Tetley unveils suppliers in huge advance for tea transparency

1 November 2018

Tetley – one of the UK’s biggest tea brands – has become the third major company to publish its list of tea suppliers – a decisive victory for consumers.

“Tetley’s move means that we can now see where nearly half of the UK’s tea comes from. Pressure will grow on the remaining big brands – PG Tips, Typhoo, and Clipper – to follow suit and publish their lists of suppliers too,” said Fiona Gooch, Senior Policy Adviser for Traidcraft Exchange.

The move comes as the international development charity Traidcraft Exchange prepares to launch a national tour to reveal the truth about tea, to celebrate the moves made by Tetley, Twinings, and Yorkshire Tea, and increase pressure on the brands that have yet to commit to full transparency.

‘Who picked my tea? On tour’ will hear from campaigners working in Assam and inspire the great British public to stand in solidarity with tea workers with events in Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, and London next week.

The Tetley move comes in response to the ‘Who picked my tea?’ campaign to bring about change for tea workers who are trapped in poverty in the Indian state of Assam.

More than ten thousand people so far have written to the big 6 UK tea brands asking them to publish the full list of tea estates they buy from in Assam.

Undercover investigators hired by the charity had found evidence of low wages and appalling conditions for the women who pick the tea we drink in the UK.

The owners of tea estates have a legal duty to provide ‘in kind’ benefits to their workforce including housing, schools and health facilities under Indian law, as well as a cash wage.

But the Traidcraft Exchange investigation found that tea workers are paid below the Assam and Indian minimum wage levels and that housing, sanitation, and health facilities are poor while food rations are insufficient.

The ‘Who picked my tea? On tour’ events are free but registration in advance is essential. Tickets can be booked from www.traidcraft.org.uk/tea-tour


For more information or to interview Fiona Gooch contact Tom Sharman:

tom.sharman@traidcraft.org or 07757 753 318

Notes for editors:

  • Traidcraft Exchange is an international development charity which uses the power of trade to bring about lasting solutions to poverty. It runs development programmes in South Asia and Africa, works directly with businesses to improve their supply chains, and does advocacy and campaigning in the UK to promote justice and fairness in international trade. It works closely with specialist fair trade company Traidcraft plc. Traidcraft Exchange is a registered charity, no. 1048752: https://www.traidcraft.org.uk/

  • Tetley published its list of tea suppliers here: https://www.tetley.co.uk/our-suppliers

  • Twinings published its list of tea suppliers here: https://sourcedwithcare.com/en/sourcing-map/ [Select ‘Tea’, then ‘India’ then ‘Our supply base’ on left hand side]

  • Bettys & Taylors Group (owners of Yorkshire Tea) became the first big company to publish its list of tea suppliers here: https://www.bettysandtaylors.co.uk/taylors-supplier-listing/#tea-suppliers

  • Tickets for all 4 of the ‘Who picked my tea? On tour’ events are free and can be booked from https://www.traidcraft.org.uk/tea-tour

  • ‘The Estate They’re In: how the tea industry traps women in poverty in Assam’ can be downloaded here: https://www.traidcraft.org.uk/tea-report

  • Photos are available to illustrate the story – please contact Tom Sharman

  • The ‘Who picked my tea?’ campaign calls on the big UK tea brands to start being transparent about which tea estates they buy from: https://www.traidcraft.org.uk/tea

  • The ‘Big 6’ UK brands – PG Tips, Twinings, Tetley, Yorkshire, Typhoo, and Clipper – together comprise about 70% of the UK tea market with annual sales of around £500 million

  • Yorkshire Tea, Twinings, and Tetley together account for 41.8% of the UK tea market.

Tom Sharman