Bettys & Taylors' response to allegations of sexual abuse on Kenyan tea plantations
... The reports were deeply upsetting. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and dignity, and we recognise the courage of those who speak out... Since 2019 we’ve shared our full supplier list for our tea and coffee ranges, recognising the role that transparency can play in developing more responsible and resilient global supply chains. The full list, including all supplying estates and co-operatives in Kenya, can be found here. We currently do not buy any tea from James Finlay Kenya (JKF), although in 2021 we purchased a small quantity of green tea (about 5 metric tonnes). I can also confirm that we don’t buy tea from Unilever (now Lipton Teas and Infusions) in Kenya, but we very occasionally buy small volumes from Unilever estates in Tanzania ...
We recognise that human rights challenges are driven by multiple factors and systemic in nature and can’t be solved by any organisation working alone. As such, we’re committed to collaborating with others to understand and address the most salient issues in the global tea industry, including safeguarding and empowering women. We recognise that the spotlight on human rights violations – whether it be via media or civil society organisations – can galvanise action. Although it’s still early days, we will use our leadership roles in the ETP and the Global Tea Coalition to continue to learn from, extend and replicate programmes with clear impacts, and build new strategic alliances that serve to raise awareness of women’s rights, build their capacity and prospects. Meanwhile, although we don’t buy from James Finlay in Kenya, we have a broader relationship with the parent company. As such, we’re working with the parent company to understand what steps they are taking, including action against the perpetrators and support for the women impacted ... While we know that there are no quick fixes, we’re committed to playing a key role in addressing the inequalities and challenges that exist in our tea supply chain and making the tea industry safer for women in Kenya and beyond.
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