The country of Nepal is poor, and its hardworking farmers are grossly underpaid. On top of that, girls are pulled from schools to help their families work the fields—which means a disruption (and sometimes end) to their education.
These problems feel heavy—even insurmountable—when the interlocking forces are so deeply rooted.
“Plenty of well-intentioned companies and ideas floating around in this space will tell you that they’re ‘changing the world’ or ‘solving’ their social problem of choice,” writes Nicole Motter, Founder of Social Innovation Strategies. “But if they’re not addressing why people are poor in the first place, or why gaps in education continue to persist, or any number of other causal issues, the hard-to-swallow reality is, they’re not really solving anything.”
The truth hit hard after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Many residents lost their homes and were suddenly faced with mounting loans. And the country, already one of the poorest in Asia, was in no position to rise out of the rubble and experience overnight change.
“We had to do something,” said Sunita and Rabin Joshi. “It became clear that we needed to use our business experience to give back to our homeland.”
Sunita and Rabin knew the problem was systemic: charity in the face of devastation was kind, but it wouldn’t amount to long-term impact. They had to think bigger.
The Joshis soon discovered Nepali Tea Traders (NTT), a business run on visionary fuel. The company’s mission—to build a sustainable tea industry in Nepal—bore a striking resemblance to the Joshis’ goal.
In fact, NTT already had an established brand, and it applied fair prices, profit-sharing, and sustainable practices to its business. The company was primed for expansion, waiting for entrepreneurs to grow its geographic markets and customer base.
That’s when the Joshis stepped in: In 2017, they became the first Nepalese NTT co-owners.
Land, Farmer, Consumer, Oh My!
Since the Joshis assumed ownership, the company affirmed its global position. NTT captures the end-to-end experience, accounting for Nepal’s land, its people, and the discerning customers around the world.
LAND. Did you know tea bushes can live up to 2,000 years? That makes it a natural, sustainable crop for Nepal. NTT also avoids machinery (leaves are handpicked), so there’s no need for heavy infrastructure and energy-sucking factories.
FARMER.NTT considers lifestyles, not just daily wages. That includes housing, education, and healthcare for hardworking Nepalese. A portion of NTT’s profits supports the tea economy and, most recently, the ability to send girls to school (instead of fields).
CONSUMER. Let’s face it: tea drinkers are picky. And while they’re willing to pay a premium for socially conscious businesses, they still want a quality product. It’s fortunate, then, that Nepali Tea Traders offers both: fair practices paired with champion teas.
As our company expands, we remain rooted in social enterprise.
Tell us your thoughts. WHICH DO YOU MOST CARE ABOUT: LAND, FARMER, OR PRODUCT?
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