Marks and Spencer first supermarket to commit to tea transparency

5 March 2019

Marks and Spencer has become the first major UK food retailer to publish its global list of tea suppliers – a major breakthrough hailed by the international development charity Traidcraft Exchange.

The move comes in response to the ‘Who picked my tea?’ campaign led by Traidcraft Exchange which calls on UK brands to disclose the names of estates they buy from in Assam, India.

“Marks and Spencer’s interactive map is a first for the UK tea industry. We can now see exactly where its tea comes from. And the women who pick it now know they are supplying a major British retailer,” said Fiona Gooch, Senior Policy Adviser for Traidcraft Exchange.

Marks and Spencer’s move comes during Fairtrade Fortnight and increases the pressure on Typhoo – the final remaining ‘big 6’ brand yet to publish its list of suppliers.

The ‘Who picked my tea?’ campaign focuses on tea grown in Assam because pay and conditions for workers there are amongst the worst in the world and tea grown in Assam is a key ingredient in many English Breakfast blends and speciality teas consumed in the UK.

Undercover investigators hired by Traidcraft Exchange confirmed evidence of low wages and appalling conditions for the women who pick the tea we drink in the UK. These backed up claims made by local organisations operating in India.

Marks and Spencer joins Yorkshire Tea, Twinings, Tetley, Clipper, Ringtons, and PG Tips as major brands who have disclosed their tea suppliers since the ‘Who picked my tea?’ campaign launched in May 2018.

“Typhoo is now the only major UK brand which hasn’t published which tea estates they buy from. The sooner it makes this information public the better,” added Fiona Gooch.

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For more information or to interview Fiona Gooch contact Tom Sharman: tom.sharman@traidcraft.org or 0191 497 6443 or 07757 753 318

Notes for editors:

Tom Sharman