ETP is a global membership organisation that is catalysing long-term, systemic change, to benefit everybody who works in tea – especially people in tea-producing regions.
Today (19 May 2023), the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC, or the Resource Centre) launched their report, Boiling point: Strengthening Corporate Accountability in the Tea Industry. In the report, the Resource Centre used its tea transparency tracker and data held by the Open Supply Hub to link public allegations of human rights abuses identified in media reports in 2022 to 16 tea buyers including nine ETP members. Each of these buyers was asked to respond to these allegations.
ETP applauds its members for their responses and approaches to the allegations raised. All nine ETP members approached by BHRRC responded to their requests and all initiated investigations into the identified allegations.
In December 2021, the Resource Centre launched the Tea Transparency Tracker and its associated report. Company response rate was lower than expected and consequently ETP advocated to work with companies to understand the sensitivities about data sharing and work together to achieve transparency. ETP believes that transparency is a key component of responsible business practices, and we encourage members to be as transparent as possible about their supply chains, within the confines of commercial sensitivities.
ETP will continue to advocate for transparency and collaborate with our members to ensure responsible business practices in the tea sector. We agree that we need to go beyond certification and have initiated a process to work with our members to drive continuous improvement. For example, we believe that the implementation of responsible purchasing practices that define obligations to address human rights risks in purchasing agreements can address issues the sector faces. We also believe that transparency demonstrates that companies know their supply chains, enabling the identification of risks and accountability.
We know the challenges are vast and that systemic change will not happen overnight. But we believe that by listening to workers, farmers, and communities and working collectively we can realise our vision of a tea sector that is thriving, socially just, and environmentally sustainable.