Environmental & Social Responsibility
More than 800 Years of Tea-Growing History is Just the Beginning...
The Nishio region has been producing Matcha green tea for over 800 years. Our environment, our nature, our people is our Brand. Excellent tea plants are a minimum requirement for the high standards of Matcha tea. The tea is cultivated in most ideal conditions. Nishio is far from the largely populated areas or heavy industries - Nishio is a world of tea in and of its own. The tea culture is eminent not only in the landscape of the region, but the entire local economy.
The Synergy Between AIYA and the Farmers
Most of the tea farmers have worked closely with AIYA for generations. AIYA's farmers take great care of their fields, plants, the soil, and the quality of their product. AIYA buys the entire annual crop of its farmers under pre-established guidelines to ensure their ongoing income even if a single crop cannot be used (due to bad weather as an example). But we don't stop there: AIYA is a partner and consultant for the tea farmers in all tea growing aspects. Which natural fertilizer composition is the best? Which natural, organic countermeasures can be taken to fight insects under our regulations and certification requirements? How do we reduce stress of the tea plants? We truly enjoy our long-term relationships and we look forward to collaborating with the children and grandchildren of our tea farmers, as we worked with their fathers and grandfathers generations before.
Continuing Innovation for the Future
Together with our certifying agency IMO and the prestigious University of Kobe, AIYA is aggressively researching ways to minimize residual fertilizer in the soil of tea fields. Unlike regular green tea fields, Tencha is reliant on its soil for its nutrients due to the shade grown method. AIYA also takes great care in preventing damage to the soil for the following generations to continually harvest high quality tea from the Nishio region. It is part of AIYA's mission to keep the residual fertilizer to its minimal level for the longevity of quality in tea harvests by preserving the environment.
Our Mission Continues...
AIYA will never be content. Our culture is to be healthy and feel alive in everything we do. This naturally lends itself to further improvement in all areas of our business. AIYA's ultimate goal is to give the earth back more than we actually take. Do you have any suggestions or ideas for us? We would love to hear from you!
Mangrove Tree Plants
With the help of the Nishio Culture Society and the Nishio City Board of Education, AIYA hosts a series of bi-monthly benefit concerts. Proceeds from this concert for years have gone to the Mangrove forest replanting program at the OISCA International (Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement) Research Center. AIYA also contributes directly to the Mangrove forests by sending our employee volunteers to South East Asia to help with the replanting efforts. Each year, AIYA employees and a select group of Nishio farmers take two weeks from their work schedule to volunteer hand to hand with members of the local community to plant the trees.
Beginning since 2001, AIYA travels around the world every 2 years for these planting projects.
So far we've been responsible for planting a total of more than 50,000 trees in South East Asian countries. We typically send between 40 to 60 people to support the process.
Little known fact: In South East Asia, Singapore, a newly developing country, has had 95% of its native lowland rain forest cleared. Most of the rain forest was lost in the mid- to- late-nineteenth century. As a result many species of flora, fauna, insects and birds became extinct.
Music for the Community
Since 1996, AIYA sponsors and manages classical concerts in Nishio city. Most are performed at a concert hall that AIYA built! Our community goal is to give back cultural appreciation to the city. But AIYA goes beyond this simple gesture - we raise funds at the concerts to finance reforestation of the Mangrove Woods in South East Asia. Mangrove trees are known for its incredible absorption of carbon dioxide which helps to prevent global warming. Every other year AIYA employees from all international divisions go to South East Asia. Whether a president or an ordinary worker, a tea farmer or a manager — we unite as one for this great cause to stop global warming. In 2006, AIYA successfully planted 5 hectares of forest in Thailand!