Ethical Tea

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In 2014, Unicef and the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) joined together to form a ground breaking collaboration to help protect and change the lives of children and young people living in tea communities in Assam.

Today Unicef and ETP are announcing an industry first with the Women, Children and Families Commitment, the only commitment of its kind to tackle some of the deep rooted issues facing Assam’s tea communities. Driven by Unicef and ETP, this is a commitment signed by ETP’s funding partners IDH the Sustainable Trade Initiative; ETP members, Tesco, OTG (Meßmer), Tata Global Beverages (Tetley, Tata Tea); Taylors of Harrogate (Yorkshire Tea); Typhoo; Tata Trusts; Starbucks; and Jacobs Douwe Egberts.

It has also been signed by Unilever, and Twinings. Unilever is involved in separate gender focussed programmes in Assam and Twinings has been working in partnership with UNICEF in Assam since 2010.

To ensure the commitment includes a wide range of key stakeholders who are involved in the tea supply chain, it has also been signed by the Indian Tea Association (ITA), the oldest tea association in India who represent 60 per cent of tea production for Indian tea producers.

The nine commitments are a declaration by the tea industry to work together and improve the situation for all children and their families. They are also an opportunity to galvanise the wider sector to sign up and take action to help accelerate meaningful change across the region.

In tandem with the commitment, Unicef and ETP, together with their funding partners, are building on the success of their initial programme by significantly extending work in Assam to increase its scale and reach across a quarter of all tea gardens in Assam. It will aim to tackle some of the most challenging issues affecting women and children, including healthcare, child development and nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene, education and child protection. Most importantly it will continue to improve the safety and lives of women and children living in Assam’s tea communities.

So far the programme has:

  • Improved the safety of over 35,000 girls across Assam by equipping them with essential skills to reduce the risk of violence, abuse and exploitation
  • Trained 1,000 front line staff including local police and social workers across Assam on child protection issues to build trust between tea communities and local agencies and keep them safe
  • Reached more than 30,000 community members across tea communities in Assam to protect children against trafficking and unsafe migration.

Unicef and ETP are working together to protect children and young people living in tea communities in Assam, India.