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[PDF] Certified Unilever Tea: Small Cup, Big Difference?

Author: Sanne van der Wal, SOMO, India Committee of the Netherlands, Published on: 31 October 2011

For this study one hundred tea workers were interviewed on a total of eight tea plantation companies, all supplying tea to Unilever...It was found that working conditions on tea estates that supply Unilever are problematic despite having been certified by the sustainability standard system RA. This in turn raises concerns about the effectiveness and credibility of this standard...The reactions of RA and Unilever on this study's findings pertaining to discrimination and sexual harassment mostly fall in the response category "true, but could find no evidence"...In reaction to this study's findings on discrimination, sexual harassment and corruption Unilever has claimed repeatedly that they are endemic...Since 2008 Unilever has claimed repeatedly, and later RA as well, that they cannot adequately deal with issues that supposedly occur such as discrimination, sexual harassment and bribery properly without having formal complaints by workers on these issues and/or the worker's details...the argument regarding SOMO and ICN being unwilling to provide irrefutable proof, is a key element in Unilever and RA response...In the statement the company states among other things: "[Unilever] has also done a lot more since last year in an effort to engage our staff and to pick on any areas of weakness especially on sexual harassment, bribery, employment and housing.‟

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