The full list of Tetley’s tea suppliers has been made publicly available on the brand’s UK website, bringing visibility to 40% of the UK tea supply, according to fairtrade charity Traidcraft Exchange.
Tetley joins Yorkshire Tea and Twinings in publishing the tea estates in their supply chains, following a campaign by Traidcraft Exchange to find out “Who picked my tea?”.
The campaign was launched earlier this year, after an investigation of worker conditions on tea estates in Assam, India, which revealed appalling conditions and poverty wages for workers. It found that Assam tea workers earned an equivalent of £1.51 a day compared with the state minimum wage of £2.58.
The big six UK brands – PG Tips, Twinings, Tetley, Yorkshire, Typhoo, and Clipper – make up 70% of the UK tea market, and all use tea grown in Assam, said Traidcraft Exchange. The three brands that have now revealed their supply chain make up over 40% of the UK tea market.
According to the charity, over 10,000 people have already written to the brands voicing concern about the conditions of tea workers, and asking them to reveal the estates in their supply chain.
“Pressure will grow on the remaining big brands – PG Tips, Typhoo, and Clipper – to follow suit and publish their lists of suppliers too,” said Fiona Gooch, senior policy adviser for Traidcraft.
The charity believes that transparency will ultimately help business. “Consumers increasingly demand it, such as in the fashion industry,” said a spokesperson. “Companies that are open will see a benefit. Notably Yorkshire Tea, Twinings, and Tetley have all seen that being transparent about suppliers is worthwhile.”
Tata Global Beverages, owner of Tetley, said in its most recent modern slavery statement that a new supplier code of conduct is to be launched in the financial year 2018-19.
Traidcraft Exchange is also campaigning to expand the role of the groceries code adjudicator to improve transparency of indirect suppliers to supermarkets.
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