Ensuring people working in tea have decent livelihoods, a living wage and a living income.


People in tea producing regions often do not earn enough money to meet their basic needs, and are unable to afford food, housing, healthcare, or education for themselves and their families.

This is due to several deep-rooted issues, including tea’s low profit margin, rising production costs, and restrictive legislation, such as low statutory minimum wages. To create a thriving tea industry, every participant should have a decent livelihood and lead a dignified life. This is why we prioritise a living wage and living income for workers and farmers.

Outcome one

Everyone involved in tea production has good livelihoods – position paper coming soon.

Our approach

Living wages and incomes are human rights

In our economics work we recognise that living wages and incomes are human rights, and that businesses have a responsibility to ensure both are achieved within their own operations and supply chains.

  • We focus on empowering farmers to secure a sustainable living income. In collaboration with a range of partners and communities, our projects provide training and establish community-led savings groups. These serve as tools for farmers to overcome financial barriers, enhance their tea businesses’ resilience, and explore additional income-generating activities
  • In tandem, other projects seek to ensure that workers earn a living wage. These include initiatives to encourage workers to fully realise and exercise their rights, and those that improve supply chain efficiency, putting producers in a stronger position to pay higher wages

  • We promote greater transparency in the tea sector and encourage and support tea companies to adopt responsible purchasing practices that improve working conditions and pay, as they have a direct impact on a supplier’s ability to pay workers a living wage
  • We encourage good practices and strong, trust-based supplier relationships as they enable employers to pay higher wages to their workers, and provide farmers with better incomes

  • We engage with stakeholders including tea companies, producers, trade unions, and governments, and monitor and analyse national and international policies and legislation
  • We develop evidence-based resources, convene industry stakeholders, and share insights and learnings from our activities. The aim is to enhance the sector’s understanding of the challenges and solutions needed to achieve living wages and incomes

Our impact

Nearly 2,000 people trained

through business training and associated activities in Malawi

More than 11,500 workers and farmers reached

through Village Saving and Loans Association in Malawi and Rwanda

89% of estate workers have reduced spending on food

due to the distribution of food crops in Sri Lanka

40% more women are saving money

through Village Savings and Loans Association schemes in Kenya