Bettys and Taylors Group

Bettys & Taylors Group is a family-owned tea, coffee, confectionary and bakery business based in Yorkshire. Established in 1919, the group is the parent company for three leading UK brands: Bettys Café Tea Rooms, Taylors of Harrogate and Yorkshire Tea.

Bettys & Taylors Group has an extensive tea and coffee supply chain network which stretches across the globe. The business has been working in partnership with researchers at the University of Leeds to help ensure that their operations are as environmentally and socially sustainable as possible.

Two PhD students based in the School of Chemical and Process Engineering are currently collaborating with Bettys & Taylors Group on different projects to improve the resilience of tea and coffee supply chains in Africa.

Hannah Sherwood

Hannah Sherwood is a PhD student researching the impact of biomass and land use change on earth-atmosphere reactions in tea and coffee cultivating regions, with a focus on supply chain resiliency.  

Deforestation is increasing in tea and coffee growing regions due to rapid population growth and an interlinked demand for biomass fuel. Tea and coffee are very climate sensitive crops and deforestation can cause changes to the delicate microclimates in which they flourish. Left unchecked, deforestation could cause a negative environmental impact on tea growing in the region and a knock-on effect on Bettys & Taylors Group’s operations in Africa and the UK.

Hannah is using satellite imaging and remote sensing techniques to help Bettys & Taylors Group measure the effectiveness of a tree planting programme in the Mount Kenya region of Kenya.

Bettys & Taylors Group are one of a number of businesses who work in partnership with The International Small Group and Tree Planting Program (TIST), and together they have begun a programme to plant millions of trees in the Mount Kenya region as part of their work to maintain a certified carbon neutral value chain. This is an ambitious project and it is important for the business to be able to assess whether their investment is having a quantifiable environmental and social impact.

To monitor the situation, Hannah has been using Google Earth Engine to analyse open source satellite data from the Global Forest Change Dataset. It is estimated that 1.6 million trees have so far been planted as part of the project. 

Her research has proved particularly beneficial for Bettys & Taylors Group as it allows them to calculate their return on their investment to a high degree of accuracy. 

Going forward, Hannah will help Bettys & Taylors Group measure the environmental and social impact of the tree planting programme. Her research will identify specific regions where forest loss or gain has been particularly prominent and will lay the groundwork for further research to understand the reasons for this. In turn, the project will help Bettys & Taylors Group and TIST better understand where to prioritise resources to ensure maximum impact.  

Hannah Birch

Hannah Birch is also a PhD student and her research focuses on climate change, bioenergy and sustainability. 

As part of their business strategy, Bettys & Taylors Group have already committed to work towards carbon neutrality and are investigating taking further steps to move to a Net Positive position. Net Positive is a new way of working where businesses put more back into society, the environment and the global economy than they take out. 

Hannah is working on a project to help the sustainability team at Bettys & Taylors Group define what adopting a Net Positive position will mean in practice for the business. She has presented her ideas and suggestions to senior executives at the company to help them translate the Net Positive concept into a series of deliverable activities in the future.

Hannah is helping the teams at the business to identify where to prioritise investment to ensure it has the most impact on operations in coffee supply chains in Uganda.

Hannah has been able to add value to Bettys & Taylors Group by providing insights that have been helpful to the team. This project has also given her valuable experience of applying her research to a business context and communicating it accessibly.

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