LONDON — Tate & Lyle, P.L.C. and Sweet Green Fields, its stevia partner, plan to use insights from a new research project to establish sustainability best practices across their stevia supply chain. Earthwatch, an international non-profit environmental organization, will lead the stevia supply chain review, which aims to identify sustainable growing practices and maximize socio-economic benefits.

Much of the world’s stevia supply is found in plants grown in China, including the stevia leaves used in stevia ingredients from London-based Tate & Lyle, London, and produced by Sweet Green Fields, Bellingham, Wash. Scientists from Earthwatch will analyze soil, water, waste and energy impacts as well as stevia’s effects on farming communities in China. Earthwatch will engage with a range of stakeholders, from seedling producers to family-run planters and industrial farms.

Stevia extracts are natural, zero-calorie sweeteners used to reduce sugar in food and beverage applications.

“As a leading provider of stevia to the food industry, Tate & Lyle wants to ensure that using stevia in greater quantities in the future as a replacement for sugar is a responsible choice for our business, as well as a healthy choice for consumers around the world,” said Abigail Storms, vice-president of the sweetener platform and global platform marketing for Tate & Lyle.