Sustainability Initiatives - Tea

Ethical Tea Partnership                                                                                      

We began work in 1997 as the Tea Sourcing Partnership, an organisation started by a number of UK-based tea packing companies who shared four core beliefs:

  • We have a shared responsibility for the social and ethical conditions involved in sourcing the tea we buy.
  • Activities in this area should be non competitive and apolitical.
  • We respect the cultural and legislative differences in tea producing countries, but aspire to international standards.
  • We seek to work in partnership with tea producers.

In September 2004 we changed our name to the Ethical Tea Partnership. The new name explains more clearly what we do and also marks a new phase of growth when we will be communicating more actively with our stakeholders and playing a more proactive role in the ethical trading of tea.

The Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) is a not-for-profit organisation with global reach:  membership is open to any tea packing company selling tea into Europe, North America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  Over 60 brands of tea, on sale in over 40 countries are covered.

ETP is also one of the most inclusive and accessible initiatives of its kind:  monitoring is free and is open to all the tea estates that supply our members.  We are active in 12 of the tea producing regions that supply over 85% of world tea exports:  Argentina, Brazil, China (where we have just begun an engagement programme), North India (Assam), South India (Kerala and Tamil Nadu), Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Click here to see the detailed status of our programmes.

By April 2008, we had monitored 839 selling marks which is approximately half of our members' supplier base.

This is just the beginning and our long-term aim is global, to demonstrate that 100% of the tea our members buy is produced in a socially responsible way.

Targets for 2008

Continue the expansion of the Regional Manager network with recruitment underway in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.  Later in the year a Regional Manager will also be appointed in Latin America.

Continue with the development of 'producer working groups' thus ensuring that producers have a voice, and strong partnerships are fostered.

ETP will be providing more support for remediation, training and capacity building, through our Regional Manager network and through the Producer Working Groups

Finalise and launch our new communications strategy.


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