycling and composting
  • Lunch and learn with  the Back Yard Bee Keepers Association
  • Plant tours of our facility to showcase our sustainability efforts and our solar panels
  • Local foods will be served in the cafeteria
  • Raffle prizes – packets of seeds, tee shirts, plants  and more

So how will you observe Earth Month? Let us know by sharing anywhere online and tag with #TeaProudly!

The Many Ways Bigelow Tea is All About Green

bigelow tea sustainability

Bigelow Tea is so much more than just a tasty mug of tea; our company also helps save the Earth. Yes, that sounds like quite the statement, but it’s the truth- we believe in practicing business philosophies that help, not harm. It’s right there in our mission statement: “Do the right thing and good things will follow.” So how does our company do sustainabiliTea proudly? Here are some of our many, many ways:

We’re Powered By The Sun.

We are hugely in favor of supporting renewable energy and reducing emissions, to keep our planet in good shape for future generations.  We’ve done this by installing 880 solar panels at our Connecticut headquarters. Every year, this effort produces about 200,000 kWh, which is enough energy to power 527 homes for an entire year – with nothing but the power of the sun. So how does this affect pollution levels? It equals a reduction in pollution roughly equivalent to 200,000 car miles removed from the highways each year. Sit back and sip to that!

We’ve Made An Energy Efficient Environment.

We’ve spent many years reducing our energy use, leading to a nearly 10 million kWh reduction. And we’ve reduced energy by over 2.5 million kWh in just our Fairfield plant alone through energy efficiency measures. In laymen’s terms, that’s the equivalent of planting 41 million trees. How have we done this? One way is by replacing light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs in all offices in all our facilities. Yes, it can be that simple to save the Earth.

We Say No to Landfills. 

We have a company-wide commitment to achieving “Zero Waste to Landfill” status. What that means is we’re following the guidelines of the Zero Waste Alliance, which says that a company can claim being a zero waste to landfill facility if no more than 10 per cent of their waste ends up in a landfill. Guess what? Our company diverts 94% of its solid waste company wide, meaning we have actually surpassed the official guideline. We recycle, and then recycle some more, and

reduce/reuse/compost, all leading to be a Zero Waste to Landfill Company.

We’ve Made A Modern Tea Plantation.

We purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation in 2003, saving the land from development to turn it into America’s own tea garden. This special spot features 127 acres of beauty (and incredible tea leaves!) and welcomes visits from thousands of tea lovers yearly. We’re proud of the Bigelow family’s hard work to keep the traditional tea plantation alive and well with a modern twist!

We Work With Green Suppliers.  

We’re also very proud to work with an environmentally responsible supplier. A couple of the amazing things being done there to ensure our much-loved drink is created with only the crème de la crème of practices:

  • We’re keeping our tea facilities as warm and cozy as the drink thanks to installation of Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) walls, which are 83% more energy efficient compared to traditional walls;
  • We’re fans of geothermal heating and cooling units; using this method for heating or cooling the entire building expansion uses only 1/14th the energy you would need if you used oil.

We know you love tea as much as we do; that’s why we are so delighted to keep our #TeaProudly community in the loop about all about the modern-day environmental choices that keeps that delicious tea in your cup while saving the planet, especially during Go Green Week. Learn more about all the amazing things we’re up to and share with us how you #TeaProudly the “green” way.

11 Tips To Help Celebrate American Heart Month!

bigelow tea wear red healthRed is Bigelow Tea’s favorite color this month! “Go big or go home” they say, so we’re pulling out all the stops to mark American Heart Month this year. We started by grabbing our most-loved red clothing items (and what a great chance to wear that red lipstick sitting in the drawer!) for National Wear Red Day on February 3rd, we have a “Healthy Eating Challenge” throughout the month of February for all employees, and we have our “Exercise Challenge” where we are urged to exercise 30 minutes, 3 times per week throughout the month.  So why should we all put so much “heart” into this month? Let’s get serious for a second. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year. We can all make a difference by getting the below important info out to friends and family:

  1. study by the Boston University School of Medicine found a strong link between drinking black tea and arterial health in people who have heart disease, and we’ve mentioned before that black tea, studies say, has been shown to reverse abnormal functioning of blood vessels.
  2. Educate yourself on the signs/symptoms of heart disease
  3. Visit your physician for a regular check up
  4. Eat nutritious food
  5. Exercise daily
  6. If you smoke – make the effort to quit
  7. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
  8. Try to manage your stress through relaxation techniques/meditation
  9. Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol
  10. Help others by encouraging them to join you
  11. Laugh loud and laugh often!

How are you taking care of your heart this month? Post a pic, either in your fave red outfit or while doing a heart-healthy activity, and tag  #TeaProudly. (Extra points if it features a cup of Bigelow tea!)

Bigelow Tea Remembers Martin Luther King Jr.

bigelow tea lemon ginger

Today we are remembering the great words of #MLK: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” #MLKDay

 

Leadership, Sacrifice And Courage: Bigelow Tea Spends A Day With Retired Navy SEAL Jason Redman

bigelow-tea-navy-seal-motivational-speach
It’s not every day we get to meet a hero. But a few weeks back, that’s exactly what we did. Decorated former United States Navy SEAL Lieutenant Jason Redman spent a few awe inspiring hours at the Bigelow Tea headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut, where he personally addressed Bigelow employees.   The visit was shared via live feed to our teams in Louisville, KY and Boise, ID. As founder and spokesperson of the Combat Wounded Coalition, a nonprofit organization that supports combat wounded warriors and families of the fallen, and author of the memoir The Trident: The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Officer, Jason spent some time talking about leadership, teamwork and overcoming adversity. It was an honor and privilege to hear him speak.

Jason served 21 years with the U.S. Navy — 11 years as an enlisted Navy SEAL and 10 years as a SEAL officer. In 2007, he was severely wounded in a firefight in Iraq after his team was ambushed. While recovering at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, Jason bravely faced his challenges by writing a bright orange sign to hang on his door, which became a statement and symbol for wounded warriors everywhere. It read:bigelow-tea-sign

Attention to all who enter here. If you are coming into this room with sorrow or to feel sorry for my wounds, go elsewhere. The wounds I received I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery. What is full? That is the absolute utmost physically my body has the ability to recover. Then I will push that about 20 percent further through sheer mental tenacity. This room you are about to enter is a room of fun, optimism, and intense rapid regrowth. If you are not prepared for that, go elsewhere.  

— The Management

The original sign on the door, signed by President George W. Bush, now hangs in the Wounded Ward at the National Naval Medical Center Bethesda as an inspiration to his fellow service men and women.

After 37 surgeries, Jason candidly shares his experiences and positive attitude to motivate others and to continue to raise awareness of the sacrifices of America’s courageous military forces and their families. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons and the U.S. Army Ranger tab, along with numerous other personal and unit awards.bigelow-tea-cindi-bigelow-jason-redman

Just as Jason is committed to the U.S. military community, so are we. In 2009, we launched the “Tea for the Troops” program, which sends specially designed boxes of 100% American-grown tea from the Charleston Tea Plantation to U.S. military personnel overseas and in the States. To date, we have sent more than 5 million tea bags to service men and women. We also became an official sponsor of the USO in 2015. We deeply appreciate the sacrifices the members of our military—and their families—have made to keep our country free, and we will continue to support them, one tea bag at a time.

Thank you, Jason, for your service. You are an inspiration to us!

Top image: Jason Redman speaking to Bigelow Tea employees

Lower image (L-R): Cindi Bigelow, Jason Redman and his service dog, Kharma, and Jason’s wife, Erica.