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.
For more information or to interview Fiona Gooch contact Tom Sharman:
firstname.lastname@example.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/
- Twinings published its full list of tea suppliers here: https://sourcedwithcare.com/en/sourcing-map/ [Select ‘Tea’, then ‘India’ then ‘Our supply base’ on left hand side]
- Bettys & Taylors Group (owners of Yorkshire Tea) became the first big company to publish 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
- Primark’s Global Sourcing Map can be found here: https://www.primark.com/en/our-ethics/people-production/global-sourcing-map
- Unilever’s palm oil sourcing map can be found here: https://www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/reducing-environmental-impact/sustainable-sourcing/transforming-the-palm-oil-industry/improving-the-visibility-of-our-supply-chain/