Yorkshire moves first in major breakthrough on tea transparency

19 June 2018

Bettys & Taylors Group – the owners of the Yorkshire Tea brand – have become the first major company to publish their list of tea suppliers in full – a major victory for campaigners.

“Yorkshire Tea is the first big UK brand to tell the public where it buys its tea”, said Fiona Gooch, Senior Policy Adviser for Traidcraft Exchange.

Traidcraft Exchange launched its ‘Who picked my tea?’ campaign to bring about change for tea workers who are trapped in poverty in the Indian state of Assam.

More than two thousand people so far have written to the big 6 UK tea brands asking them to publish the full list of tea estates they buy from in Assam.

Undercover investigators hired by the charity had found evidence of low wages and appalling conditions for the women who pick the tea we drink in the UK.

The owners of tea estates have a legal duty to provide ‘in kind’ benefits to their workforce including housing, schools and health facilities under Indian law, as well as a cash wage.

But the Traidcraft Exchange investigation found that tea workers are paid below the Assam and Indian minimum wage levels and that housing, sanitation, and health facilities are poor while food rations are insufficient.

“Yorkshire Tea’s move puts pressure on the other big tea brands to follow suit and publish their lists of suppliers in full”, added Fiona Gooch.

ENDS 

For more information or to interview Fiona Gooch contact Tom Sharman:
tom.sharman@traidcraft.org or 0191 497 3983 or 07757 753 318

Notes for editors:

  • Traidcraft Exchange is an international development charity which uses the power of trade to bring about lasting solutions to poverty. It runs development programmes in South Asia and Africa, works directly with businesses to improve their supply chains, and does advocacy and campaigning in the UK to promote justice and fairness in international trade. It works closely with specialist fair trade company Traidcraft plc. Traidcraft Exchange is a registered charity, no. 1048752: https://www.traidcraft.org.uk/  
  • Bettys & Taylors Group have published their full list of tea suppliers here: https://www.bettysandtaylors.co.uk/taylors-supplier-listing/
  • ‘The Estate They’re In: how the tea industry traps women in poverty in Assam’ can be downloaded here: https://www.traidcraft.org.uk/tea-report  
  • Photos are available to illustrate the story – please contact Tom Sharman
  • The ‘Who picked my tea?’ campaign calls on the big UK tea brands to start being transparent about which tea estates they buy from: https://www.traidcraft.org.uk/tea 
  • The ‘Big 6’ UK brands – PG Tips, Twinings, Tetley, Yorkshire, Typhoo, and Clipper – together comprise about 70% of the UK tea market with annual sales of around £500 million 
Tom Sharman