Twinings discloses suppliers in major boost to tea transparency

13 August 2018

Twinings – the UK’s second-biggest tea brand – has become the second major company to publish its list of tea suppliers in India in full – a major victory for campaigners.

“Twinings is the second big UK brand to give the public an answer to the question ‘who picked my 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 seven 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.

“Twinings’ move puts pressure on the other big tea brands – PG Tips, Tetley, Typhoo, and Clipper - to follow suit and publish their lists of suppliers in full”, added Fiona Gooch.

The tea industry is slowly catching up with a global trend for full transparency of supply chains across different industries and for both luxury and cheaper products.

Twining’s sister company in the Associated British Foods group, Primark, has already published the names and locations of over 1,000 clothing factories in 31 countries it sources from. 

Unilever, the owners of PG Tips, has already published the details of more than 1,400 palm oil mills in its supply chains.

“Full disclosure of a company’s suppliers is a positive global trend and one that all businesses, no matter who their customers are, can and should undertake,” concluded 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:

Tom Sharman