Tetley's response to allegations of abuses in its tea supply chain
Of the news reports shared with us, three relate to estates from which tea has been supplied to us. These teas represent 0.25% of the total volume of teas
bought by the international business.
We had not been apprised of any of the allegations covered in the clippings shared by BHRCC, but any allegations in relation to a supplier are taken very seriously and investigated. If investigations find that a supplier has fallen short of its obligations to us, and we are not satisfied with the remediation taken, we will suspend buying teas from the offending supplier immediately if required...
We have not currently suspended trading with the suppliers named in the press reports provided.
Lepetkata Tea Estate... 22,000 KGs of tea was supplied from this estate.
Bugambe... 26,000 KGs of tea was supplied from this estate...
In total 23,120 KGs of tea has been supplied from the estates mentioned below, these often form part of a larger blend of teas which is bought through Auction. Teas from the gardens mentioned were bought and supplied to us as part of teas bought through auction from reputable companies Sunshine Holdings and Uniworld teas...
Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC
- Great Western
- Adisham Tea Estate
Bogawantalawa Tea Estates PLC
Horana Plantations PLC
- Alton Estate
THE ISSUE AREAS IDENTIFIED IN THE CLIPPINGS PROVIDED
Safety of Workers – Assam
We were not previously aware of the media report shared on Lepetkata, but on receiving information from the BHRCC in December immediately contacted our partners and buyers on the ground to investigate. Our buying team in India is investigating what has been done since this incident has been reported; and is liaising with Trustea to consider what intervention may be required.
The relationship we have with our suppliers means that we are often satisfied with their responsiveness and actions taken in response to any health & safety concerns that have arisen...
Wages & Freedom Of Association – Uganda/Sri Lanka
We were not previously aware of the media reports shared in relation to McLeod Russel in Uganda, nor the various estates referenced in Sri Lanka. We have contacted our partners and buyers on the ground to investigate and report back. We understand that the unrest in Sri Lanka was a consequence of a number of factors which have since settled down and been resolved. We through the ETP are continuing to monitor and keeping a watch on the situation, we are aware that a local NGO commissioned a Living Wage study and have shared the outcome of this with our partners at Rainforest Alliance. We have also apprised our third-party buyers who provide the teas we have purchased of the issues raised and will liaise with them further to investigate whether any further intervention is required as part of the RA auditing and certification process.
We have not had cause to take remedial action in response to allegations regarding threats to freedom of association in our supply chain since 2014 when Tata Consumer Products commissioned an independent assessment by the sustainability organisation Solidaridad...
Minimum Wages In The Supply Chain
...Tata Consumer Products requires all suppliers to compensate for overtime hours, and legally mandated benefits in accordance with all applicable laws and standards. We have not made a public commitment to the payment of living wages throughout our supply chain, but as part of our commitment to strive for a fairer and sustainable tea sector we...work to ensure farmers are able to earn a living and workers paid fairly for the work that they do. We are in dialogue with the collaborative change agents IDH and are exploring what more can be done in this area...
[The full response is attached]