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Our Tea Transparency Tracker captures the supply chain disclosures of tea companies as well as their human and labour rights policies pertaining to supply chain workers on plantations they source tea from.

What we are tracking

We are tracking the supply chain disclosure of 65 tea companies, a long-standing transparency demand from the labour movement and broader civil society and an essential first step towards holding companies accountable to the workers in their supply chains. We are also recording the extent to which companies claim to have the requisite supply chain policies in place to conduct effective due-diligence and mitigate harms to workers – these are based on companies’ self-reporting of their own policies and their implementation or effectiveness has not been independently verified. In the experience of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, the existence of policies and their implementation must be viewed separately, and verification must be thorough, consistent, and worker-led. Full company responses and non-responses can be found here.

How to read and understand the symbols on company pages

Selected data points from our survey are displayed visually on each company page, and can be viewed on the ‘compare company responses tool’ on our tracker homepage.

Symbols and colours

  • Red signals a ‘negative’ action or the absence of an applicable standard
  • Blue signals a ‘neutral’ action that we have assessed neither as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’
  • An asterisk or * indicates that there is a ‘condition’ on a response that is not straightforward. You can click ‘read more’ for further contextual information.

Please note, the information on this tracker is primarily based on company responses and adherence to public statements that have not been verified.

Our survey

In September 2021, we approached 65 companies to disclose their supplier lists and complete a brief survey on their human rights and sourcing policies with a limited timeline for disclosure. The survey was responded to by 25 companies. The survey contained 10 questions and companies were encouraged to provide evidence in the form of codes of conducts and policy documents for BHRRC to review.

Our final list of 65 companies included 49 Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) members listed on the website (producers, packers and retailers) as of May 2021. The non-ETP members include 13 supermarkets listed on Oxfam’s supermarket scorecard which retail their own brand of tea and three additional tea brands. All eight tea buyers which previously disclosed lists relating to Assam, India, in response to the Who Picked My Tea campaign, were included.

ETP member companies were selected because of their stated commitment to ethical practices in the tea sector. Twenty-one of these companies have operations in the EU and are therefore likely to be brought under the ambit of the proposed mandatory human rights due diligence (mHRDD) legislation, where respect of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights may require a much greater level of HRDD from tea companies than they currently undertake.

Supermarkets were chosen due to their previous involvement in conversations on ethical practices in their value chains, albeit more broadly, to see if this influenced their practices when it comes to tea – a high-risk product they both carry and produce. Most of these supermarkets, like the ETP members, are registered in North America, the UK or the EU.

Our transparency ask: disclosure of tea supply chains

Supply chain disclosures were requested of 65 companies concurrent with our survey request with a limited timeline for disclosure. Companies were provided with a standard Microsoft Excel template requesting names, facility type, addresses and tea volume information. This was critical, as while eight companies had previously engaged in a limited disclosure of plantations in the Assam region of India, companies at the time did not disclose using a standardised template, and there was no provision to search and explore the data in a centralised database.

We track company disclosure using an indicator on the company page through which you can explore details of their supply chain on a database being hosted by WikiRate.

17 companies disclosed their supply chains directly to BHRRC, and an additional three company supply chain details were disclosed to us by retail partners.

Keeping it up to date

This is a live tracker we update on an ongoing basis. If you have additional information on these issues please contact us at [email protected] with the subject line ‘Tea Transparency Tracker’.