Tesco's response to allegations of sexual abuse on Kenyan tea plantations
We can confirm that we sourced a very small proportion of tea from James Finlay Kenya and CVC Capital Partners / Ekaterra (formerly Unilever).
... As soon as we were made aware, we engaged with James Finlay Ltd. to investigate and ensure robust steps were being taken to safeguard workers.
Finlays has since published a clear action plan to tackle these issues which we and other food businesses have provided feedback on. We’re actively monitoring its implementation.
More broadly, a steering group made up of representatives from retailers and the wider industry has been established to oversee an independent investigation into the allegations. NGOs with expertise in issues relating to gender will be invited to join the group to ensure the investigation is robust ... we continue to have conversations with others across the industry regarding more collaborative and focused action in the Kenyan tea industry.
In regard to the requirements we place on suppliers, around 18 months ago, we strengthened our requirements for tea suppliers by setting out more stringent due diligence in our supply base. We are currently exploring options for adding a number of additional mandatory requirements to this policy in the wake of the investigation ...
In addition, our tea suppliers must demonstrate a commitment to driving change and enhancing their end-to-end supply chain. This includes having dedicated on the ground expertise, a robust human rights strategy that is reviewed by experts and where appropriate updated regularly, participation in cross industry efforts to improve the tea industry, as well as relevant certifications in place.
Suppliers must also ensure all tea sourcing producers have effective gender policies in place that address sexual harassment and discrimination, increasing women’s voices in the workplace, enabling women in leadership, and addressing gender stereotypes.
To help safeguard workers, we provide independent and confidential ‘Protector Lines’ which enable our suppliers, their workers and other stakeholders around the world to raise concerns.
In terms of transparency, we publish our tea supply chain on our plc website. This will be updated later this year to reflect upcoming changes in our supply chain ...
[Full response attached]