ESG in the Food and Beverage Industry: A Journey of Connection and Responsibility

ESG in the Food and Beverage Industry: A Journey of Connection and Responsibility

Kia ora korua, da jia hao, ko Timmy Smith tōku ingoa,  
Ko Whakatohea, Te Upokorehe, Ngati Porou nga iwi
Tēnā koutau, tēnā koutau, tēnā koutou katoa.

Before I start  I wish to first and foremost, extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Taiwan-New Zealand and New Zealand-Taiwan Councils for hosting this pivotal event. 

It's a privilege to gather here today, not just as representatives of our respective nations, but as businesses who wish to work together and exchange information products and services. 

My name is Timmy Smith I am the founder and owner of PAUSE for Tea, an indigenous organic tea company on Waiheke Island.
We create sugar-free sparkling teas and organic tea blends and interactive tea experiences.

Today, I will attempt to delve into the realm of ESG within the food industry. 

It's a topic that transcends business; it's a kaupapa, a philosophy that, when embraced authentically, can transform our relationship with the planet and one another.  

Today we will view ESG as a journey of connection and responsibility and look at it through a Maori lens.

Understanding ESG in the Food Industry
In the food industry, ESG represents a commitment to sustainability and ethical practices. It's about how a company interacts with the environment (Environmental), treats people (Social), and governs itself (Governance). 

These principles are paramount in creating a better world, and they resonate deeply with our journey at PAUSE for Tea.

The three pillars of Environment, Social, Governance are not new to Māori - they are deep rooted tikanga/values that interlink and interact us with all we do and offer.

The kupu or words that we hold for these are Kaitiakitanga which mean the act of protecting, and the responsibility of stewardship of our world Manaakitanga, the process of showing respect, generosity and care for people

And our word for Governance is Mana motuhake 

These kupu words go beyond values they are a way of life, a way of living, they are how we move through this world.

A Recipe for ESG Success
ESG in our industry is a complex recipe as we touch-point most other industries before our products arrive to consumers - we are like a wheke, an octopus with our many arms reaching out to hold entities like packaging, freight, IT, eCommerce energy, storage, consumption of resources,  

We are attached to so many moving parts. The undertaking of ESG  is one of continuous learning and adaptation and knowledge building it is about constantly moving our wheke/octopus through the waters of change.

Food: A Connector and Communicator

Food, in its essence, is a connector. It transcends language and culture, and it's how we communicate with each other. It brings people together, and it can bridge the gap between cultures and generations.

Consumers Demand Change 

Today's consumers are savvy. They demand clarity, care, AND creative solutions from the food and beverage industry.  

They seek products that resonate with their values, products that carry a story of responsibility and connection.

At PAUSE for Tea, our story is one of creating beverages that create connections back to our whenua land, back to our people and back to the ability to pause and be in a moment. We create to remind people of their own connection to each other and Te Ao. 

The core of all we do comes from wanting to honour and embrace and relearning, of the principles and practices of Te Ao Maori.

Our Offerings

At PAUSE for Tea we have tried to find ways to show outwardly what we commit inwardly to uphold.

What you see behind me is a symbolic representation of what we do. What you can see is an honouring the Poutama, a traditional Māori concept symbolised by a stepped pattern, to underscore the vital importance of continual growth. 

Poutama is a symbol that has been incorporated and housed in our Wharenui Meeting houses for generations. It speaks of the importance of whakapapa generations, of striving for collective growth towards enlightenment and honours the levelling up that happens when we honour our ways, practices and knowledge.

The Poutama represents a journey of ascension, where each step signifies an elevation in knowledge and understanding. We've chosen to overlay this symbolic Poutama on a flat lay of rakau plants. 

This toi/artwork reminds us to create not only from the land but to create FOR the land. AND to highlight that within a simple cup or can of tea, there lives the mauri/life force of many different botanical and generations. 

As we ascend each step of the Poutama, it reminds us the journey of growth and enlightenment are never-ending processes. This toi/artwork is also a wero a challenge for other businesses to embrace similar kaupapa within their approaches.

Significant of F&B

Food and beverage are so significant - they are not merely for sustenance; 

They are the interaction between nature and humans. It's how we nurture ourselves and others, a medium through which we offer care and kindness. 

Food bridges the gap between cultures, generations, and communities. 

It's a universal language that unites us all.

Our Consumers

Our consumers are more than purchasers; 

They are stakeholders in the movement towards sustainability and ethical responsibility. 

They have the power to reward businesses that get it right and challenge those that fall short. Their feedback is not just an opinion; it's a real-time indicator of our impact. 

And the crazy thing is every single person on the planet is a consumer.

Harnessing the Power of Purchasing for Positive Change

The power of purchasing is a potent force for change. 
Every plate and every cup we serve can become a catalyst for positive transformation. 

It's a dynamic arena where businesses can innovate and lead by example, nurturing not only our bodies but also our planet and society.

The food and beverage industries have a unique opportunity to be trailblazers in ESG 


In conclusion, the food and beverage industry's role in ESG is a pivotal one 
It is fundamental about responsibility and connection. 

It asks for us to engage in nurturing change through a journey where every mouthful can carry the weight of conscious choices 
and every sip can symbolise our commitment to a brighter, more sustainable future.

As we navigate the complexities of ESG in the food industry, 
Let's remember that change starts with nurturing. 

If we care, we connect, if we connect, we respect, and through respect, we can protect and grow. 

By honouring our old ways, give us the blueprints for new solutions. 
Together, we can be leaders of change, one plate and one cup at a time. 

Tena Koutou tena koutou  kia ora koutou katoa

Added extras that didn’t make the cut because of time.

Whenua - the home of our nourishment

In our culture, we understand that whenua/land, is not merely a resource; our land is where we come from and where we will go. 
It is where our tipuna, our ancestors are buried and it is where our moko/grandchildren will gain stability and nourishment. 

It is where so much of our maatauranga and knowledge is stored. 
We know alot of our kai comes from the Moana oceans but the land where we create and serve our foods from.

Because we know we are apart of all living things through whakapapa 
Harming the land or its inhabitants is akin to harming ourselves, for we are part of the ecosystem, not separate from it.

This understanding shapes our business practices. 
We place people before profits. 
We honour processes that respect the planet and its inhabitants, 
We respect and acknowledge our ancestors for what they continue to give us today through their knowledge and wisdom.

Through our offerings, and making in the food industry we can express our commitment to principles that align with ESG values. 
We can champion sustainability by sourcing ingredients responsibly. 
We can promote Maanaki/social good by treating those we work with fairly and equitably. 
We can embrace Mana Motuhake/governance that is transparent and accountable. 
We can become Kaitiaki /stewards of the environment.

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Wow Timmy,

A great representation and example for our people and business here in Aotearoa.

Well done and thank you for being that business with principles that align with positive change for all

Christina Jeromson

Leadership! Thank you Timmy for the simple and deep teachings that you have shared with us all. And the world.

Loretta Brown

wow Timmy amazing speech – very powerful

Claire Mortimer

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