TAZO, SZA Partner to Bring Climate Justice to Impacted US Communities – Sustainable Brands


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The TAZO Tree Corps will work with American Forests to help bring cleaner air and combat climate change in communities of color across the US, by increasing ‘tree equity.’

Today, the Tazo Tea Company announced a commitment to fight for climate
justice — in partnership with recording artist and
singer-songwriter SZA, and nonprofit
organization American Forests. Together,
they are launching the TAZO Tree
— a paid, locally hired
workforce that will use tree planting and maintenance to transform neighborhoods
while helping to combat climate change and create new jobs in economically
disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities of color across the US.

While it may sound like a simplistic solution, trees absorb million of tons of
air pollutants; and in addition to making communities greener and cooler, trees
can increase air and water quality, improve mental health, lower energy costs
and lead to more overall economic

For decades, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities
nationwide have been disproportionately impacted by the negative effects of
climate change. In fact, some neighborhoods can be five to 20 degrees

than predominantly white neighborhoods in the same city. Environmental
inequities are so pervasive in low-income communities and communities of color
that environmental experts have used the term "sacrifice zones" to describe
these areas that carry a greater burden of air, land and water pollution, and
warmer temperatures; because they are situated near chemical treatment plants,
highways or heavy polluters.

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As Laraine Miller, President of Unilever Tea Americas — Tazo’s parent
company — explains:

"The climate crisis is no longer a future problem — it's here now and BIPOC
communities are disproportionately at risk. As a brand rooted in challenging the
status quo, we believe we have a role to play in fighting for a sustainable and
equitable future, which is why TAZO is announcing the first steps of a long-term
purpose ambition to fight for climate justice. Climate change is not only an
environmental issue, but also a human rights issue — so we're getting started by
focusing on the racial injustices that must be addressed to make meaningful
progress within the climate crisis."

The TAZO Tree Corps will be a paid cohort of 25 locally hired fellows employed
by The Davey Tree Expert Company, who will receive training in climate
justice advocacy as well as tree planting and maintenance. They will work over
the next two years to achieve measurable tree

in five cities — Minneapolis, MNDetroit,
the San Francisco Bay Area, CARichmond, VA and The Bronx, NY
where discriminatory zoning practices have left many low-income communities and
communities of color with less green space for decades. “Tree equity,” a term
coined by American Forests, means that all communities — regardless of income or
race — can experience the myriad health benefits that trees provide.

"Across the country, BIPOC communities are facing the worst effects of climate
change because they live in neighborhoods that are disproportionately burdened
with more pollutants and fewer trees," SZA said. "Planting trees can help
improve everything — from air quality to economic opportunity to mental
health — and everybody deserves these benefits. I'm proud to partner with TAZO
and American Forests to stand up for environmental justice and start making an
impact in neighborhoods that need it the most." 

The TAZO Tree Corps complements existing American Forests initiatives such as
1t.org. Launched in summer

in partnership with the World Economic Forum, the US chapter of the global
trillion trees movement has pledged the conservation, restoration and growth of
over 855 million trees across the country, to help combat extreme heat and
wildfires, and other adverse effects of climate change.

But merely planting more trees is not enough — so, American Forests is also
training people to take care of them through urban forestry workforce
partnerships that employ people from the neighborhoods that need more trees.

"Trees do more than beautify a neighborhood — they're life-and-death
infrastructure for health equity and climate justice," said Jad Daley,
President and CEO of American Forests. "Trees can transform neighborhoods and
lives, and every person needs this healing power — regardless of income, race or
location. But achieving tree equity is about more than just planting trees. The
TAZO Tree Corps will help us turn this work into new economic opportunity for
people in these disproportionately impacted communities. That is our full vision
for tree equity."

In an effort to expand its environmental justice commitments, TAZO is working
with sustainability consulting firm Pure
to conduct an environmental and social
impact audit of its business — from evaluating workers' rights in the regions
where it sources its 50+ globally grown ingredients, to understanding the carbon
footprint of its products, and more. The brand has also committed to support WE
ACT for Environmental
 and Intersectional

— two BIPOC-led climate justice organizations that provide economic
opportunities, education, resources, community and training for BIPOC youth.

*TAZO, SZA and American Forests encourage those eligible to apply to the TAZO
Tree Corps by
visiting *TAZO.com/TreeCorps.

Published Feb 17, 2021 1pm EST / 10am PST / 6pm GMT / 7pm CET

Sustainable Brands Staff

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