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.
For more information or to interview Fiona Gooch contact Tom Sharman: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0191 497 6443 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/
Marks and Spencer published its global list of tea suppliers here: https://interactivemap.marksandspencer.com/teaandcoffee
Marks and Spencer published a blog about its decision to disclose its suppliers here: https://corporate.marksandspencer.com/stories/blog/a-transparent-cuppa-mapping-our-tea-and-coffee-supply-chains
Bettys & Taylors Group (owners of Yorkshire Tea) published its list of tea suppliers here: https://www.bettysandtaylors.co.uk/taylors-supplier-listing/#tea-suppliers
Twinings published its list of tea suppliers here: https://sourcedwithcare.com/en/sourcing-map/ [Select ‘Tea’, then ‘India’ then ‘Our supply base’ on left hand side]
Tetley published its list of tea suppliers here: https://www.tetley.co.uk/our-suppliers
Clipper published its list of tea suppliers here: https://www.clipper-teas.com/assam/
Unilever (owners of PG Tips) published its list of tea suppliers here: https://www.unilever.co.uk/sustainable-living/the-unilever-sustainable-living-plan/sustainable-sourcing/transparency-in-our-uk-tea-supply-chain/?1=2
Ringtons published its list of tea suppliers here: https://www.ringtons.co.uk/pride-in-our-supply-base-i248
The results of undercover investigation commissioned by Traidcraft Exchange were published in ‘The Estate They’re In: how the tea industry traps women in poverty in Assam’ and 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 called 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, cited in Traidcraft Exchange’s report ‘The Estate They’re In’, original source: https://www.euromonitor.com/tea-in-the-united-kingdom/report