The company supplies sustainably grown tea to 50 countries across six continents and its globally-distributed products proudly carry the ‘Made in the UAE’ mark
Working exclusively with iconic global tea brands such as Lipton, Brooke Bond, and others, ekaterra, a pioneer in tea production is on a mission to help the world appreciate the regenerative power of plants. Staying true to its name that is inspired by ‘being one with nature’, the company is at the forefront of sustainable sourcing.
ekaterra is the largest tea company globally with two billion Euros in yearly revenues. Its 11,000 sq metre state-of-the-art tea production facility in Jafza is one of the largest and most technologically-advanced in the region. Today with the future-proof technologies it has adopted and the company’s focus on sustainability, Ekaterra is making the beloved beverage more relevant.
Highlighting the benefits of tea
Tea is one of the healthiest and most commonly consumed beverages in the world, second only to water. In the UAE, Lipton is synonymous with tea. Seven out of every 10 households consume a cup of ekaterra’s tea in the country. “Over the last decade, we have seen varied beverages make great progress. Our goal is to reinforce tea as the beverage of choice and Lipton as the brand of choice for our consumers,” explained Abhiroop Chuckarbutty, President of Africa, Middle East and Turkey operations, ekaterra.
Tracking ekaterra’s history
ekaterra’s Jebel Ali factory was inaugurated in December 1998. It is home to the company’s regional head office for Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey regions. As a brand that is well known for sourcing tea of the finest quality from various tea gardens around the world, the Jafza facility has helped them maintain its inherent focus on sustainability.
“Our commitment to eco-conscious business practices was recognised when our flagship Jafza-based site won the Dubai Green Industry award in 2020, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MRM) Business Excellence Award for the third time in 2021, and the Dubai Smart Industry Award in 2022. We were the first site in the UAE to be zero waste to landfill and set the trend in sustainability at a regional level,” he added.
ekaterra is now focused on further reducing its carbon footprint by increasing its reliance on alternate sources of energy including solar power. The company started to pivot towards sustainable sources of energy in early 2021 and expects the change in its energy consumption framework to be complete by early 2023.
As the market leader in tea, ekaterra recognises the responsibility they hold as a major buyer and are continually working to make its supply chain more sustainable. This starts with helping to improve the lives of the people who pick their leaves and how they blend and package their products, through to the environmental impact tea production has on the planet.
Bolstering agility through Jafza
ekaterra’s location in Jafza has yielded many benefits, strengthening their 23-year-long partnership with the free zone. “The strategic location of Jafza and the UAE, their proximity to vital tea gardens around the world as well as key consumer markets make them an optimal location for our establishment. Given our massive export base and distribution network spanning 50 countries, we also benefit extensively from Jafza’s duty-free operating model.”
Additionally, due to the logistics capabilities of the Jebel Ali Port port, ekaterra can ensure quick turnarounds and short lead times, a key component that has enabled the company to expand its business exponentially year after year.
He added, “We want the Dubai factory to be the largest such in the world and that’s not too far away. We can safely say that we owe a big part of our success to Jafza’s vision. The strong logistics network of DP World has helped unlock key markets for ekaterra, especially within the southern hemisphere.”
Embracing cutting-edge technologies
ekaterra believes that the adoption of future-focused technologies lies at the heart of what they do. The organisation is fully focused on two vital areas including automation and digitisation.
“Our facility in Jafza is fully automated. We use multiple 4IR technologies in our manufacturing processes to ensure the highest product quality and optimised operations. We have also adopted digitisation including the use of machine learning, AI and Internet of Things.Chuckarbutty
“ekaterra is focused on reducing its carbon footprint and is increasing its reliance on alternate sources of energy, including solar power. Given its massive export base and distribution network spanning 50 countries, ekaterra benefits extensively from Jafza’s duty-free operating model”