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Certain Pukka Herbs functions, including HR and sourcing, are now centralised by Lipton Teas & Infusions in Amsterdam

Herbal tea brand Pukka has been stripped of its B Corp certification after being integrated into the wider Lipton Teas & Infusions (LT&I) business.

Pukka Herbs, acquired by Unilever’s then-Ekaterra tea business in 2017, was fully folded into LT&I (the name given to the now private-equity owned PG Tips and Lipton owner) late last year.

As a result, Pukka’s offices in Bristol were closed, with around 90 staff being made redundant.

Production for the UK market was recently shifted to LT&I’s Trafford Park facility in Manchester – where PG Tips is also made. The brand is also manufactured for European markets in Poland.

Certain functions including HR and sourcing, meanwhile, have been centralised by Lipton at its new headquarters in Amsterdam.

As a result, B Lab has determined Pukka can no longer be independently accredited as a B Corp. It has removed the brand from its list of certified businesses.

“We can confirm that Pukka Herbs is no longer a B Corp,” a spokeswoman for B Lab said. “We can’t comment on further details because the company is no longer in the community.”

A B Corp business that is acquired must notify B Lab of its intent to remain part of the community within 90 days and recertify within a year or by the end of its three-year recertification term, depending on which is sooner.

Additionally, a company that undergoes a “significant change in control” must recertify within a year (two years for larger, more complex entities) and have its operations assessed under new ownership.

The Grocer understands LT&I – which completed its purchase of Unilever’s tea business in July 2022 – began exploring the possibility of recertifying Pukka Herbs in 2022. The brand was last recertified in 2019.

The move will come as a blow to LT&I CEO Nathalie Roos, who last month told The Grocer she was committed to having Pukka Herbs recertified as a B Corp.

The business will now have to apply for B Corp certification of its own should it wish to apply the label to Pukka and other brands in its portfolio.

A spokesman for LT&I said Pukka Herbs was “grateful for B Lab’s support over the years” and would “remain guided by the movement’s ethos” as it sought to expand internationally.

“Our commitment to being a force for good for people and planet is unchanged as we continue to source 100% organic herbs according to Fair for Life and FairWild principles and create value for everyone,” he added.