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Birchall Tea

Building a sustainable future

We meet Managing Director Daniel Graham, to find out how Barclays has been supporting Birchall Tea to combine commerciality with sustainability. 

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Daniel Graham, MD, Birchall Tea:

Birchall is a family run independent tea company.  We have offices in Mombasa, Kenya where we have a 62,000 square foot factory and from where we will export approximately 50 million kilos of tea to 30 countries worldwide this year.  Our head office is in London and then here in Wiltshire we have our brand new solar powered tea packing factory.

I’m the 5th generation of my family to go into the tea trade, it’s always been a passion of mine.  

I don’t know where Britain would be without a cup of tea.

We’ve been banking with Barclays since 1974, they really understand our business, they know what we’re trying to achieve and they go out of their way to help us achieve our goals.  

We’re very proud to have achieved carbon neutral status for the company and all its products earlier this year.  We where issued the gold standard and we were the first tea company to sign up to the UN Climate Change Now initiative.  We’re also removing plastic from all of our products.

This factory here in Amesbury is completely run on solar power, we have about 450 solar panels on the roof which produce twice the amount of energy that we need.

We went to Barclays for financial support to help us part fund the factory.  They were outstanding in reacting quickly. We needed quick decisions otherwise we would have had to run the possibility of losing out on the option to buy the land and build the factory.  

Andy Rivers, Relationship Director, Barclays:

When Dan and the team at Birchall came to us at Barclays and asked us to help fund their new sustainable tea factory, we knew it was an opportunity that we wanted to support the business with. 

The move to this factory for Birchall gives them unparalleled benefits from a commercial standpoint,  that they’re set up both now and for future growth. 

Daniel Graham:

It’s very important for us to have a partner that is committed to sustainability and Barclays certainly are, they are definitely committed. 

Andy Rivers:

Sustainability’s at the heart of everything that Barclays is doing and trying to achieve moving forward. We have a whole host of green products that enable us to help support businesses like Birchall who have an ethos and a grounding in sustainability and the environment, and we recognise that for businesses like Birchall, there’s common ground because it’s the same for them. And to be a trusted partner for them for another 45 years, we need to ensure that our goals, our ethos and values are shared.

The future for Barclays and Birchall together is really positive. The business has spent a number of years positioning itself for growth with the investments its been making, not only the development of this wonderful sustainable tea factory, and there’s now many new exciting projects that Dan has got his eyes on moving forward that we would love to help him with.

Daniel Graham:

I see us continuing to work with Barclays in the future, we have a great working relationship, I enjoy working with them, they understand us.  We don’t have to explain everything every time and we will continue to work with Barclays to achieve our goals. 

A family-owned business with a history stretching back to 1872, Birchall Tea is firmly focused on creating a more sustainable future.

In 2017, the company had located the ideal site on which to build a new, greener factory in Amesbury, Wiltshire. Managing Director Daniel Graham emphasised, “It was vital we moved quickly or we could have lost the site and the opportunity.”

The company had banked with Barclays for 45 years, so approached us about helping to finance the build. Barclays responded with a loan in principle within 24 hours, allowing the opportunity to be realised.

What we’ve achieved wouldn’t have been possible without Barclays. They made the complex financing needed really simple.

Daniel Graham

Managing Director, Birchall Tea

As Karen Johnson, National Head of Retail & Wholesale at Barclays, noted, “Speed of execution was critical and we were delighted to deliver.” Barclays’ close understanding of the company supported this, Daniel commented, “It’s a relationship of individuals as well as businesses.”

Birchall Tea went on to build the UK’s first solar-powered tea factory, with over 460 solar panels and air source heat pumps supplying double the energy the factory uses.

They’ve since become the first tea company in the world to achieve the Carbon Neutral International Standard and to join the UN's Climate Neutral Now initiative. With a new objective to completely remove plastic from their tea bags by the end of 2020, Birchall Tea’s commitment to sustainability is as strong as ever.

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