Tetley has become the latest top-five tea brand to publish the names of its suppliers – leaving only PG Tips and Pukka Herbs not to have done so.
A list of all suppliers Tetley has sourced tea from is now available on the Tata Global Beverages-owned brand’s website – which states: ‘100% of our tea sold in the UK is sourced from certified producers that must meet stringent environmental and ethical requirements.
‘We see certification as a minimum requirement and recognise there are still complex and challenging sustainability issues in many of the countries we source tea from.’
The news marked “a decisive victory for consumers” according to Traidcraft Exchange. “Tetley’s move means we can now see where nearly half of the UK’s tea comes from,” said the international development charity’s senior policy adviser, Fiona Gooch. “Pressure will grow on the remaining big brands to follow suit and publish their lists of suppliers too.”
It comes after Yorkshire Tea and Twinings made their own commitments to transparency earlier this year, issuing lists of their tea suppliers. Of the UK’s five biggest-selling tea brands, only Unilever’s PG Tips and Pukka Herbs have not made public details of their tea suppliers.
Traidcraft was “extremely surprised that PG Tips has yet to publish its list of tea suppliers given that its parent company, Unilever, broke new ground when it published details of all the 1,400 palm oil mills that it sources from” said Gooch. “Unilever sees itself as a market leader on human rights issues, but PG Tips is getting a reputation as a market laggard.”
A spokeswoman for Unilever confirmed the company did not publish full details of which tea plantations it dealt with.
“However, we have full visibility of our tea supply chain and we use this knowledge to identify any issues on the ground and help resolve them,” she added.
“Knowing where our tea comes from also helps us focus on the right initiatives and partnerships to improve the lives of tea workers. As part of our ongoing processes, we continue to review how we can best address the issues.”